Don't Abandon Fundamentals When Developing in the Cloud

Loraine Lawson
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The Cloud Computing Fear Factor

Despite hesitancy toward cloud computing, it's having an impact on the roles of IT executives.

Moving to the cloud can make a lot of things easier, but it doesn't get your development team off the hook for integration or good architecture, warns one CIO.

 

Pradip Sitaram, the CIO for Enterprise Community Partners, LLC, says in many ways, using an iPaaS (integration platform as a service) makes integration faster but not necessarily less tricky, according to a recent TechTarget article.

 

In fact, developing in a distributed environment and connecting endpoints that aren't under your immediate control both create new challenges for development teams, he warns. Unfortunately, the article doesn't elaborate on what those problems are, but you can probably guess that broken connections are among them.

 


Sitaram's teams are working on a two-year system rebuild that will integrate the firm's legacy PeopleSoft applications with Salesforce.com. They're using Dell Boomi's iPaaS solution - aka, cloud-based data integration tools - to develop the integration and wrap business rules as services, according to the article.

 

Cloud-based development appeals to programmers because it's fast, which is why Sitaram insists his teams stick with two basic tenets, even in the cloud:

 

  1. Architecture, or, put simply, plan. His t-shirt-worthy admonishment: "Integration is the result of good architecture - it's not the other way around.''
  2. Testing. "Requirements and testing should not be compromised," he warns.


Interestingly enough, application testing is now joining integration and application development in the cloud. IBM recently acquired Green Hat, which allows clients to establish virtual instances of applications in a cloud environment so IT can run tests against the apps. This isn't the only cloud-based testing option, but it's bringing attention to this these sorts of offerings, explains Mike Vizard.

 

Speaking of cloud-based application development and integration, ZapThink recently pointed out that coders need to be more disciplined about RESTful practices when writing cloud-based APIs.

 

"As APIs become less RPC-centric (Remote Procedure Call) and more RESTful, the inflexible tight coupling of the past is giving way to a new golden age of API-ness, where anybody can connect any piece of software seamlessly and automatically to any Web site or app we might care to use," writes ZapThink Partner Jason Bloomberg.

 

That said, he adds, programmers are sometimes well, negligent about API best practices.

 

"What so many techies lose sight of is the fact that REST isn't supposed to make the Web more like system integration; it's meant to make system integration more like the Web," he states. "If we can finally free ourselves from the last vestiges of imperative, RPC-style programming, even going so far as to steer clear of functional programming, and move to a fully declarative, document-centric paradigm, only then will we be able to achieve the resilience and power of the Web when we tackle system integration challenges."

 

So just because you've got your head in the cloud - ahem - for development and deployment, don't forget to keep your feet grounded in the fundamentals of application development: planning, adherence to sound programming practices and, of course, testing.



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