In the simplest terms, the cloud-native application is the one which is designed for the cloud. While the integration of cloud-native application requires a lot of work but the gist of the application involves designing as well as building it in such a way that it can be easily integrated with the cloud. The main aim of the cloud-native application is to minimise the need for local servers as well as hardware needed to run the application. Many times, even the OS of the server is not taken into account. Once all of these factors are minimised, it becomes easier for the developers to concentrate on just application which they are building.
The minimisation of hardware, as well as servers, has a positive impact on the entire ecosystem as it reduces the server cost as well as the infrastructure cost which also results in reduced overhead cost. On the other hand, however, there are a few changes which are permanent in cloud-native applications. These include synchronizing the entire infrastructure in order to operate it seamlessly.
Before we go into the nitty-gritty of cloud-native applications, we have to understand the API.
While creating traditional applications, the code is created keeping in mind that it would have direct access to the resources. On the other hand, when you’re looking at cloud-native app development, it does not have direct local access to servers as well as other resources. That is why, in order to benefit from the scalable architecture of the cloud, it needs to use an API model which ensures that it can easily connect with the infrastructure which can be distributed across geographies.
The API model of development has induced significant scalability in normal applications.
If you’re not aware of the API model of development, it involves 1st creating the API interface including documenting and designing the API of the application before going into the coding. A good example of this type of architecture is the Internet of things devices. The API of these applications needs to be designed 1st and afterwards, the code for the applications is written. The advantage of the API-based architecture is that all the applications would access the code from a single server which makes it easier to control the devices as well as applications. It also isolates the code from the end-user applications which adds a layer of security.
Personally, I prefer the API model of development rather than the traditional resource heavy model.
If you are switching over from the traditional model to an API model, it might seem like a difficult task to create the API 1st even before the functionalities are coded. However, this is not true. There is an API blueprint which is also known as the API documentation standard which you can follow in order to create the mock API server. This would help you integrate the application with the API server, even before, the code has been written from the application side. This provides you with the flexibility to code the app and at the same point of time keep it integrated with the mock API server.
API app development has a significant number of advantages. One of the main advantages is that you would not have to repeat the development of the app. All you need to do is to create the API 1st and thereafter with the help of API you would be able to synchronise the app from a wide variety of devices without having to code the entire program again. In case, you discover that the API model of development is not conducive in certain cases, you can always reverse your decision to use the API without compromising on your efforts or code which you have written till now. On the other hand, if you do not create the API side 1st, it would be very difficult for you to imbibe the API code later on and integrate the entire with the help of a API. This would take you weeks or even months to set right.
Creating a serverless application
The cloud-native applications need not always be dependent on API. Neither, API-based applications need not be cloud-native always. The only instance when an application is cloud-native as well as based on API is when it needs to be run in the serverless ecosystem.
The serverless ecosystem is actually a pretty vague term. The literal meaning of the term indicates that there is no server at all. The meaning of the term in technical terms here is that the API is hosted on a server which need not be maintained on your end. Such an application would provide you with the features on the interface side of the application rather than the coding side of the application. You can run it on devices as long as the devices are satisfying predefined conditions. This abstraction of the server from the application is one of the most important breakthroughs of the cloud technology.
The main advantage of creating the API first and even before the creation of the app is that it ensures that you are able to utilize the resources which are provided by your cloud hosting. The advantage of this is that you would be able to provide individualised services with the help of the API. Thus, rather than providing the entire software as a service, you would be able to provide even small micro-micro services. The advantage of this cloud-native environment is that it has a distributed architecture which spreads the load on different servers with the execution of a single instruction. This provides you with the immense scalability as long as the app is hosted on the cloud and connected with the help of API.
Most of the developers these days especially in cities with high tech concentration like app development London companies, use the cloud technology to build the applications. The reason for this is that the developers should worry about creating the applications rather than worry about answering the questions how. The question of how should not plague their mind. Companies like app development London are switching over to cloud-native environments as they do not have to figure out the how since it is already taken care of by the cloud hosting provider with very little overhead cost. On the other hand, the questions of where, what and why are easily answered with the help of an API-based app development. This is what is meant by the term a API 1st, cloud-native app development.