Following our line of thought of keeping up with technology, I had the privilege and pleasure to join a diverse group of Uniface engineers who participated in the Google Cloud Next event in Amsterdam. As mentioned earlier, Uniface is at the leading edge of application technology so in that respect we participate by learning about the newest trends. We do this also for cloud with great partners like Google by obtaining the technological highlights, and diving deeper into some examples like spanner and app maker. All this to drive momentum and to spark innovation at Uniface. Next Amsterdam being such a nice and big event consisted of several tracks with different areas of focus all around the cloud. Tracks that were visionary, strategic and technical besides the experimental breakout sessions; handling everything from the business, the technology and innovation. I attended several sessions and had a look at the experimental/technical campground as presented by Google and some of its technology partners at the conference. The most outstanding thing I realized while at the event was that cloud is moving everywhere, from application development, to deployment and innovation. So, in that sense, cloud is becoming a game changer in application development. What do I mean by that? Well, in general, we are used to waves of technologies and application architectures like mainframe, client/server, Static Web, Dynamic Web, mobile apps, and now the cloud. The cloud is reshaping the way we think about software; whether that is containerizing, micro services, contributing to developing new applications, exploiting the data produced by the usage of applications, all in all, taking software to a new level. Actually, one could say, it is being changed in several dimensions. Think about security which appeared to be something for the experts, and nowadays reshapes the way we think about software. And some of the thoughts around security today may involve user behaviour as an additional way to authenticate us. Wow! Nice. Although it does also imply user behaviour is something you need to consider. Well, you may think "but there is a lot of data that now needs to be processed for that", and "what about the structure of such data?" Well, have you seen all the developments around big data and high performing databases which the cloud is enabling? Ok, I give it to you… but then how can I, as a developer, make use of that data? Well, API’s is the answer. An old and beautiful concept that is being embedded in software development now, as collaboration with others is a must. Your software needs to be easy to interface with and as such it must provide a clear and easy API for others to use. Better even is the fact that software in the cloud must have API’s, becoming a de facto standard otherwise you are out. (By the simple fact that adoption will be hard if not impossible with all the competition around.) The more common areas where the cloud appear initially to have impact was on whether the application was executed on bare-metal or on a virtualized environment reshaping componentizing the hardware and the different layers of software. This too, is something that affects application development as we need to think also on those components/containers we can use/enable others to use. Consider frameworks for it and make the necessary provisions in your application architecture. Also of utmost interest were the innovation presentations that took place on a plenary/breakout, or campground sessions. It was amazing to see how creativity is being applied to develop the technological step around the cloud; think about natural language support API, and its applicability on the artificial intelligence spectrum, which nowadays is within our reach, it is in our hands (literally) with our phones/tablets. What amazed us too was to see synergy in our approach to application development and the new trends like App Maker. Whether you use the cloud to deploy your applications, execute on the cloud and or to innovate, the cloud is here to stay. All in all, the value proposition around the cloud is to think not only of what the cloud can do for you, but what you can do in the cloud too.
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