How cloud-based PaaS solutions are making developers’ lives easier

PaaS: the cloud on-ramp for PHP developers
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The range and complexity of tasks performed by web applications has increased massively in recent years, making administration and maintenance ever more complex. Thankfully, the move towards fully-managed PaaS is restoring some simplicity to application deployment – with products targeted specifically at PHP, there’s no excuse not to give it a go.

Developers, especially PHP developers, are very pragmatic people. They create and invent things that change people’s lives. Look at Mark Zuckerberg, with Facebook written in PHP. Look at Jason Gendron.

You don’t know Jason Gendron? Jason Gendron is just like you, a guy with an idea. He built a service that created communities out of Twitter friends. All of a sudden, he had tens of thousands of people using it and was spending half his time fixing and tuning what were supposed to be “managed servers”. He tried Platform as a Service (PaaS) and, all of a sudden, he could spend his time writing code and not managing servers. This let him have enough time to bootstrap into a profitable startup and quit his job. PaaS changed Jason’s life and it can change yours too.

As more applications move to the cloud, the complexity of application development has increased, as has the demand being placed on developers around managing and maintaining a growing number of applications. Developers are being pulled into configuring servers and load balancers and other infrastructure tasks. The introduction of PaaS technology moves many of these sysadmin tasks off developers’ backs and makes their lives easier.

First, let’s take a look at the traditional model for app development, deployment and management. In the traditional model, development requires many tedious tasks centred around allocation of machines, resource-assignment for the machines, specification of machines, clarification and excess communication related to all these things, some guessing about what the future holds and allocation of financial capital to buy the machines. Then comes the setup and configuration, then resource-placement of the machines in a data centre, co-location facility, or in some cases a closet inside the company’s building. These approaches were challenging at best – at worst, they were done by trial and error.

The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) in a traditional environment is frequently composed of hundreds of steps for each small vertical integration into the system. From top to bottom, each change has a ripple effect when the underlying systems change, and often even when the software changes just the slightest bit.

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