These open-source compute technologies can help you build and scale your apps faster


This article is sponsored by IBM.

From ordering food, to finding a good doctor in the vicinity or enhancing our learning skills, most of us use an app, whether we are a teenager, in our 30s or even a septuagenarian.

Not just big brands or multi-national companies, even small and medium businesses and startups are going down the app route. In fact, even your small neighbourhood street food joint wants you to rate their food and service on a popular restaurant search and discovery app because it means better business and value.

For most organisations today, there are no second thoughts on whether an app is vital for their growth or not. The advantages of having an app are evident – from being able to stay on top of the customers’ mind and building brand loyalty, to being able to provide value to the customers, and doubling up as a marketing channel, apps are playing a vital role.

There are so many prescribed dos and don’ts when it comes to building an app that it gets confusing. Some say there is only one proper way to build an app, which is another debate altogether.

But nobody knows better than you what you would like to build in your app. What if you could build your app your way. In fact, that’s how some of the greatest brands built their businesses, by doing it their way.

With a combination of some awesome open-source computing technologies to power your apps, supported by other tools that make developers' lives easier, and leveraging backend services, you could also build and scale your app, your way.

Build a powerful backend in the cloud for your mobile app

Building your app on the cloud leveraging backend services allows you to do so much more. First, it helps you create apps faster and also fine tune your mobile apps with operational analytics from real time performance and data usage. Using backend services, you can also make vital enhancements to the app with analytics, security, user insight, and continuous delivery. Be it deriving insights from user feedback, managing build distribution to testers and stakeholders, getting detailed crash reports, finding security vulnerabilities or managing push notification subscriptions, building the app on IBM Bluemix Services offers you immense possibilities when you build in the cloud.

By building the app on IBM Bluemix, you can get access to mobile beta management. That means you can create, manage and run an efficient mobile beta program. Be it in inviting prospective beta users, customising beta programs or continuously engaging with beta participants, all of this becomes easier to manage. A key feature of building on Bluemix is the in-app bug feedback reporting. That means you can submit defects and provide feedback in seconds while using the application from your mobile device.

You can also get the latest build into the hands of the testers and beta participants as soon as it is available, and automatically get aggregated crash logs from pre-production and production environments.

Give your apps the power of cognitive with a full suite of speech, vision, and data APIs.

What if you could give your app cognitive capabilities such as the ability to interact with your customers, or the chance to derive intelligence from in-built app features that analyse video and text which could help solve future business problems?

Even though these questions are not futuristic, but a present an immediate business need, most app do not have any integrated cognitive abilities, because there is this common misconception that this is a complex feature. However, that is not the case. With IBM Watson you can bring the power of cognitive computing to your apps. Watson combines a number of cognitive techniques to help you build and train your bot by defining intents and crafting dialogue to simulate conversation and even helping you scour big data for insights. Some of the newest Watson APIs help you solve complex business problems.

And then there are additional Watson services like the AlchemyAPI and language translation that help your app function at a higher level. For instance, the AlchemyAPI offers a set of services that enable businesses and developers to build applications that understand the content and context of text in webpages, news articles, and blogs. Using AlchemyAPI, developers can perform tasks such as extracting the details of people, places, companies, and other entities mentioned in any publicly-accessible webpage, posted HTML/text document, or a predefined corpus of news articles. With Watson’s language service, you can dynamically translate news, patents, or conversational documents and publish content in multiple languages.

Use a combination of the most prominent open-source compute technologies to power your apps

Open-source technologies offer a variety of benefits to that makes it easier to build your apps, be it bringing innovative ideas to market fast with reduced development costs, creating scalable and portable apps and services, or continuously building, testing and delivering high quality production code.

App Runtimes, which are based on Cloud Foundry, of which IBM is both a founding and platinum member, helps to deploy and scale apps without manually configuring and managing servers. With Runtimes, you can also automate platform and infrastructure scaling decisions, taking the performance and financial guesswork out of operations.

Having a hosted container service eliminates the need for users to install, operate and scale container infrastructure, meaning they can create containerised applications quickly and easily. Since containers maintain all application configuration settings and dependencies, there is no need to change or reconfigure applications for different environments. That means applications can move seamlessly between development, test and production environments, and operations teams spend less time doing manual installations and troubleshooting issues. In short, IBM Containers makes Docker enterprise-ready.

As your users grow, so does your business. The growth could be gradual or sudden, sometimes even a dip. But the fact is your app needs cloud infrastructure that can scale up to meet these requirements, in sync with your growth. That’s where IBM Virtual Servers powered by OpenStack fits in. The IBM services can be deployed in a matter of minutes from virtual server images of your choice in the geographic region you need them. As soon as your workload subsides, those virtual servers can be suspended or powered down so that your cloud environment perfectly fits your infrastructure needs.

With a little help from IBM, you can easily build your app, your way.


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