What is aPaaS?

Application Platform as a Service (aPaaS) allows you to build, deploy, and run custom apps in the cloud. Here’s how to choose the aPaaS solution that can provide the most value in your organization.

The IT industry is currently undergoing unprecedented change. IT departments are not as robust as they used to be, but demand for intuitive customer-facing applications is higher than ever. With more demand comes more competition, so speed to market is also an increasingly important consideration for many businesses.

What do these trends mean for enterprise application development? In short, the demand for more applications has led the industry to look for better, more flexible ways to build them. According to IBM, 80% of leading companies are calling upon “citizen developers”—non-coders with access to application development tools—to drive innovation and ship software.

This has given rise to a number of entirely new development methodologies, one of which is known as Application Platform as a Service (aPaaS), a nimble app-building solution that helps companies tackle many of the issues currently plaguing their IT departments. Here’s everything you need to know about aPaas and how it's revolutionizing app development.    

What is aPaaS?

aPaaS, or Application Platform as a Service, refers to any cloud-based service that enables end-users to build, deploy, and run custom applications in the cloud. It combines the cloud experience of SaaS (Software as a Service) with the app development tools of IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service).

aPaaS should not be confused with PaaS (Platform as a Service), which refers to all variations of cloud-based middleware. PaaS includes large-scale services like Amazon Web Services and Azure, while aPaaS is narrower in scope and only describes PaaS platforms that focus on enabling rapid application development.

aPaaS development is unique because it centralizes all phases of the app lifecycle—building, testing, deploying, managing, and updating—in a single platform that can be securely accessed from anywhere. In the past, application platforms had to be deployed on-demand from a variety of separate services, but with aPaaS, there’s no need to cobble together a working system from disparate elements. 

What are the Benefits of aPaaS? 

aPaaS democratizes web app development by breaking down structural barriers to IT. The principal features of aPaaS—visual development, reusable templates, and one-click deployment—are intuitive and easy to learn, allowing understaffed IT departments to tap into ideas and resources from other teams.

Since aPaaS enables more people to work on the same complex projects, lengthy app development processes can be shortened. This rapid development and deployment can help enterprises keep up with demand and get products to market faster. Last but certainly not least, companies can achieve this while keeping overhead costs down. Using one centralized platform with pre-built templates is significantly less expensive than coding, integrating, and managing an application in the traditional way. 

Not All aPaaS Solutions Are Created Equal

There are generally three main varieties of aPaaS solutions—cloud, low-code, or no-code.

Cloud includes large suites like Salesforce and ServiceNow. These options have a lot of functionality but they require specialized resources and complex builds. Since it’s easy to get stalled by the complex code that accompanies cloud providers, this isn’t the most agile option for enterprises looking to build, customize, change, and deploy at will. 

Low-code and no-code aPaaS solutions are often grouped together because they both allow you to build an application with fewer infrastructure headaches and a visual approach. In reality, the two are very different. While both facilitate faster startup speeds, they’re targeted toward completely different user needs.

Low-code increases the productivity of development teams by automatically generating code. No-code also increases productivity, but it does so by removing a codebase altogether and fully relying on a drag and drop interface. This allows business users to participate in the development process directly—which can free developers up to focus more of their time on the most complex tasks in the backlog.

Why No-Code Is the Right Choice

It’s easy to imagine how any given aPaaS solutions might make life easier, but choosing the wrong one can still leave you bogged down with complicated legacy maintenance and lengthy development timelines. Large cloud providers can be unwieldy and require specialized skill sets in order to reach their full potential. And although low-code solutions require less coding, applications still need to be configured by engineers—which creates inevitable legacy maintenance costs down the line. 

When evaluating aPaaS platforms, no-code is perhaps the smartest choice. It’s fast, easy to configure, and easy to update. And despite bypassing most of the complexities inherent in traditional coding, no-code still enables you to build sophisticated, powerful applications. If you’re looking for a way to close your IT skills gap, keep up with high consumer demand, and build applications with any number of desired functionalities, look no further than no-code.

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