Achieve more with Serverless Applications: Build on Azure and Publish with PowerApps
Enterprise application development is one of the many strategies that businesses of all sorts adopt to firm their feet in the industry and have better customer accessibility. In unexpected situations like the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a professionally designed application is what helped tons of businesses to stay afloat.
However, application development was never as effortless as it is with the low code or serverless application development of Azure and PowerApps.
This application development approach has set new highs of effortlessness when the development of business-focused, quick, cost-effective, and quality-oriented application development is the key concern.
What makes it different from other kinds of application development approaches and what is worth its holds in the world of application development?
These are some of the questions which we will try to resolve in this post. So, if you’re also curious to know about serverless applications then stay tuned.
What Do We Mean By Serverless Application?
Before we delve deep into details, let’s get familiar with the concept of serverless applications. With serverless, we mean the process of managing the servers, by the cloud provider, for executing cloud computing rather than the businesses.
Going by this definition, we can conclude that the serverless applications are the ones that run the servers, managed entirely by the cloud service provider. In this model of applications development, the end-user is not liable to:
· Look after the servers and related equipment as the cloud service provider is handling the job.
· Bear the set-up and installation costs of any sort as the cloud service provider is handling that
· Pay attention to the security of the servers
· Bear the hardware cost, involved in the application development
All of this happens at a monthly subscription cost that the end-user pays. All a customer needs to do is to perform the applications’ testing & coding. Not only the tediousness, involved in application development, is reduced with serverless application development but also faster time to market is enjoyed as there is no need to get involved in procuring and obtaining the resources.
When to Consider Serverless Application Development
This model is going to make a huge difference when:
· There is a need of executing asynchronous and concurrent tasks with full perfection.
· You need to immediately change and deploy application code as per changing business requirements.
· You want to server to infrequent requests and varying customers/user traffic while there is no dependency on latency.
· There is a need to quickly iterate the application development.
· Building MVPs is the goal.
For its Azure users, Microsoft offers Azure Functions and Logic App technologies to make serverless application development possible.
How to Get Started With Serverless Application Development?
Getting started with serverless application development is an easy task that starts with writing the code in the containers. On executing the written codes/event, you can trigger any of the managed services or custom resources.
Afterwards, the end-user is suggested to write the stateful functions in a given serverless computing system.
The written serverless code is event-driven is stays running in the response to the given triggers.
Serverless PowerApps is empowered by Azure Functions, serverless solutions designed to allow end-users to develop an application with fewer code writing and less architecture maintenance. PowerApps, in combination with Logic Apps and Azure Functions, offers the building blocks APIs, used for connecting the custom system backends and data models.
Also Read: Azure Migration Strategy
These blocks of APIs, when integrated with PowerApps, hold the power to integrate the business-critical data, leveraging the quick application built, management of apps, and effective apps distribution.
Backend serverless APIs can be built and imported in MS PowerApps as custom connector(s) using the Azure AP Management functionality since the ‘Fusion Development’ teams are made available by Microsoft.
They can further be used as custom connectors. That was for the seasoned developers. Citizen developers with less developing experience or novice developers can also achieve perfection in serverless application development, using the PowerApps APIs as there is no need to write front-end codes. This way, it’s possible to save a huge deal of time & effort, invested in app development.
PowerApps has already gained popularity across the developers’ community as it supports low code development and can be used for multiple processes like automation, reporting, collaboration, visualization, and many more.
With the integration of PowerApps and Azure, developers can build an API in Visual Studio Code and then publish it on the Azure portal. API export to PowerApps can also be done effortlessly.
The same API can be re-used an endless number of times in the Power Apps’ studio and streamline the future application development.
Azure Serverless Application — A Blessing in Disguise
Azure comes with a whole stack of serverless application building tools & technologies to make the process free from key risks & hassles.
It is such liberal in offering assistance that application infrastructure management becomes an effortless job regardless of the type and nature of the application built. A fully manage serverless application development service tool and developer tools are offered to the customers. Have a look at them:
o Azure serverless compute
Don’t get tangled in the endless need of owning the right kind of infrastructure that runs on your code & containers. Azure serverless computing offers:
- Serverless Kubernetes that allows one to create serverless, Kubernetes-based applications using the open-source Virtual Kubelet project.
- Serverless functions which are an event-driven compute experience, helping in executing codes.
- Serverless application environments that are useful to run & scale applications of all sorts over the platform of your choice.
o Azure serverless workflows and integration
Building new apps, using orchestrating event-based serverless architectures and a simple API facade is easier than ever as you’re offered:
- Serverless workflow orchestration
- Serverless API management
- Serverless messaging
o DevOps and developer tools for serverless
Azure offers a wide range of DevOps tools to build apps in a familiar developer ecosystem, using the preferred operating system. Such kind of familiarities makes the application development a bit more effortless. The offered facilities are:
- CI/CD for serverless along with unlimited, cloud-based private Git repos with Azure DevOps.
- App development tools like Visual Studio, SDKs, Visual Studio Code can help you in building, running, and debugging serverless applications.
AI and machine learning for serverless
Not only development of serverless applications can be a piece of cake with Azure serverless facilities but also improvement of the highest grade can be achieved. A wide range of ready-to-use AI and machine learning algorithms that can improve productivity and trim down operational costs by supporting autoscaling compute and DevOps for machine learning. Here is the offering of Azure in this section.
- Cognitive computing which allows serverless apps to interpret the end-users need via a natural mode of communication.
- Conversation bots that are here to make customer-business interaction easy as channels like text/SMS, Skype, Slack, and Twitter are supported by these bots.
- Machine learning models that support development.
Also Read: AI Changing the Digital Business
Build serverless apps with relational and non-relational databases like Azure SQL Database and Azure Cosmos DB. Both these databases are here to build apps faster, optimize the price, scale the computer-based workload, and automatically updated.
Impressive storage like Azure Blob storage is offered to support the development of static web applications. This storage is a highly scalable storage option, offered for unstructured data.
Azure serverless analytics allow developers to run a couple of real-time analytics on multiple data streams parallel using Azure Stream Analytics.
Challenges of Serverless Application Development
From the above-quoted text, it’s crystal clear that serverless application development is no less than a blessing to all those who want to have quick turnaround time, high-end functionality, and reduce development costs.
However, it’s not always a bed of roses as there are certain challenges that need to be addressed properly. Have a look at those challenges:
· Security — Serverless application development requires a bit more attentiveness towards security aspects as each serverless workload provider offers a different security framework. So, end-users will have a tough time to implement different security policies across the application.
· Monitoring — When it comes to development, tons of facilities are offered. But, not much guidance is offered when it comes to serverless apps monitoring. Legacy monitoring tactics and practices are not applicable to them.
· Hidden costs — There are some hidden direct & indirect costs in serverless application development. For instance, there is a high-level dependency on API calls which increases the operational cost.
Before you dream of having a highly optimized app, using the serverless application model, addressing these challenges is highly recommended.
Make Most out of Serverless Application Development
Going serverless, using PowerApps and Azure, is indeed one of the smartest moves to make when obtaining feature-rich and highly functional business apps, in the least possible expenses, is the goal. By making this move, a business comes to a step closer to optimized functions, great customer reach, and balanced expenditures. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Need-based customizations in the app are going to give you sweaty palms. This is where a certified and seasoned Microsoft partners with expertise in Azure and PowerApps comes to the rescue. Using its expertise and excellence, achieving success in serverless application development becomes easier than ever.