Developing and maintaining value-added apps requires tapping into AI, open source, and cloud-based app development platforms to maximize agility and sustainability.

Applications have become the lifeblood of economies in the Asia Pacific region (APAC). Today, consumers are increasingly dependent on apps for a wide range of purposes, from communications to entertainment. Beyond web and smartphones, apps have been transforming consumer experiences by creating new digital experiences through wearables, voice assistants, and chatbots.

APAC is seen to account for 50% of global app installs by this year, higher than any other region by three times. The next few years are expected to see even better adoption as Generation Z youth start using computers and owning smartphones.

That is why every business—from the largest enterprise to a two-member startup—is investing in modern, engaging software applications. But what is a “modern app,” and why is it important for businesses across the region?

Here are five components that shape how such apps can be created and delivered.

  1. Ride on the Cloud
    Applications that are created, delivered, and maintained on the cloud are entirely digital.

    The cloud becomes the reliable back end of such an app, which provides easy access to computational power storage, and networking. The cloud also allows these apps to manage variations in data volumes and drive the reliability of operations.

    Custom-built private data centers are not only expensive but also ineffective in delivering new dimensions of speed and reliability of operations. Until recently, virtual machines were the key components in cloud architecture to run applications, but today many cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service providers also offer Kubernetes containers to enhance speed and agility of applications.

    For businesses across the region that have already invested in private data centers, shifting to a public or hybrid cloud architecture to be able to bridge gaps in infrastructure seamlessly is a viable consideration.
  2. Put Open Source first: The open-source community is leading the way in offering innovative software development that is free. By being a part of this community, developers in the region need not reinvent the wheel to code applications.

    Some of the compelling advantages of open source are: free app development frameworks; the low cost of ownership; better code; and access to the larger community of developers. In software development platform GitHub’s recent report, Hong Kong was found to have the highest percentage growth of open source contributors and overall contributors worldwide with a 101% year-on-year growth. This was followed by Singapore, at 77%.

    As developers increasingly embrace open-source software, disruptive technologies such as AI will also become more widely used. On a global scale, the open-source market is forecast to exceed US$32bn by 2023.

    Apps that embrace open-source software can be developed faster and cheaper while also being more secure and resilient.
  3. Adopt cloud-native workflows
    Architectural principles such as modularity, containerization, microservices, and API-driven communication need to be at the core of app development. These principles are key to driving an app’s agility, quality, and security. Known as cloud-native applications, they are loosely-coupled, scale easily, and are designed for both cloud and on-premise infrastructures.
  4. Leverage automation
    Automation of the app development process can fast-track development and minimize cost and effort. Today, a few cloud infrastructure providers offer automated tools to spin up servers and infrastructure as needed.

    They also offer automated workflows that simplify the steps needed from app coding to roll out. Although many developers love automation, they also must have the ability to turn off automation and code underlying processes when needed.
  5. Staying DevOps-independent
    What if DevOps was inbuilt into the workflow, and developers do not need special skills and teams to drive agility and shorter development cycles?

    This aspiration can become a reality if developers choose the right cloud provider. Whether developers are rapidly prototyping a new app or creating and maintaining a fully-scalable app for the world to enjoy, it should be as painless and straightforward as possible.

Today, in an era where mobile computing, smart apps and post-pandemic digitalization have compelled every sector of society to go digital, prioritizing the app experience has become key.

For new apps to stand out in this ocean called the “app economy”, developers need a resilient and reliable platform to cater to the modern, digital expectations of speed, scale, and simplicity.