5 ways developers win with PaaS

Powering your app with open source and OpenShift

Getting Started with OpenShift As a software developer, you are no doubt familiar with the process of abstracting away unnecessary detail in code — imagine if that same principle were applied to application hosting. Say hello to Platform as a Service (PaaS), which enables you to host your applications in the cloud without having to worry about the logistics, leaving you to focus on your code. This post will discuss five ways in which PaaS benefits software developers, using the open source OpenShift PaaS by Red Hat as an example.

No More Tedious Config Tasks

Most of us don’t become developers to do system administration, but when you are running your own infrastructure you end up doing exactly that. A PaaS can take that pain away by handling pesky config and important security updates for you. As a bonus, it makes your sys admin happy too by allowing you to provision your own environment for that killer new app idea you want to tinker with, rather than nagging them for root access on a new VM.

On OpenShift, it goes like this: let’s say you decide you want to test an idea for a Java app, using Tomcat and PostgreSQL (yes, we could argue about the merits of those choices, but work with me here). You can spin that up with a one-line terminal command:

That -s on the end is telling the platform to make the app auto-scaling, which I will elaborate on later; yes, that’s all it takes. RHC (Red Hat Cloud) is just a Ruby Gem wrapping calls to the OpenShift REST API. You could also use the OpenShift web console or an IDE plugin to do this, or call the API directly if that’s how you roll. The key technologies in play here are just plain old Git and SSH — there’s nothing proprietary.

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Prototype and adapt with the MEAN stack

Rapid web development with MongoDB, Express, AngularJS, and Node.js

Web development may seem like a bustling space where everything changes every 5 minutes, but, in reality, the fundamental high-level concepts of building a web application haven’t changed much since the introduction of Ajax. The libraries and concepts, like the MEAN stack, that people have built up around HTTP and browser-side JavaScript simply provide abstractions to help people build sophisticated browser-based tools more easily. However, the fundamental challenges of web development remain mostly unchanged, and the ultimate arbiter of the value of a web development framework is how easily it enables you to overcome these challenges. In this article, I’ll highlight what I believe to be the fundamental categories of web development problems, and how the MEAN stack, consisting of MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, and Node.js, helps you solve them.

Problem 1: Prototyping, or, how do I build the damn thing?

With the growing popularity of the lean startup model, the pressure to shorten product development cycles and churn out a prototype application quickly and cheaply has never been greater. And, as developers, we’re doing this better at an exponential rate. Projects that once required hundreds of millions of dollars of capital in the late ‘90s became projects that you could build in a month or two with a couple tens of thousands of capital at a startup accelerator around 2008. Now, these sorts of projects are being churned out at hackathons around the country in a matter of days. As great as this seems, we can do better.

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Tech Events You Don’t Want to Miss

Taming Taxonomy, AnDevCon, UXPA Boston, and more.

Each Monday, we round up upcoming event highlights from the programming and technology spaces. Have an event to share? Send us a note.

Kicking up the Dust with NodeJS and a Bunch of Other JavaScript Goodness: Bill Scott talks about employing dust.js and node.js at PayPal, and explains how JavaScript is enabling Lean UX and Lean Engineering. Register for this free webcast.
Date: 10 a.m. PT, May 15 Location: Online webcast

Debugging Mobile Apps webcast: Jonathan Stark discusses limitations in troubleshooting tools in mobile app development and describes cutting-edge technologies and techniques to make mobile app debugging a bit less painful.
Date: 10 a.m. PT, May 16 Location: Online webcast

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Editorial Radar with Mike Loukides & Mike Hendrickson

Editorial Radar with Mike Loukides & Mike Hendrickson

Discussion on machine learning, 3D printing, devices and JavaScript

In this first episode of "Editorial Radar," O'Reilly editors Mike Loukides and Mike Hendrickson discuss the important technologies they're tracking.

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The secrets of Node’s success

The secrets of Node’s success

Why Node.js has caught on while other server-side JavaScript implementations faltered.

What is it about Node.js that makes it interesting to developers? The key factors are performance, timing, and focusing on a real problem that wasn't easily solved with other server-side dynamic languages.

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