BobbyeM71hxwDynamic Open Source Languages Head to the Cloud

For developers building applications with open source dynamic languages, the cloud is a key development area, and not just for network administrators looking for scale.

In terms of language usage, it is found that nearly 80 percent of developers are using Javascript, while both Python and Perl came in at 47 percent, PHP at 42 percent and Ruby at 31 percent

According to the director of engineering at ActiveState, Jeff Hobbs, this confirms a lot of basic hunches that dynamic languages are just increasing their usage in standard programming applications and especially in newer development such as the cloud application space.

While many developers are headed to the cloud, however it is being noted that nearly 43 percent of respondents had no plans yet for cloud development in the next 24 months.

Hobbs said, “You think about the development cycle that a large enterprises has- they can go anywhere from one year to three to five-year cycles”. For the people who have just released applications, it might still be three to five years before they can assess the value of the advantages that might be presented in the cloud.

For developers, there are a number of differences between developing for the cloud versus traditional deployment methods. Some of the differences depend on the type of cloud deployment being used.

According to principal analyst and partner at Redmonk, Stephen O’Grady, the differences with Infrastructure-as-a-Service offerings are typically things such as the APIs used to access the storage layer. “For Platform-as-a-Service offerings that tend to be far more prescriptive, the differences can be relatively extensive, from a difference in the typical infrastructure software (e.g. databases) to the implementation of the development framework.”

Hobbs noted that since the cloud virtualizes multiple elements of an application deployment stack, including the server, it makes the actual languages used stand out more than they have in the past. He added that he has seen some subtle shifts in dynamic languages that make the languages more cloud-friendly.

According to Hobbs, it’s really important that the language developers’ use already has the library and frameworks already provided and supported. The dynamic languages become an advantage to cloud app development as you’re ready to use all the pieces that you need to use and they’re abstracted in the right way.”

Challenges to Cloud Development

The dynamic programming aspects of dynamic languages allow for fast development times as well. However, there are number of challenges that still face dynamic language developers.

Hobbs noted that having the required tooling for deployment is critical. He added that concerns around security are also a barrier- one that 40 percent of poll respondents identified as an issue.

According to Redmonk’s O’Grady, the dynamic languages themselves can evolve to take better advantages of the cloud, though the cloud vendors can help out there, too.

While there are changes to the language runtimes that could improve their ease of use in the cloud, it’s more likely that changes will come at the framework layer. And it’s likely that cloud offerings, moving forward, will increasingly support event-based frameworks to better take advantage of the concurrency that the cloud offers.”


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