Cost Effective Smart-Device App Development

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I noticed something interesting this morning. At my neighborhood Peet’s Coffee, where I ritually stop by every morning, usually I see a number of people hunched over their laptops, checking email, browsing the web, or doing some other work, a scene that is very similar across all coffee shops. However, today I noticed three people with iPads, one of them being myself.

This is a very high ratio for iPad. A single device from a single company against laptops and netbooks made by so many different companies, and for so many years. Clearly people love their iPads.

Colin Crawford in his blog The iPad Advantage competently argues how quickly these smart devices are growing and the fantastic opportunities that they present to content publishers. Same is true for business apps. Your users are on iPads and other similar devices scheduled to be released soon. Doesn’t it make sense for your apps to work well on them and deliver a user experience that is compatible with the strengths of these devices?

The problem is that creating native apps requires expensive traditional development. For most apps there simply isn’t adequate ROI. Furthermore, apps made for one platform, say iPhone, are incompatible with other platforms, such as Android or Blackberry.

However, two standards are supported by all smart devices: HTML and JavaScript. You can create great web apps that come very close to native app user experience. Provided that your application engine renders its user interfaces in such way that takes advantage of the strengths of smart devices.

Caspio’s platform-as-a-service has proven to be very effective in enabling the creation of such web apps cost effectively and without requiring any development skills. Since the introduction of our kit for iPhone, iPad and Android we have seen a growing number of our customers creating such applications.

The ROI is phenomenal. No coding and no upfront investment is required. A point-and-click application builder that is designed for non-developers guides the users to create polished, scalable and user friendly web application that rival native apps. What’s more is that Caspio can also power traditional web apps competently. It’s new paradigm in application creation that CIOs and business owner need to know about.

Are the users of smart devices expecting a better experience with your apps and databases than what you are offering on your web site?

Five Misconceptions about Building Apps in the Cloud

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Over the years since we first started Caspio in 2000, we’ve grown accustomed to hearing disbelief from new users when they experience how easily they can create their own web apps without coding or software. And even as cloud computing gains momentum and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) becomes more mainstream, it’s remarkable to still frequently hear so many common misunderstandings from new users and so-called “experts” alike. I’ll try to tackle some of them here, primarily from Caspio’s perspective.

Misconception #1: Only simple apps are possible without coding

Depends how you define simple. You can certainly create a massively scalable, multi-faceted, multi-user, highly-interactive app on Caspio and integrate it with several other online apps and internal systems and load it with millions of records. On the other hand, games and other intensely graphical apps are not as well-suited on Caspio’s more structured database-centric app platform.

Misconception #2: Cloud apps are a temporary Band-Aid

The idea being that to build a “real” app for the long haul, you should go back to traditional coding. Not so! While it’s true that application development platforms (including Caspio’s) have their own unique strengths and approach to solving business problems, by no means are Caspio-powered apps a temporary stop-gap. We have countless customers who have built mission-critical enterprise applications since 2001, when our platform first launched, and continue to expand their usage today.

Misconception #3: Hosted applications pose security and reliability risks

Security and reliability are a big deal as they should be. But if you do proper due diligence in selecting your platform,  you could be assured that the security and reliability achieved through your cloud partner is typically above and beyond what’s available in most companies. Caspio is known in the industry for its leadership in enterprise-grade security and reliability measures. Read about our specific measures and policies here.

Misconception #4: Long-term apps are most cost effective when built in-house

What many don’t realize is that once you roll out an app, someone has to continuously host it, monitor its uptime, update its security, back up its data, apply upgrades, and deal with feature requests whenever necessary. When you leverage a hosted platform like Caspio’s, you automatically benefit from all the built-in maintenance, upgrades, support and economy of scale … without even having to think about it. Once you put these expenses into your ROI analysis you see that unless you are willing to make sacrifices in post-development operational quality, running your app on your own is not more cost effective than working with a well chosen cloud partner.

Misconception #5: Non-developers can’t build powerful apps

After many many years studying computer science at school, the mere thought that a web-based tool could make my skills redundant is disheartening to say the least. But cloud platforms are not meant to be a drag-and-drop replacement to ingenuity … they are accelerators and innovators.


Platform-as-a-service offerings are much like point-and-shoot cameras. They are increasingly smart in that they automatically find your subject, zoom in on them, adjust the shutter speed and so on, so all you have to do is to push the button. The result is a fairly nice photograph. Now is it as good as one taken by a professional photographer? Certainly not. But most pictures don’t require professional photography skills to turn out delightfully beautiful. Furthermore, just by spending an hour learning your camera’s user manual to get down the basic features of lighting, framing and movement, you can improve your picture quality dramatically.
In the world of application creation, Caspio is that point-and-shoot camera. The truth is that Caspio doesn’t make anyone a programmer. However, it does provide an easy way to implement your ideas. The trick is in planning and architecting your app. For that, Caspio offers free project consultations, customer training and technical support. So when you combine an easy-to-use tool with an eager-to-help support team to back you up, you bet that you can build powerful apps without knowing how to write programs.

Point-and-click app building is here and it’s only getting better. We have been focused on this for the past nine years and have seen thousands of fantastic app ideas get implemented without a single line of code. There used to be a time that only professional typesetters could create nice looking publications. Nowadays, my elementary school child uses Word to create great looking documents. Similarly, you now can create web forms and apps fast and without programming. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should!