I used to think that the word cloud, when used in a software context, was a rather nebulous marketing buzzword. In many cases, it still is. But, I’ve come to regard specific usage of it as a useful addition to the software development lexicon. Why? What is the cloud, and why does it matter? In this first post of a series, I would like to address that first question.
At SpinDance, when we refer to the cloud, we are often talking about a software application running on one or more Internet-accessible computers. A very simple example of a cloud application might be a website implemented in Ruby on Rails and backed by a MySQL database.
But haven’t we had websites for decades? If the concept has existed for so long, why has this new usage of the word cloud increased in recent years? In my opinion, the cloud has connotations that go beyond traditional websites.
Many of our projects at SpinDance have a cloud component. But, many of these projects also have other components, typically mobile and embedded. The cloud component might receive data from a thermostat, process it, and provide it to an Android application. Together, the three components form a system. Historically, Internet-connected applications did not work together with phones and embedded devices nearly as much as they do today;…