How Containers Will Change the Way We Develop Apps

Software and app development is becoming an increasingly popular field for businesses to invest in, especially seeing as the tools and platforms of app and software development are becoming more and more available even to small businesses with limited budgets. In today’s dynamic business world, more and more emphasis is being placed on the digital tools that an organization has at their disposal – companies like TechQuarters, one of the top managed service providers London-based small businesses partner with, encourage their customers to adopt appropriate digital tools for their company, and they have increasingly been recommending development as a valuable resource. If you have your own development operations going on, you can produce bespoke digital tools to meet very specific demands within your organization.

A recent innovation that has been making development efforts even more fruitful for smaller businesses is the technology of containers. Any steps that a small business can take to streamline and minimize workloads, without compromises work quality, is a no-brainer. Containers are already a well-tested solution in the field of software development, and not only are they very useful, being able to streamline multi-platform development, but they are also inline with current trends in cyber security – namely zero trust environments.

What are Containers?

Similar to the technology of virtualization, containers are a method of rolling out and installing software on any operating system, regardless of which one it was developed on. There is a specific challenge to traditional development, which is that when a software is developed on Linux, for example, it will only run on Linux, and the same goes with any operation system, whether it be Linux, Windows, macOS, or anything else – if one attempted to run a Linux-developed software on Windows, they will encounter many bugs and errors.

Another important factor in software development is that all software has a collection of dependencies, particularly with large software systems and products. An application is usually made up of a number of software components, which themselves may be made up of several programs. These programs and software components are what developers called software dependencies, and they are all essential for the function of an app.

A container is an executable package that contains an application, including all of its software dependencies – this offers greater portability to an application. The other challenge is ensuring the container can run on any platform, which is achieve by abstracting the package of software – this is the technique of filtering out elements of the software that aren’t needed to run; which usually includes a range of platform-specific components. When the container is abstracted in this way, it becomes able to run on any platform.

Application Isolation

As has been mentioned before, containerization makes the development and rollout of apps to multiple platforms much more straightforward for IT teams, but it is also a very secure solution that makes the maintenance and support of software easier.

Containers are all independent processes that can be run on a platform without affecting, or being affected by, any other process on the platform. For instance, containers can be used for the deployment of microservices. Breaking an application into components known as microservices means that maintenance and support of the application is much more modular – each microservice runs independently, and together they form an application that offers all those different features; to the user, it appears to be one unified app. However, with traditional application infrastructure, if one component of the app fails, the whole app fails – with containerized microservices, if one of them fails, the rest continue working, making it much easier for IT support companies or IT departments to identify and fix the fault, and they won’t need to turn off the app while they work.