SaaS Programming Language Background
Provision of application services has developed outstandingly over the past year to lead us to the current SaaS programming. Physical purchase and installation is no longer good enough with the discovered boundless servicing capabilities of the internet. SaaS stands for Software as a Service, which is a model for delivering application software services via internet, intranet, VPN, LAN or MAN. This delivery is made from a centralized location hosting the services. SaaS is a broad classification that is related to other offers like DaaS (desktop as a service), IaaS (infrastructure as a service), PaaS (platform as a service) and ITaS (IT as a service).
SaaS programming emerged in the early 1960s, where mainstream IT companies offered database storage space for banking companies and other big organizations. Then, it was referred to as utility computing. It later developed with the emergence of Application Service Providers (ASPs) who managed and hosted third party applications and services in the 1990s. The major ASPs were USI (based in Washington DC) and Futurelink (based in California). These companies offered specialized business applications to many institutions. Each application was separate and customized for the given business. Later expansions and advancements in the use of internet and WEB led to SaaS. The abbreviation was first mentioned in February 2001 by Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA).
Traditionally, application software was bought on up-front cost under a perpetual license and included installation on the client’s actual computer. The client had access to all the data and took responsibility for upgrading the software. The application software was sold as a complete package with an optional offer for upgrading fees. However, with the introduction of SaaS programming, there was no need for installation. Software is now hosted under ASP and is provided on subscription fees usually on an annual or monthly basis.
Characteristics of SaaS
There is one main difference between modern SaaS models for application software service provision and traditional packages. SaaS programming involves providing application software services on demand. The following are some basic characteristics.
• Central management – Application software is managed and provided from a centralized location by the ASP.
• One-to-many offer – SaaS models are designed to provide one-to-many application software services accesses over the paid duration.
• Access sales – ASP sell access to the services or in other terms grants access to an application for a given fee. This is unlike traditional in-computer installations.
Application software service domain for SaaS programming include:
- Office and messaging service
- CAD software service
- Customer Relationship Management service
- Human Resource Management service
- Management Information System service
- Enterprise Resource Planning service
- Content Management service
- Virtualization services
All these services only require web and internet to use.
Advantages of SaaS Programming
There are numerous advantages of using SaaS models both to the ASPs and the end user. The overlying benefit for the user is reduced costs associated with hiring or outsourcing IT specialists for maintenance and repairs. Online access offer easy troubleshooting from the ASPs and thereby cutting related costs.
Other advantages include:
a) Customization – SaaS application software allows the user to alter certain parameters and configurations in order to suit their use. Since the SaaS uses multi-tenancy, where a single version with same hardware and software configuration is used for all businesses, the user has options for customizing their own. However, there is a choice for virtualization where some software are designed for specific business services.
b) Improved feature delivery – since the application software is owned by the ASP, they do the upgrading. This is often very frequent (weekly or monthly) as compared to traditional user preference for upgrading. This fast upgrade is due to many reasons that may include:
- Single version. SaaS models use multi-tenancy and upgrading is easier when dealing with only one set of configuration.
- Analytics. APS has a chance to monitor user behavior and gauge what they want. They also have access to user data on which tests can be run and areas for improvement identified.
c) Social collaboration – the advancement of social networking enables users to share information and comment opinions or offer new ideas. This helps immensely in improvement efforts.
d) Integration – SaaS provides open integration protocol(s) that allow local area networking to incorporate other networks thus boosting networking options.
Limitations of SaaS
There is much room for improvement on SaaS as new ideas are received daily and internet capabilities continue to expand. Since transition is still on-going, there are bound to be some hitches that limit the efficiency of SaaS models.
Here are a few:
• Security – there are concerns of the security of user data which is stored and retained by APS in the ‘cloud’. Since the user doesn’t actually own the software, data misuse or loss are not to be over-sighted. There are however set regulations that govern data use and security.
• Reduced speed – SaaS relies on web to provide their services and companies may suffer losses related with low global internet speeds even if their own local networking is fast.
• Compatibility – some application are not compatible with software and hardware configurations of the clients’ browsers and computers.
• Licensing – emergence of counterfeit software or imposers presents significant need to worry.
The latest advancement in SaaS programming includes data escrow and SIP.
Data escrow – this is where users are allowed to back up and insure all SaaS application data with other independent third party servers in case of loss or vendor bankruptcy.
SaaS Integration Platform (SIP) – this is the latest trend that allows users to access many SaaS applications on a single platform. This creates an opportunity for developers to quickly create and deploy new applications.
SaaS programming has overtaken traditional software services offered as products with high up-front costs and comprised of applications not required by the user.