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Top five AWS application development tips of 2015

Developers have a bevy of AWS app development options. Our experts tackled a variety of those topics, and these five tips struck a chord with our readers.

Public cloud providers have changed the look of applications in the public cloud. Enterprises with a foot in the cloud have access to tools and technology that make it easier to spin up a VM, scale to meet demand, go modular with microservices architecture and manage changes in the app development lifecycle -- often at a fraction of the cost of building a traditional application. Additionally, IT teams are unified like never before, allowing for quicker and more secure software deployments.

But challenges remain. Mobile application development is still in its infancy, greatly changing the way end users interact with apps. In addition, as it increases in use, hybrid cloud can make it difficult to move a workload from one cloud to another.

AWS application development was a popular topic on in 2015. Docker containers, microservices, mobile application development, continuous deployment, the Internet of Things and serverless computing are just a handful of subjects that got our readers' attention. Here's a look back at five most popular tips on application development in 2015.

5. App development with AWS Elastic Beanstalk

Developers are diverse in their application preferences, coding in various languages and across various servers. AWS Elastic Beanstalk takes the infrastructure work out of the equation, allowing developers to get right to work building an application.

This tip walks developers through the steps of launching an AWS application. It guides developers through storage options and configuration details, such as AWS instance type, VPC and Identity and Access Management needs.

4. Customize Amazon Echo with AWS Lambda

Amazon Echo, the Internet-connected wireless speaker, has been praised for its accuracy in accepting voice commands. But Alexa, the kindly voice that's programmed into the device, can also be tweaked to accept new commands, helping to fill gaps in the product's functionality.

AWS Lambda can be hooked directly into the Amazon Echo, allowing new skills to be added through the Alexa Skills Kit. Chris Moyer explains how he used the API to ask his wife questions via SMS message -- just one of several unique Echo tweaks shared by developers over GitHub.

3. Use tools to boost productivity

The DevOps movement is undeniable. More than ever, enterprises are seeking ways to accelerate application development in the cloud, whether it's for testing purposes or to quickly update an app.

AWS provides several tools to improve continuous code delivery, but it's equally important to monitor application performance. CloudWatch, CloudTrail and AWS Config all offer a look into application performance, but might lack the full scope. A variety of third-party tools may help IT teams complete the complicated task of AWS cloud management.

2. AWS Cognito eases mobile app development

End users interact with modern applications across a wide range of devices. This presents a number of challenges in AWS application development, as end users expect consistent performance and access to app data on each of those devices -- which might have different OSes.

AWS Cognito authenticates users and synchronizes data across all platforms as a mobile backend as a service product. Cognito issues temporary keys to allow limited access to an application; this allows for identity authorization. It's a simple idea, but a not-so-simple process. This tip describes how Cognito uses key-value pairs to sync data and uses visuals to explain how the service uses identity pools to place limitations on access.

1. Microservices architecture boosts availability

Monolithic apps may be going the way of the dinosaur. Developers are increasingly turning to microservices in app deployment, breaking down applications into smaller components that allow for greater functionality in the cloud. One problem: IT teams are still determining best practices for microservices in AWS application development.

It's important to maintain strong API connections and data consistency when switching to a microservices app, but business development plans are otherwise divided. As the microservices landscape continues to evolve, developers are still working through the challenges of Docker containers and serverless computing -- two different, albeit popular, approaches to AWS application development. Amazon EC2 Container Service and AWS Lambda figure to mature even more in 2016 as the cloud provider improves both services to meet customer demands.

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