How Opa is Changing Development in the Cloud

These days, cloud services are becoming more and more robust, capable of delivering high-performance applications entirely via the internet. When the cloud was in its infancy, cloud services were largely oriented around simple data storage, and some cloud processing. Now, however, the cloud has developed to be capable of enterprise-grade services, processing, data delivery, and real-time user collaboration.

Odds are that you use a cloud service without even knowing it. If you’ve ever used an online file storage solution such as Dropbox, you’ve used cloud storage. You might be hosting your website on a cloud hosting provider, and if you’ve been keeping up with the latest Google apps, most of them are cloud-based as well. Cloud services offer distinct advantages in performance, management, and data sharing.

Much of the growth in the cloud is based around the expanding functionality of JavaScript. Over the past few years, a variety of JavaScript libraries have been released that improve the web, covering everything from typography to media. Not surprisingly, one of the major areas of focus has been on improving the power of cloud services.

Unfortunately, one of the major drawbacks to the growth in JavaScript libraries and platforms is the lack of stringent standards, testing, and compliance. JavaScript is an inherently permissive language, which is helpful for new users, but presents numerous issues with security and reliability for large-scale, high-performance applications.

One of the most popular platforms of the past few years has been Node.js. Node.js is a platform that allows for rapid developing of scalable applications, such as those you’d find in cloud computing.  The benefit to Node.js is the ability to handle concurrent client connections efficiently, without the need for OS threading or locking. As mentioned earlier, however, Node.js is not immune to the security vulnerabilities or the perils of poorly written code.

That’s why an open-source cloud language called Opa was created. Opa will change the way that cloud applications are developed, by addressing these issues through automation. Opa is an enterprise framework for JavaScript that is non-blocking and event-driven. Opa specifically addresses the issues of blocking and non-compliant code by automating the hard parts of Node.js.

The result is cloud apps that are free from security vulnerabilities such as XSS and SQL injection, as well as apps that are performance-optimized and truly scalable.

However, Opa also raises some new questions in the realm of cloud development. As Opa is a new framework, there is always the risk of vulnerabilities being discovered as it becomes more widely used.  Additionally, although one of the advantages of Opa is its automation of difficult programming in Node.js, there is a certain amount of control that is given up by the developer when using an enterprise framework.

All things considered, however, Opa is looking to change the way that development is done for the cloud, and it certainly looks promising. With Opa and other frameworks, the cloud looks to be growing even bigger.

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