Web designers and coders have new unique challenges with cloud computing. There are many new skills web designers must take advantage of that are different from traditional hosting solutions. At the same time, there are several advantages to using cloud computing that make the web designer’s job much more convenient.
The first thing that cloud computing provides as an advantage over traditional dedicated hosting is the ability to mask the technical details of the server. Google Apps Cloud services, for instance, let developers create their entire web and service environments without knowing what is happening on the server level. All development and design activities can be performed through the Google development interface without having to access any server instances.
Cloud computing also allows designers to make updates to the site immediately with a testing environment and a production environment, with easy migration options. Separate servers do not need to be allocated between different environments, but can be configured easily without the need for large amounts of custom configuration. Since cloud hosting is charged based on traffic, bandwidth and processing usage, several separate instances can be set up without the fear of racking up too many charges. This can be handy to have a pure development environment that is separated from an integration environment that can be used for integrating your development effort or website with other services or applications. Also, this environment can be split off separately into a user acceptance testing environment. This ability to split up the development effort into many different application environments is a particular benefit to developers and designers using cloud hosting. In dedicated hosting environments, designers are often forced to run multiple development and testing environments on the same server. This can cause serious problems when dealing with development efforts and testing. When the user group is testing, if you only have one environment then all the development efforts need to stop or else the developers and testers will begin to stepping on each other. New untested development efforts could mess up the testing efforts and compromise the software development life cycle. Cloud computing allows easy separation of the different environments, making it much easier for designers working on large web projects.
Data storage is another great advantage or designers working with cloud computing. Designers can spend hours on certain pieces of web art or web application code. Designers traditionally have to be careful about keeping multiple backups of their work product. Keeping their code on their local hard drive of their laptop can be dangerous if there is no other backup. The same is true of saving production code on a single server instance without a good backup. By saving work that is in development and in production up in the cloud environment, backups of the code are already redundant. Not only does the web designer gain redundancy for backup reasons but saving code up on the cloud allows for universal access to that code from any computer. This allows location transparency for the designer, so they can work on the web project at the home office or work office without having to save data on multiple computers and keep them in sync. This can be especially handy when working directly with the client as they can pull the code down to their machine as well if you want to present a demonstration of your work.
Finally, many web tools are becoming available through the web, such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. Just like with data ubiquity, cloud based web tools make it easy to keep tool versions in sync over multiple client computers.