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Lowering Barriers to Application Development With Cloud-Native Domain-Specific Functions

by   José Miguel Pérez-Álvarez, et al.
Penn State University

Creating and maintaining a modern, heterogeneous set of client applications remains an obstacle for many businesses and individuals. While simple domain-specific graphical languages and libraries can empower a variety of users to create application behaviors and logic, using these languages to produce and maintain a set of heterogeneous client applications is a challenge. Primarily because each client typically requires the developers to both understand and embed the domain-specific logic. This is because application logic must be encoded to some extent in both the server and client sides. In this paper, we propose an alternative approach, which allows the specification of application logic to reside solely on the cloud. We have built a system where reusable application components can be assembled on the cloud in different logical chains and the client is largely decoupled from this logic and is solely concerned with how data is displayed and gathered from users of the application. In this way, the chaining of requests and responses is done by the cloud and the client side has no knowledge of the application logic. An additional effect of our approach is that the client side developer is able to immediately see any changes they make, while executing the logic residing on the cloud. This further allows more novice programmers to perform these customizations, as they do not need to `get the full application working' and are able to see the results of their code as they go, thereby lowering the obstacles to businesses and individuals to produce and maintain applications. Furthermore, this decoupling enables the quick generation and customization of a variety of application clients, ranging from web to mobile devices and personal assistants, while customizing one or more as needed.


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