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Alessandro Cauduro Explains Why Every Developer Should Learn How to Leverage Edge Computing

Edge computing is an example of one of the many new technologies that are emerging every day—which, for developers, represents both a challenge and an opportunity. Especially today, the wide range of skills devs must learn and apply can be overwhelming at times, but learning new technologies is essential as they can enable more powerful applications, improve the user experiences, simplify development, or—in the case of edge computing—all of the above.

With low latency, better availability, improved security, automation, and cost reduction, edge not only improves UX, but expands the possibilities of development. And when combined with serverless computing, any developer can leverage edge computing to create world-class applications and transition them from prototype to planet scale using JavaScript frameworks.

That’s why Alessandro Cauduro, Azion’s new Chief Developer Experience Officer (CDXO) and founder of Haus, digital marketing ecosystem, believes that every developer should learn to leverage edge computing. In this article, we talk with Alessandro about how edge is enabling the next wave of applications using the macro trends developers love.

Q: So, Alessandro: what’s the biggest challenge developers are facing today?

A: Businesses today are facing a skills gap, so oftentimes the dev is the only tech person in the team, responsible for the full development life cycle (planning, frontend, backend, infrastructure, tests, and deployment). Frontend (the presentation layer or user interface) requires a different skill set than the backend, where the business logic is done. Learning all these skills can be complicated, but luckily, devs today have good developer tools, allowing one dev to do it all at world-class levels.

Q: What are some of the developer solutions that make this possible?

A: Serverless solutions allow a single developer to deliver world-class solutions, as it eliminates the need for DevOps. That means devs don’t have to worry about configuring and monitoring servers, and these resources can scale automatically. In addition, the frontend JavaScript frameworks, such as NextJS, are becoming full stack frameworks, since the front and backend of an app can be developed in JavaScript, and combining them with serverless databases, such as PlanetScale, can create scalable modern applications when deployed on the edge.

Q: What is the relationship between serverless and edge computing?

A: Serverless is a cloud execution model where providers abstract the offering and take care of servers on behalf of their customers.This was pioneered by Google and AWS and is now popularized across the tech industry, as it simplifies deployment and resource planning.

It started with a centralized model based on the geographical localization of the data centers. Serverless edge platforms like Azion take this a step further and help developers automate the process of distributing edge functions and applications across the globe to be called when they are needed and to be very close to the end user, resulting in lower latency and applications with immediate response times.

traditional serverless model versus azion edge computing

Q: What other technologies does the edge enable?

A: Jamstack is a type of modern application architecture that leverages JavaScript, APIs, and Markdown to build modern web applications that are deployed in the CDN and rendered on the browser side, resulting in applications that have instant response times and use fewer server resources. It is a perfect fit for serverless offerings, so it’s easier to scale and eliminates the need to manage a server, and has a totally decoupled front end and back end for more flexibility.

This model of architecture is very flexible and also called headless or API-first, thereby separating the presentation layer from business logic that is provided by APIs, so you can deliver any frontend presentation layer—desktop app, web app, native app, or CLI.

In addition, you have powerful runtimes like WebAssembly, which can run on the edge and enables high performance with near native speeds that can spin up faster and use fewer resources than containers. And like Jamstack, it can leverage client-side resources. The drawback with WASM for now is that it is for advanced developers, as it requires the use of languages like Rust, C++, or Go. It is just in its infancy right now, but because of its efficient compute model we should see some exciting developments and changes in the way applications are deployed in the future.

Q: Do you see a tradeoff where tools that simplify the job of the developer can result in less flexible or powerful application development, or vice versa?

A: In some cases, there are low-code or no-code tools like Bubble, Outsystems, or Microsoft PowerApps that allow anyone, even non-developers, to implement business logic and bootstrap an MVP, but they have the risk of vendor lock-in. But with serverless tools that are built on open standards, you can have low-code applications that still deliver a lot of flexibility. One of the benefits of Azion’s platform is that they are a serverless edge platform that is built on open standards, enabling ease of use but also expanding the possibilities for developers.

Q: So would you say that serverless edge computing is the future of development?

A: Yes, the market and the developer macro trends point to the edge as the future, but providing a fantastic developer experience is the best way for a company to stand out and prime itself for growth. I look forward to working with Azion’s community to make their lives easier while achieving their goals with the platform.