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AppDev vs. DevOps: What’s the Difference?

Author: Sambit Ghosh | | September 1, 2022


Too often, the C-Suite invests its brain power in finding the application resources to help achieve corporate goals. They’re not so interested in the actual development and operations of those applications so long as they perform up to expectations.

What they don’t understand, however, is that the ‘function’ of developing an application is significantly different from the ‘function’ of managing its operations. And without investment on both sides of the application process, there’s almost no way for that application to achieve its intended goals.

AppDev vs. DevOps: Here’s the Difference

Even though both roles have the syllable ‘dev’ in them, the actual work of each software professional differs significantly from the other:

AppDev Functions

AppDev professionals do what their title suggests: they develop the software that becomes the app that provides the desired function.

Their primary work is the design and build of the application code.

They chose from the many programming languages and platforms available to get the right ‘fit’ for the software and its integration into the system’s architecture and configuration.

They also explore the overarching system to ensure that the app’s features are those that users will appreciate. This task can be especially tricky, depending on the target users:

  • Technical users – the in-house staff that will use the app to complete their occupational duties – require functions to help them meet those goals.
  • Programming for the general public can be much more challenging because that population is larger, and many more variables need addressing for the app to function correctly.

Not insignificantly, they also program to accommodate the rules and regulations of their industries. Some examples:

  • Public-facing apps must also comply with internet safety and security rules.
  • Financial apps must comply with the many national and international privacy codes.
  • Health and safety apps must be comprehensive of healthcare standards in addition to encompassing the privacy and security concerns.

A well-thought-out design and development phase should smooth the implementation and operationalization stage and have fewer glitches.

DevOps Functions

DevOps professionals also do what their title suggests, although their work is more extensive than that of the developer: they manage the application’s function to ensure it keeps working correctly. They also oversee the spheres in which the application works, and there are many of these:

  • They ensure that the application continues to provide its intended service and that it maintains its contributions to the overarching system into which it is embedded.
  • They monitor its metrics as indicators of overall system functioning. A water flow app, for example, may start showing reduced pressure or volume, which can signal a problem elsewhere in the configuration.
  • They also oversee its maintenance in the larger digital ecosphere. Many applications are subject to industry regulations, and when those rules change, the app and its related systems must change, too.
  • And as the demand for digital automation continues to grow in popularity, the demand for skilled DevOps professionals will grow, too: it’s their job to configure and maintain the automation features.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for the DevOps professional is maintaining consistent attention to all the metrics that can impact app functions. Security, governance, process, and optimization oversight efforts are time-consuming but necessary to keep the app – and its company – functioning at the peak of its capacity.

A True and Necessary Partnership

The optimal configuration for any application development endeavor is to include both AppDev and DevOps professionals from the beginning of the project. As a partnership, they can design, build, architect, and deploy a proprietary application faster and with better implementation results than they can as separate entities. Bringing both skillsets to the beginning of the project means that both application assets and challenges are explored as the work moves forward. The final iteration will include all the elements of the app’s expected lifecycle so its deployment can move forward as quickly as possible.

Define the Purpose:

In conjunction with the C-Suite, the two IT professionals can help define the purpose of the app and its scope of impact on the corporation’s digital infrastructure.

Design the Software

Together, they can also initiate the ‘design’ process, with AppDev choosing its optimal programming language(s) and platforms and DevOps applying the security, governance, and regulations elements within those parameters.

Develop the Features

The development process consists of a series of ‘sprints,’ where the development team – AppDev and DevOps specialists – tests and hones the capacities of individual app features, then releases those into a testing environment to see what they do. Corrections are made as needed.

Deploy and Integrate the Application

The app can be deployed into the production environment when all the elements function as intended, and all overarching requirements are met. Full deployment is complete when the app is fully operational across the entire organization, performing as expected and without adverse impact on any other infrastructure element.

Operate the Application

Both development and operations professionals are critical members of the AppDev/DevOps process, with the programming and platform know-how of the one implementing the functionality and administrative oversight efforts of the other.

Monitor the Application

Once the app is fully integrated and functioning well, monitoring its activities is necessary to ensure its continuing contribution to corporate success. There are as many ways for an app to fail as there are users and processes impacting their capacities. In some cases, programming errors can corrupt the software. In other cases, third-party apps, unintended access, or malicious inputs can derail the app’s performance. When these events occur, the AppDev and DevOps partnership can, again, work in tandem to solve the problems and get the service back online.

Companies with investments in AppDev resources but not DevOps resources are risking time and financial losses because they lack the resources they need to deploy and track the full performance of their digital services. Datavail’s AppDev and DevOps professionals can fill in blanks and add oversight to application development and operations, usually at less cost than available if those activities were developed in-house.

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