Cloud-first alignment

Cloud-first basically is a business strategy for assessing IT investments. It simply means that for every new feature to be added to an existing or new application, it is first evaluated if it is possible to develop the feature as a web or mobile solution. Only if this is impossible, the feature is added to the desktop application.

Existing desktop applications in turn are evaluated regarding if and how they can be moved to the cloud for avoiding the increasingly complex IT infrastructure setup and maintenance.

Since Alaska Software is all about protecting investments into existing source code, we want to make it clear that cloud-first does not mean that we are abandoning the desktop or server. Instead, we are working on technologies for supplementing your existing desktop applications with cloud technologies, and for being able to deliver your UI experience over the internet.


Our vision from a development tool perspective is that any Xbase++, Clipper or Visual FoxPro developer should be able to publish an Xbase++ application to the cloud simply with a push of a button, and that customers can use this new application either via the web browser, a mobile device or via a public API. Additional application features, such as error and performance monitoring or log analysis, should be accessible at a central location. In fact, any Xbase++, Clipper or Visual FoxPro developer should be able to adapt the SaaS or BaaS business model with a minimum effort and this way create new streams of revenue based on existing knowledge and source code.


The benefits of a cloud-first strategy from a business perspective are:

  • Lower operational costs for your IT.
  • The possibility to use an Android tablet or an iPad as a POS device.
  • Lower investments since less hardware is on-site.
  • End users may bring their own devices and use them for business purposes (BYOD).
  • In general, simplified integration with business partners (stock, orders, processes).
  • Business continuity, security and data protection*) are managed by the cloud provider leading to a significantly higher quality.
  • Increased collaboration efficiency, because everything is available from anywhere.
  • Better overall cost transparency while gaining full scaleability (up and down) for your business.

From a developer's perspective as well as a deployment-oriented view, the benefits are the following:

  • Gain of agility in your organization, since application deployment is highly automated with less overhead. Time to user is almost zero.
  • No more frustration due to infrastructure requirements not being fulfilled.
  • Clear rules: where to deploy what, when and how.
  • Centralized monitoring and logging makes issue analysis more efficient and increases help desk performance.
  • Global-scale applications are possible even by a single developer and his or her laptop. Start small, end up big.

*) Typically achieved via a hybrid cloud approach, meaning all your sensitive data/application logic still is/runs in-house/on-site while other parts run in the cloud.


Of course, this is no perfect world. Consequently, cloud-first also implies some of risks. Risks which fortunately can be resolved or avoided. The risks are:

  • Security and data protection.
  • Location of data.
  • Cloud provider lock-in. Moving out can become expensive.
  • Loss of data.
  • Legislation and regulation.

Xbase++web/mobile/cloud application scenarios

To give you an idea about the different types and areas of application scenarios in the context of a cloud-first strategy, we have listet a couple of existing or fictitious applications. All of them have in common that either some or all components of the application are deployed in the cloud (public/private/hybrid) and perform some type of real-time data exchange via the internet. The latter topic is important, because where in the past batch-oriented data exchange was sufficient, today's applications require real-time data correctness.

For example, in the past it was acceptable that stock information was exchanged with the online shop via batch jobs running each hour. Today, however, users expect correct availability information which they can rely on. Therefore, an online shop needs to have access to the stock situation in real-time without any delay. The same is true for the accounting information and cash register data of the different stores in a chain.


Dynamic Web Content

  • Foto gallery
  • News feed
  • Booking schedule/assignment plan
  • Digital signage
  • Project progress report

Small Web Application

  • Self-service HR vacation management, employees enter vacation request, manager confirms or rejects on mobile device
  • Public event calendar with API connection to your back office calendar
  • Restaurant reservation solution
  • Public local community notification system (street lamp defects, uncollected garbage)
  • Asset tracking for managing maintenance, identify stakeholders and provide details about leases, safety procedures and training material
  • Self-service workshop service appointment, self-service test drive booking systems
  • Conference room allocation with digital signage display as room sign

Larger Web Application

  • Branch-specific POS solution on Android devices with desktop-based back office solution
  • Food ordering system for a delivery service
  • HR recruitment tracking with online web portal for candidates
  • Back office solution for stores/chains with multiple locations
  • Property management solution with online ticket system for tenants and owners

Public API

  • Direct order placement by your partners via connected applications
  • Stock management and planning for multiple facilities
  • Real-time price information for products with volatile pricing
  • Sensor/machinery data collection end point for maintenance prediction

Progressive Web Application for iOS/Android

  • Mobile POS in restaurants
  • Online restaurant order system
  • Patient record management in health care
  • Craftsman's time and material tracking, sends data to back office for semi-automated invoicing

Mobile Application native to iOS and Android

  • Mobile device to assist in warehouse operations (commissioning)
  • Mobile HR vacation approval application
  • Mobile incident documentation for insurance customer
  • Mobile expense tracking for business trips
FREE 30-day trial

Why wait? Try out Xbase++ internet technologies today. You have full technical support during this period.

Free Xbase++ trial