The 12-factor App Methodology is a guideline for creating portable, robust, and scalable SaaS apps. Businesses can create apps that provide a positive user experience by using virtual environments to increase availability. These 12 factors can be applied to your SaaS business. Learn how they work and what you need to do.
The global SaaS industry is estimated to have a value of 195.1 million by 2023. This growth has been more than 61% over the past three years.
Many founders are now coming up with new SaaS business concepts or tweaking existing ones to reflect this shift. But, coming up with a SaaS idea and starting your SaaS company are two completely different things.
Your SaaS development team must understand the 12-factor app methodology. Otherwise, it will be difficult to build a successful SaaS company.
The 12-factor App method is the best product design technique to use to create a SaaS model.
These 12 factors are important and can they impact a SaaS company? This blog will answer all your questions. Let’s dive deep into it.
What is the 12-Factor App Methodology (or 12-Factor App Methodology)?
The 12-factor app methodology, also known as the 12-factor microservice design principle or the 12-factor principles microservices, is a set of 12 principles that can be used to build reliable and resilient SaaS apps.
Here are the 12 factors that go into building SaaS apps:
Heroku developers created the Twelve-factor app method in 2012 to build scalable SaaS applications. This rule book was created by programmers with the following goals:
- Software erosion can be avoided by taking precautions
- Controlling the organic growth dynamics of an app over time
- To improve collaboration among developers working on the same codebase for an app
- To raise awareness about the systemic issues that modern app development causes
These principles can be used by every SaaS-driven business to improve processes and workflow.
Why should we use the 12-factor App Methodology?
The most popular reason to use the 12-factor microservice principles for app development is that it can greatly enhance the process and reduce costs. These are just a few reasons to use this approach.
- These 12-factor principles allow you to create code that is easy to release, scale quickly, and maintain consistently.
- Enterprises can use 12-factor microservice principles to create applications that use a declarative format to set up automation. This reduces the time and costs for new developers.
- This 12-factor approach will help you create apps that can be quickly deployed on modern cloud platforms without the need to manage servers or system administration.
- You can quickly create microservices applications using the 12-factor principles of microservices. This is possible without making significant changes to your architecture, technology stack, or development practices.
Understanding the Principles of the 12-Factor App Methodology for Mobile App Development
Twelve principles are the basis of the Twelve-Factor App method. They serve as a foundation for building and deploying SaaS apps. These are:
One Code Repository that is unifying and single for many deployments
First, every application’s source code must be kept in one repository. It is recommended that you keep all code fragments in Github starting early.
Developers maintain the individual code blocks on their system. However, they can be deployed to different environments such as live production and testing servers.
Declare and isolate dependents explicitly
This principle states that the app must explicitly state all dependencies and the correct versions.
Twelve-Factor Applications do not depend on system-wide packages’ implicit existence. They declare all dependencies using a dependency declaration manifestation. It also uses a dependency isolation tool to make sure that there are no implicit dependencies within the system.
If you are using Python, for example, use Pip to declare and VirtualENV to isolate. No matter which tool or tech stack you are using, dependency declaration must be used in conjunction with isolation to meet the 12-Factor App Principles.
A simplified setup for new app developers is one of the 12 Factor App’s benefits. Installing the dependency manager and language runtime on their computers will allow them to check the codebase of the app.
Config in the Environment
The 12 Factor is violated when an app’s configuration changes between deployments. It is important to note that “config” does not refer to the app’s internal configuration, which doesn’t change between deployments. Code is the best storage option.
If the code contains passwords or other sensitive information, security is compromised. Anyone with access to the code could easily hack into the code. The configuration data must be stored somewhere else so that it can be accessed by application code during runtime.
4. Backing Services
Consider Backing Services to be Attached Resources
Backing Services is any service that an app uses over the internet to perform its normal operations. These services can be managed locally or by third parties.
Datastores such as MySQL, Memcached, or binary asset services such as Amazon S3 are all examples. Apps that comply with the 12 Factor methodology do not distinguish between these services. They treat all attached resources as if they were accessed via URLs or other credentials stored. According to the 12 Factor rule, if the service’s location or connection details change, the code shouldn’t need to be modified. These details should be in the configuration data.
These services can be quickly attached to or removed from deployments. Let’s say that an app’s database has stopped working because of some issue. The developer should be able, without code modifications, to create a new server database from a backup.
5. You can build, release, and run separately
Three essential stages in the Software Development Life Cycle are built, released, and run. These stages are described below.
- Build: This converts the code repository into an executable bundle code that can be used to build and fetch vendor dependencies.
- Release This stage takes the build and merges it with the current configuration of deployment. This stage allows us to have the build and configuration ready for execution.
- Run This stage runs the app within an execution environment.
To avoid code breakages or other risks, the Twelve-Factor App rule states that build, release, as well as run stages, should be kept separate. Modern tools make it easy to separate the build, release, and run stages of your app.
Execution environments are a collection of processes that allow an app to be executed. Twelve-Factor processes operate independently, are stateless, and share nothing. Any data required time must be saved in a stateful backup service. The 12 Factor Application believes that any data stored in a cache will not be required for future requests. This principle is designed to increase the system’s stability and scalability, without affecting the application itself.
Export Services via Port-binding
A Twelve-Factor app is a standalone service that doesn’t need runtime injection by a web server to provide a web-facing service. This means that web apps that comply with Twelve-Factor principles are self-contained. They don’t need any existing or running app servers to execute. By binding to a port, the web application can export HTTP as a service and listen to incoming requests.
Scale out by the Process Model
This principle, known as the 12 Factor, is about scaling an application. It says that you should make more copies of the app than make it larger. This principle supports horizontal scaling instead of vertical scaling. Developers can use this 12-Factor rule to design apps that handle different workloads. Each type of work is assigned to a specific process type. This model is very useful when scaling an app.
The 12 Factor App processes are self-contained and horizontally scalable, so adding concurrency is an easy and reliable option.
Maximize Robustness through Fast Startups and Graceful Shutdowns.
The 12-Factor App Methodology Principle maximizes the app’s resilience with a fast startup and graceful shutdown. This principle states that the app’s processes can be discarded, which implies:
- They can end or start at any moment
- Protect against app crashes or sudden failure
- Can be shut down gracefully
This gives the app many benefits, including rapid deployment of code and elastic scaling, greater agility during the release process, robust production deployments, and more agile code generation.
10. Dev/Prod Parity – Keep Development, Staging, and Production as similar as possible
According to the Twelve-Factor App Methodology, an app’s development, production, and staging environment should all be identical for everyone to understand it and make it available. Continuous deployment is possible when an app meets the 12 Factors.
- The Time Gap Developers can either write and deploy code in hours or a few minutes.
- The Human Resources Gap: Developers and owners of the code should closely participate in its deployment.
- The Tool Gap It is important that the tools used in development and production environments be as close as possible.
This reduces the chance of bugs in a particular environment and simplifies the process.
11. Logs: Logs are Event Streams
Logs should be viewed as event streams according to the rule. Logging is essential for monitoring the behavior of your app. These logs should not be managed by 12-Factor apps. It should instead treat log entries like event streams that are routed to another service for analysis or archival. App logs will be created as standard outputs. However, the execution environment will handle its storage, capture, and archive. This system allows for greater flexibility and power to analyze the app’s behavior over time.
12. Admin Processes – Run administrative/management tasks as a one-off process
This rule does not apply to the development of services. It is about how you manage your application. This principle states that apps should perform administration or management tasks in the same environment as their regular and long-running processes. It also suggests that you use the built-in tool of the execution environment to run these scripts on the production server.
12-Factor App Methodology Offer for Business Benefits
A 12-Factor methodology is a tool that developers use to create resilient web apps through continuous delivery. However, it also has many business benefits.
Web apps that follow the 12-Factor methodology can grow and shrink according to their needs. These apps can scale up when there is high traffic, and down when there is less traffic. This saves infrastructure costs. Scaling the SaaS app requires no significant changes to the 12-factor architecture.
The Twelve-Factor App was designed to help you create modern, containerized cloud environments. Each component can be customized to allow for cloud deployment flexibility and create a standard for third-party developers.
3. Information Security
According to the 12 Factor Methodology, your credentials and confidential information should not be stored in the code repository but in the application’s context. This provides security and enforces segregation.
Who uses the 12-Factor App Methodology?
The 12 Factor methodology, which is a set of guidelines for building SaaS apps, has been adopted by many companies such as Amazon, Heroku, and Microsoft. Many popular frameworks, such as Spring Boot and Magento, also include 12 Factors in their design.
These principles allow you to design and maintain a strong and modern application architecture for cloud-based applications, which will ensure the timely release and fix of new features. Software developers are working on:
- Software-as-a-service solutions
- Cloud Applications
- Software solutions distributed
To ensure maximum automation and agility, follow the 12-factor app methodology principles. This will minimize the divergence between deployment and development.
What’s more than 12-Factor App Methodology
Although the twelve principles listed above are strong guidelines for SaaS app development, there’s more to it than just the 12-Factor App method.
1. App Security is of utmost importance
When you begin writing code for your app in an enterprise ecosystem, it is important to address all security aspects. To ensure Data Security in your app, you should use TLS (Transport Layer Security) to protect data in transit. You can also use API keys to authenticate and authorize. Security is a broad topic. However, you must be aware of everything (such as operating systems, firewalls, and database security) to create a secure microservice.
2. API First Approach
You can create a system that is flexible enough to scale up and adapt to changing demands and loads by embracing the principle of all apps being backing services. You are creating an API that can be used by clients’ apps and services. You can create scalable, independent, and robust enterprise applications using the SaaS platform by following all of the above-mentioned best practices or principles.
Looking for 12-Factor App Methodology for Mobile App Development?
12-Factor App methodology provides a set of principles that guide the development, deployment, and maintenance of modern, scalable, and portable applications. By adopting these principles, companies can improve their application’s reliability, scalability, and maintainability, while also enabling better collaboration and faster delivery of features.
iTechnolabs provides some of the key benefits of implementing the 12-Factor App Methodology including improved application portability, easier scalability, better development and production parity, and enhanced resilience to failures. Moreover, the methodology promotes a strong separation of concerns between different parts of the application, which can make it easier to maintain and evolve the codebase over time.