How Composable Architecture Supports Software for a Global Market

ISVs can solve many business challenges. However, adapting solutions for users with different languages, processes, and compliance requirements across a global market takes a well-planned strategy, from design and development to delivery.

Chris Bach, co-founder, Chief Strategy and Creative Officer of Netlify, says, “Enterprises traditionally bet on large single providers of monolithic solutions. However, more can be done digitally today, and the number of digital tools and solutions has exploded. Today, monoliths have to cover tremendous ground, ending up being best-in-class in nothing, and come with considerable overhead.”

He adds that according to a report commissioned by MACH Alliance, organizations want environments that utilize cloud-native, composable and ‘best-of-breed’ technologies, with 79 percent expressing strong interest in increasing these elements in their architecture.

“Composable architecture, otherwise called MACHicture or Jamstack, is an approach where you separate your needs from the business logic and data from the web experience layer and split your backend into APIs and microservices,” Bach explains. “This allows choice for things like content management, commerce, search and web frameworks, which therefore frees enterprises from lock-in, and allows them to add and change modules.”

He adds that this approach creates the need for a developer orchestration layer, “But generally with this architecture, the results are that both performance and security are easier to come by and time to market is reduced drastically from years to months. In short, investing in your developer workflows is a primary way of addressing a primary business concern: reducing time to market.”

The Benefits of Composable Architecture for Software for a Global Market

Bach says, overall, much remains the same whether you are developing software for a specific region or users worldwide. “However, with an international audience, you’ll need to ensure that you’re globally performant, and you’ll often need to have multiple versions of the same properties to fit local requirements, languages, etc. This requires more of how you distribute your software, keep it current, functionality around language variations, and the like. For the web, Jamstack architecture is great for any developers serving both regional and global markets, as it enables you to deploy globally by default.”  He adds that developers “should optimize for turning operations into code,” allowing DevOps resources to develop the APIs and microservices that enterprises need.

“A benefit of working with composable architecture,” he says, “is that it enables you to release early and often. Maintaining staging environments is no longer needed, nor is maintaining other legacy practices. Instead, deploy to Git and get a URL in return. When supported with platform solutions, things like edge infrastructure that used to require heavy infrastructure engineering now go from operations you had to maintain to code in a repo that even your web developers can build for. The same goes for serverless functions, where developers can just push to Git, then it’s automatically deployed. This also enables immediate rollbacks.”

Necessary Skills for Team Members

Bach comments, “When it comes to web development, things have changed greatly in the last seven years. Frontend developers previously cut out Photoshop files and sent them for implementation. Now, they are doing advanced web applications. In essence, web development has become software development. This means there is more to becoming a full-fledged developer, but on the other hand, there is so much fantastic tooling available.”

Bach advises developers to “think more like architects and make decisions with scale in mind.”

He adds, “With so many digital touchpoints – web, mobile, VR, and more – UI developers have more to consider, even more so when catering to a global audience.  When developing software for a global audience, how will you handle translations at scale within the UI? What’s the most efficient way to plug and play different payment processors based on region?”

According to Bach, one of the reasons teams shift to composable architectures for their SaaS applications is because they can create modular web interfaces. “They can make a change in one place and have it update automatically elsewhere. Therefore, developers don’t need to make changes in many places every time they need to support a new language, add a new processor, or add a SaaS integration for specific regions, like a GDPR disclaimer,” he explains.

“With Jamstack, UI developers can be more focused on the skills they already have using HTML, CSS, or JavaScript. Then, they can select the right frameworks, whether React, Vue, Next.js, etc., and have more control over coding for the experience they want to deliver versus working within the strict constraints of a monolithic system,” he says.

“In a legacy world, you build a new monolith, port all the data, and flip the switch. This procedure often takes so long that your new tech stack is dated once you go live,” Bach says. “A major benefit of composable architecture is that you can migrate gradually. You can start using a new CMS or commerce tool while still having your old monolith running and catering to some of your sites. By using a platform with an edge runtime, you can do redirects that have no performance overhead as you start moving to your new stack.”

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