In a rapidly changing business landscape, only businesses that adapt quickly to market changes can survive and remain competitive. Although traditional monolithic applications were the backbone of businesses in the past, their limitations in adaptability and scalability hinder the ability of companies to thrive in dynamic environments. A new solution known as composable applications emerged to combat the shortcomings of monolithic applications.
This article discusses composable applications and their power to revolutionize building and deploying software. By understanding their key characteristics and features, we discuss how composable applications help businesses streamline processes and facilitate growth and innovation.
What are composable applications?
Composable applications are software applications built using modular and highly flexible architecture. This involves assembling independent, loosely-coupled components or services to create complex applications. These components, which Gartner referred to as Packaged Business Capabilities(PBC), perform specific functions and can easily be added or removed without the need to take down the entire application.
Unlike composable architectures, monolithic architectures rely on tightly coupled codebases, bundling all functionalities together, limiting flexibility and scalability. These tightly coupled components make scaling especially difficult in monolithic architectures, as extensive modifications are often required to make changes or introduce new features.
Composable architecture tackles the problems that monolithic architectures pose as its reusable components enable agile development and the ability to scale to meet business demands.
Key characteristics and features of composable applications
Composable applications are changing how we design and develop software systems. By breaking down complex applications into modular, independent components, composable applications help us optimize flexibility and agility. This section explores some key characteristics defining composable applications, delving into principles like modularity, reusability, and interoperability.
Modularity is the concept of breaking down complex systems into smaller, self-contained units known as modules. These modules represent specific functionalities and are developed, tested, and deployed independently, making it easier to manage complex systems made up of these modules.
This feature makes it easier for organizations to update, delete, and replace components without dismantling the entire system.
By designing independent components that perform specific tasks and functions, developers can build a library of these modular, reusable components that integrate with other parts of the application or entirely different applications.
Reusability allows developers to leverage existing modular components, reducing developers’ time and effort while improving code consistency and quality.
Interoperability is the ability of different independent modules or components to work and communicate seamlessly with each other.
Composable systems are built around APIs, as APIs define the interfaces and protocols in which modules can interact, simplifying data exchange and emphasizing loose coupling between these modules.
Interoperability plays a crucial role in composable applications as it enables seamless interactions between different modules and facilitates the integration of modules regardless of their source. With interoperability, modules can work well together without requiring significant changes to the underlying architecture.
Composable applications support horizontal scalability as it allows components to be scaled up or down to handle increased or decreased demand without needing to scale the entire application.
Accelerating business processes with composable applications
This section explores the benefits of composable applications and how they revolutionize business processes across industries.
- Rapid Application Development
Composable applications allow developers to speed up the development process by leveraging reusable modules that have been developed and tested independently.
Instead of building applications from scratch, composable applications allow developers to quickly create new applications or extend the functionalities of existing applications by using pre-built modules and components.
These reusable components accelerate business processes and reduce the time-to-market, directly impacting revenue as it enables organizations to handle more business transactions within the same timeframe.
- Process Automation
Due to their modular design, composable applications empower the development, deployment, and upgrading of modules multiple times within a single day. By integrating their composable application with various automation tools and technologies, organizations can easily automate processes, removing the need for manual and repetitive tasks.
Since interoperability is a key feature of composable applications, you can seamlessly integrate applications with the tools available within your Internal Developer Platform. This allows you to extend the capabilities of the IDP, even overcoming the classic ‘build vs. buy’ dilemma as you can decide which applications to build and which to buy.
Ultimately, organizations can achieve better governance with composable applications by automating these processes.
- Scalability, Flexibility, and Performance
Composable applications are independent components that give organizations the flexibility to scale up or down particular components based on market demands.
Composable applications allow us to add or remove new features to handle increased workloads without affecting the overall system or performance. Their flexibility ensures optimal performance and responsiveness regardless of the spikes in traffic an organization might be experiencing.
- Better integration of third-party services
As discussed in the sections above, composable applications can integrate seamlessly with third-party systems, platforms, and processes by leveraging their modular components and robust APIs. The inherent interoperability of composable applications allows us to pick and choose what functions to integrate with an application without building custom solutions from scratch.
By leveraging existing services and data sources, composable applications accelerate business workflows and facilitate organizational innovation.
- Iterative Improvement and Experimentation
The modularity of composable applications allows organizations to focus on improving specific components iteratively without disrupting the entire application.
Composable applications allow us to experiment with these components and try different configurations, approaches, and functionalities. The insights gained from this experimentation enable organizations to validate concepts, measure the impact of these concepts on business outcomes, and, more importantly, refine their applications. This iterative process allows organizations to learn quickly and constantly improve their products to meet the market or customer demands.
Composable applications present a transformative approach to software creation by breaking down complex applications into independent components. This approach promotes modularity, reusability, and interoperability of existing assets, and helps improve the governance of the produced software.
Embracing composable applications empowers businesses to accelerate processes, drive innovation, and adapt to market demands. Their numerous benefits put them at the forefront of revolutionizing how organizations design, develop, and optimize software systems.
Composable applications are one of the first steps for implementing composability in an organization and beginning the journey toward the Composable Enterprise paradigm. To learn more about this topic, check out this white paper on Composable Enterprise: Why composability is the future.