Composable architecture, increasingly focused on modular tech stacks, is about building websites and apps from small, independent parts that are more adaptable to rapid market changes that you can combine via APIs to form a complete system. You can select the products that best suit your needs and easily integrate them with other products to build a stack. Gone are the days of monolithic systems that are difficult to maintain and scale.
Benefits of composable architecture
Composable architecture is based on the principle of API-first, ensuring that applications in the stack work with other APIs regardless of the programming language or platform they are written in. Not only the APIs are language agnostic, but if used correctly, they can be used to build a complete stack of products that work together seamlessly. While some APIs are client side, the ones that are server side only can be encapsulated into serverless functions that are part of aforementioned modern frameworks.
API-first ensures that services are loosely coupled, offering increased agility and scalability, crucial for rapid feature implementation, which makes them easier to maintain and scale. If you need to change the implementation of a service, you can do it without affecting the rest of the stack. If you need to scale a service, you can do it independently of the rest of the stack. If you need to replace a service, you can do it without affecting the rest of the stack.
API-first also means that developers do not have to learn a new language or the quirks of a new framework, and their language is universal as long as they know how to use the APIs. This makes it easier to hire developers and to onboard new developers.
Lastly API-first means that a service can be used by multiple applications, whether web app, phone app and it makes it easier to share and reuse code. This is true for ecommerce in particular, where you can use the same API to power your ecommerce website, your mobile app and some kiosk that you have in a physical store.
Composable vs. monoliths
Composable architecture, predicted to outpace monolithic systems in feature implementation speed by a significant margin, offers clear advantages like plug-and-play, API-first, and independent development. The main advantage is that it allows you to build a complete stack of products that work together seamlessly. This is in contrast to monolithic architecture, which is based on the idea of building a complete stack of products from a single codebase. This approach is not only more difficult to implement, but it also makes it difficult to integrate with other products.
Jamstack as the foundation
Jamstack, foundational to modern web development, aligns with the broader concept of composable architecture we still believe in statically generating certain pages and assets deployed on a CDN, and build upon that foundation with headless, APIs and other microservices.
Only the best technology
Composable architecture allows you to select the products that best suit your needs and easily integrate them with other products to build your stack. That way the focus is placed on the best technology for the job, not on the technology that is available from one vendor alone. Want to implement search for your website? You could use Algolia or Elasticsearch or even implement your own fast and typo-tolerant client side via Lunr or Lyra for free. This is the beauty of it, you can "compose" your stack with the best technology.
Vendor lock-in is a thing of the past
With composable architecture, reducing vendor lock-in and fostering independent implementation of stack components, and if somehow your first choice isn't working out, you can easily switch to another, and only that little piece of the whole stack will have to be partially rewritten.
Rapid Development and Market Adaptation
The need for rapid delivery of new experiences and market adaptation drives businesses toward composable architecture. Gartner predicted that organizations using this approach would significantly outpace competition in implementing new features, underlining its importance in digital transformation strategies.
Composable architecture allows you to implement different parts of the stack independently of each other. Adding new features to a monolithic app involves modifying the codebase, which is a tedious and error-prone process. With composable architecture, you can implement new features in isolation, and only when you are ready, you can integrate them with the rest of the stack.
Composable architecture, enhancing system reliability through its modular structure, allows for independent scaling of different stack components of each other. If you need to scale your website or app, you can do it independently of your serverless functions or the rest of the stack. The same goes for the third party APIs from different vendors; they will, at least in theory (or they may go out of business), scale independently and accommodate your usage. So if your ecommerce is hitting a spike this week, your vendor should accommodate and automatically scale your usage but that doesn't mean your search should go up if search usage remains constant.
We're Composable Architecture experts
Monogram, staying abreast of evolving web development frameworks and the increasing importance of AI and machine learning in digital transformations, has helped clients architect and implement advanced composable solutions. We have experience with different frameworks and cloud platforms, and we can help you build a composable architecture that works for you. Birchbox, GoHealth and GossRV are a few great examples of successful transformation from monolithic to composable architecture.