Why your software application architecture needs to adapt to take advantage of the latest innovations today—and how do you get there?
Times have changed. How and when people get their news, their entertainment, and their products and services has also changed. The days of driving to the mall to buy goods are quickly giving way to grabbing a smartphone and opening the Amazon app. This trend may not be news to you, but the scale of the change continues to grow. Based on Statista’s statistics, last year there were roughly 224 million smartphone users in the US alone, and over 2 billion worldwide. With the smartphone now dominant, consumerism has evolved and the populace is, more than ever, driven by immediacy.
Millennials and every generation after them will continue to push for faster digital results and more options. They have already proven time and time again that their buying decisions and habits can make or break longstanding corporations. In recent years publications like Forbes magazine and Inc. have written extensively on the industries and sectors that millennials are slowing killing off. Brick and mortar stores of all stripes are closing, shopping malls are going dark and chain restaurants like Applebee’s are shuttering. Millennials are change agents and they know it.
Never lose sight of the painful truth: the customer calls the shots. You may own and run the business but if the customer won’t engage, then it’s lights out. The customer-led model is a key contributor to why so many enterprises around the world have either gone through a digital transformation or are looking to do so. In an article for Forrester, “Microservices And External APIs Underpin Digital Business,” Randy Heffer points out the growing number of enterprises hopping on the microservices and API train. Randy writes “Digital transformation is the talk of the town: 71% of firms were undergoing one or had completed one in the past 12 months. Organizations with a priority to change their business model are twice as likely to be investing in microservices and external APIs.”
What’s driving all this change? What’s the reason for the uncomfortable conversations between the CIO and CFO? Remember the 224 million (and growing) smartphone users I mentioned earlier? Blame them, it’s their fault.
In Ketan Parmar’s article, “Monolithic vs Microservice Architecture,” he writes, “Now is a time for mobile first, every enterprise is looking to develop a mobile application before web. To develop a mobile application, enterprises need to expose data using API (REST or SOAP) because legacy data exchange format is not compatible with mobile application. With increasing demand of mobile application, enterprises are forced to change back-end architecture. This is the prime force behind migrating monolithic architecture to microservice architecture.”
A growing number of developers are using APIs to allow software programs to communicate with each other. To that end, the REST API has become the preferred API for many developers for several reasons. The REST API uses less bandwidth, which makes it better for use with the internet. Plus, REST interactions use constructs that are familiar to developers versed in HTTP. REST APIs are becoming increasingly popular and can be found in some of the world’s most visited sites like Google and Amazon.
In the world of computing, we’ve come a long way in a relatively short amount of time. For many years, monolithic architecture was the go-to application development pattern used to create applications that run on desktop computers. This single codebase approach allowed for easy development as most, if not all, developers were familiar with the architecture. Applications built using this architectural style were easy to deploy and test since all the code was stored in one database which could be shared across the development pipeline. Today both business and technology executives must allow their applications to extend more value by digitally connecting capabilities, assets, processes and resources inside and outside of their organizations.
Unlike the all in one monolithic model, a microservices architecture is a group of multiple loosely connected services. This loose structure allows developers greater access to improve, repair and replace components as needed. The code for each microservice is housed in an isolated archive where it runs its own memory space and operates independently. Scalability of a single component is possible. The use of multiple programming languages is feasible. Various frameworks and technologies can be used within a single service.
The consumer has changed. Their needs have surpassed what yesterday’s technology can offer. To successfully provide them with the services and goods they demand, your applications need to be on 24/7, your database needs to be performant and your applications need to scale quickly and provide the highest level of security possible.
Data is king! Data connectivity, collection and dissemination are the cornerstones of any successful business. Giving consumers product and/or service data, while extracting insight (data) into consumers’ buying habits and product preferences, allow businesses to develop and tailor their offerings to meet the consumer’s need. As more and more smartphones proliferate the digital marketplace, collecting and managing an ever-growing deluge of consumer data becomes a never-ending challenge.
Forward thinking business leaders understand change and want to propel their entities into the digital transformation light. In an article by Clint Boulton, senior writer for “CIO,” he inserts a quote from George Westerman: “At a high level, digital transformation represents a radical rethinking of how an enterprise uses technology to radically change performance... Digital transformation, which must start with the CEO, requires cross-departmental collaboration in pairing business-focused philosophies with rapid application development models.”
Consider this additional quote from Randy Heffer’s aforementioned article: “Place APIs and microservices as foundational investments. Integration requires more than APIs, and agile apps require more than microservices, but both APIs and microservices have broad-based, pervasive applicability to a wide range of business and technical scenarios. Thus, both deserve a foundational place in one's architecture strategy to foster business agility.”
It’s clear that monolithic architectures, built in a different era, will struggle to keep up with the pace of change demanded by today’s users. Adding a modern application server like the Progress Application Server (PAS) for OpenEdge is the first step towards decoupling your business logic from your application to transition to an agile microservices approach.
PAS for OpenEdge is a highly scalable, secure and performant application server, built on the standards of Apache Tomcat, and designed for cloud deployment. It allows application developers to break up the monolith, and leverage the existing ABL codebase to provide new functionality, technology and mobile experiences, as well as extend APIs in order to answer the complex business needs that modern app users are demanding.
Progress technologies, such as PAS for OpenEdge 11.7, are designed to help evolve your OpenEdge applications by easing the path to breaking up the monolith, providing powerful and industry leading security to protect critical data, and facilitating the extension of microservices and APIs to allow optimal organizational efficiency and agility. Progress has built a rock-solid reputation as an innovative software development company which customers have come to rely upon for groundbreaking yet affordable solutions such as OpenEdge 11.7, that allow you to build, scale, evolve and safeguard mission-critical business applications.
You can learn more about the Progress Application Server for OpenEdge in this datasheet, or at the link below:
Barbara Ware is Sr. Product Marketing Manager, responsible for positioning and messaging OpenEdge and OpenEdge Professional Services. She has 19+ years of experience in technology marketing leadership, strategy, content, communications and lead generation activities. You can find her on LinkedIn or on Twitter at @barbara_ware.
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