API-Based SaaS: The Next Generation of Internet-Based Software

April 28, 2016

In Ed Shelley’s excellent blog article, The Rise of API-Based SaaS, he clearly articulates how developers will use API-Based SaaS to create the next generation of internet based software.

This new breed of software platform, characterized by the absence of a user interface (UI) or having a user interface that is secondary to the core product, is fueling a new wave of custom SaaS applications.  In essence, new SaaS applications can exist as  serverless applications that are hosted as static websites.  These serverless apps can be hosted wherever the developer wants to put them.  Customized user experiences are now completely possible as “stand-alone” SaaS applications that call out to various API-based SaaS applications for core functionality.  Custom UI is a core benefit, but additional benefits come from the speed of cloud-based deployments and not having to manage infrastructure or code (other than your own).

Another implication of this modern architecture is that it promotes a “mash-up” or best-of-breed approach.  This is particularly relevant given that Gartner Group reports that “by 2018, more than 50% of commerce sites will integrate technologies from more than 15 vendors to deliver a digital customer experience.”  In order to facilitate these mash-ups, some API-Based SaaS providers are developing comprehensive “Dev Centers” where developers can access rapid development tools, access API documentation and SDK’s, and take advantage of component libraries for UI functionality and ready-made integrations.  All these tools are designed to allow developers to rapidly prototype apps and as Shelley calls it, get to their “Aha moment” as quickly and with as little interference as possible.

As the market for B2B commerce evolves, old application architectures will phase out and new best-of-breed apps will come to the forefront using API-Based SaaS as a foundation.

It’s time for the delivery of custom user experiences with the best of SaaS built in.