Introduction to Composable Applications
Composable Applications are software systems designed to be modular and interoperable, allowing them to be easily combined or composed with other applications to create new functionality. This approach to software design promotes flexibility and reuse, allowing developers to build applications by combining and configuring smaller, independent components rather than building everything from scratch. Some important pointers we keep in mind when building composable applications are:
1. Composability: It means large things should be able to be composed to its constituents so that we can work on smaller more digestible bits that offer less complexity.
2. Interoperability: Different components of a system should be inter-operable, that is, any one of them should be capable of getting plugged into a different system to increase its reusability. Individual parts should be highly flexible and highly configurable with different parameters.
3. Reusability: One major concept that composable applications rely on is reusability of same component for saving time and efforts. This is possible as different fragments in a composable application should be highly configurable for different use-cases.
4. Testability: Every constituent that we break a large application should be separately testable. This allows for quick debugging and changes to be made to segregated parts.
5. Modularity in working: Separate modules are being worked on by different teams or individuals allowing for separation of concerns such as business logic and side effects.
Some Examples of Composable Applications Include
These are small, independent applications designed to perform a specific task or set of tasks. They are typically built using lightweight, flexible technologies that can be easily combined and deployed in different configurations.
These additional software modules serve to enhance the capabilities of an existing application. Plugins are frequently employed to introduce specialized features or functionalities to an application, offering easy installation and removal as necessary.
Application programming interfaces (APIs) consist of protocols and tools facilitating communication and data exchange among various applications. They empower developers to construct modular applications, enabling disparate systems to collaborate and share functionality seamlessly.
Containers represent a streamlined type of virtualization, enabling developers to bundle applications and their dependencies uniformly, simplifying deployment and execution across diverse environments.Containers can be used to create composable technology by allowing developers to build and deploy individual components in a standardized way that makes combining them with other components easy.
Overall, composable applications are designed to be flexible, reusable, and easily integrated with other systems, making them easier to build, maintain, and evolve.
What is Composable Architecture?
It is a software design approach that focuses on creating modular, interoperable components that can be easily combined and configured to create new functionality. In a composable architecture, individual components are designed to be independent and self-contained, with well-defined interfaces that allow them to communicate and exchange data with each other.
One of the critical benefits of composable architecture is that it promotes reuse and modularity, allowing developers to build new applications by combining and configuring existing components rather than building everything from scratch. This can reduce development time and cost and make maintaining and evolving the system easier over time.
Composable architecture is often used in conjunction with microservices, which are small, independent applications designed to work together to perform a specific task or set of tasks. Microservices are typically built using lightweight, flexible technologies that allow them to be easily combined and deployed in different configurations, making them well-suited for composable architecture. Other standard features of composable architecture include using APIs to enable communication between different components and using containerization technologies to package and deploy individual components in a standardized way.
Key Examples of Technologies that use composable architecture
1. Component-based UI platforms: From frameworks and libraries to whole platforms have adopted composable architecture for developing their products. Swift, React, Flutter, VueJS and other web and mobile development frameworks apply small and reusable components to create large and complex applications. It is helpful as it saves development time and efforts, hence allowing more time to be spent on other feature development and optimisation.
2. Functional programming Libraries: Functional programming languages like Lisp, clojure, Haskell are great examples of using key concepts of composable architecture as they emphasize on building small reusable functions to build larger applications. Their libraries provide tools and abstractions for enhancing modularity and reusability.
3. Data Pipelines: Data pipelines have work divided into multiple stages or steps like
- Data Sources which provide data for aggregation, processing and storing. Composable data sources support many different input formats and are flexible in configuration.
- Data Transformations which are tools for enriching, cleaning, filtering and aggregating data for further steps. Following composable architecture allows this stage to be flexible in receiving data from different data sources.
- Data Processing Algorithms which are used for analysing, modelling or computation on data collected. Composable algorithms encapsulate well-defined functionalities to avoid ambiguity and offer configurable parameters to adapt to different use-cases.
- Data Sinks are the endpoints where data is partitioned, compressed, encrypted and then store.
- Reusable Libraries and frameworks like Apache Spark, Apache Flink, Apache Beam, Pandas, TensorFlow, PyTorch, Scikit-learn, Hadoop, Kafka, and RabbitMQ provide APIs to enable flexibility and reusability.
4. Serverless computing: Cloud platforms like AWS, Azure and GCP provide modular services that allow developers to compose small to large applications. These services are like AWS lambdas, Azure Functions and GCP cloud functions serving various purposes based on events in an event-driven application
There are many other examples in today’s world where Composable architecture is used like low code platforms, multi cloud systems and BI among others. One such example is composable business models which are explained in below section.
What are Composable Business Models?1. A composable business model is a business model that is designed to be modular and flexible, allowing a company to easily add or remove components as needed in response to changes in the market or the needs of its customers. This approach to business model design promotes agility and adaptability, allowing a company to respond quickly to changes in its industry or target market by adding or removing components of its business model as needed.
2. One key feature of a composable business model is modular components that can be easily combined or separated as needed. This includes products or services, distribution channels, pricing models, and customer segments. A company can more easily adapt to changing market conditions and customer needs by breaking its business model into smaller, independent components.
3. Another critical aspect of a composable business model is flexible, interoperable technologies and platforms that enable the company to quickly and easily add or remove components as needed. This can include APIs, microservices, and other tools that allow the company to integrate new components into its business model quickly. Overall, a composable business model is designed to be agile, adaptable, and responsive to change, allowing a company to quickly and easily adapt to changing market conditions and customer needs.
Composable applications play a significant role in shaping how we use and interact with technology. By allowing developers to build new applications by combining and configuring smaller, independent components, composable applications can help reduce development time and cost and make it easier to maintain and evolve the system over time.