Faster, better, cheaper: Feature-as-a-Service

More functions instead of more development time: This is what Feature-as-a-Service for web applications stands for.

People working in a modern office.
Web App
FaaS

Digital solutions have become an integral part of our everyday lives. Hardly any aspect of our private and professional lives takes place without digital touchpoints, and online services have long been the norm in the business world as well. This can be seen, for example, in the sheer number of online stores.

Although e-commerce is booming, it accounts for only a fraction of all business models. Outside the B2C cosmos, store systems are quickly reaching their limits. Let's take the example of a manufacturer of chemicals that requires special order picking, has major customers who pay a total invoice every quarter instead of every repeat order via PayPal checkout, and sends shipments with specialized logistics solutions instead of DHL. Store systems are not sufficient for such ambitious projects. Solutions are needed that offer much more than just a transactional component.

Companies gain flexibility with web apps

Nowadays, web applications can be used to transfer – and expand – even complex business models, which are particularly common in the B2B sector, into the digital realm. A web application is often more complex in scope and implementation than an online store.

Therefore, anyone who needs a custom web application usually starts with an empty code file, which is a hurdle for companies without a large development team. However, do we really need to rethink and develop from scratch the many commonalities shared by most web apps? This is where Feature-as-a-Service (FaaS) comes into play.

What is Feature-as-a-Service?

In the context of a web application, a feature refers to a common, frequently used function, such as the chat function through which users can receive information via a chatbot or contact the support team. The exact integration – the "look & feel" – of the chat feature varies from use case to use case, as does the individual business logic that dictates who can chat with whom. However, the basic functionality is always the same.

Feature-as-a-Service means that these established features, such as chat, login function and user management, are already available prefabricated via API. They only need to be adapted to individual requirements instead of being developed from scratch.

These components are turned into a web app with Feature-as-a-Service

In a modern web application, there are always individual parts like the design or the business logic. However, large parts of the web app follow the same scheme and have recurring elements. ROQ has systemized these parts.

  • The individual part, which turns the web application into a customized solution, is the individual business logic in addition to the design. This part is customized exactly according to the company's requirements and represents the actual value creation and added value of the application. This can also include other SaaS solutions that are integrated into the company's own software via API.

  • The user interface is crucial for the appearance and usability of the web application. The functional framework, on the other hand, in which the corporate design is embedded, for example, does not have to be developed from scratch. Predefined components can and should be used here.

  • Using data connectors, the web application can communicate with third-party services such as payment gateway, ERP or CRM. The interfaces for SAP S4/Hana, Salesforce and Co. are often the same.

  • Basic functionalities such as user management, file handling or chat function have already been developed for most web applications. They are important, but do not massively differ between applications.

  • The infrastructure: Smooth operation is not only elementary for the availability of digital services, but also a security factor. The effort and associated costs are often significantly underestimated.

Instead of developing each of these components from scratch, Feature-as-a-Service provides the basic framework for a full-fledged web application – without having to sacrifice the flexibility of full-stack development. On a foundation of established, proven and compatible software, customization can be done immediately and a fully functional web application is available from day one.

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The 5 advantages of Feature-as-a-Service in web development at a glance

  • Saves development time without sacrificing functionality

  • Shorter time-to-market, faster return-on-investment

  • Lower risk and at the same time higher quality through the use of ready-made, proven functions and infrastructure

  • Flexibility and scalability, as it is built on a well-designed architecture

  • Not having to compromise on data sovereignty or code ownership.

Implementing a web application with FaaS – how to do it with ROQ

The ROQ Suite consists of various components. It comes with the Kickstarter app ROQ One. ROQ One is the base app for custom implementation and is a fully functional application from the beginning. The following customizations are usually made as part of the implementation:

  • The individual design is implemented in ROQ One. As a result, the application looks like a completely self-developed application, although in the background it is built on existing components.

  • A business’s individual logic is also implemented in ROQ One. Here, the individual processes and logics can be found. In a B2B customer portal, for example, it can be defined that a customer can only contact the products and contracts assigned to them as well as their own account manager via chat.

  • Interfaces to own or external systems are regularly implemented in the course of development. These interfaces and processes are also implemented in ROQ One. This way ROQ One can be seamlessly integrated into your company.

ROQ One draws on a wide range of ready-made features and can integrate them individually and seamlessly into your app. The features are provided by the ROQ Platform via API and continuously developed by ROQ. Such features include user management, file handling, notifications, mails or the chat function.

The ROQ Shell is pre-configured for hosting in the Google Cloud. This means that development and deployment takes place on a reliable, scalable and secure cloud platform right from the start.

ROQ One, ROQ Shell and ROQ Platform interlock seamlessly. Together, they enable visible results from day one.

Because user management and single sign-on are provided as basic functionalities via the ROQ Platform, advanced features such as the connection of user management to the company's own WebDAV can be launched more quickly. Such features can only be realized much later in conventional development roadmaps.

The ROQ Platform tech stack is designed along the principles of stability, security and scalability. Hosting via the Google Cloud Platform enables smooth regular operation and facilitates flexible scaling of the web application, according to the requirements of companies, users and customers.

Fit for the future thanks to FaaS

Digital solutions that go beyond an online store are becoming increasingly important for companies. Customized web applications are one of the biggest differentiating factors here. Feature-as-a-Service technology makes it possible to exploit this opportunity cost-effectively. Building on existing features reduces the development effort and the time needed to launch a functional version.

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