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Frontend-as-a-Service – explained in easy terms
In order to explain what a Frontend-as-a-Service is or does, one must take a step back and first turn to Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). SOA is the answer to the increasing speed of innovation in IT. The good old monolith – i.e. a software program that tries to cover the widest possible range of applications – is today no longer able to offer sufficient flexibility and speed.
Everything as a Service
On the one hand, it is about the atomization of functions and, on the other hand, about no longer having to install and operate software in a complicated way, but simply being able to consume it as a service.
In this way, new services can be added flexibly or existing services can be replaced.
Headless Services – Headless CMS und Headless Shops
In the course of this specialization, many systems lose their head: the frontend. This allows manufacturers to concentrate fully on the technical functionality and offers maximum flexibility in presentation. However, the frontend cannot be omitted without replacement, because the content provided must be displayed and consumed by the user. This is where the path of virtue – i.e. service orientation – is usually left behind:
Usually, individual software is developed here on the basis of development frameworks such as Symfony or AngularJS. There is a simple reason for this: there is no Frontend-as-a-Service yet. So while there is a variety of vendors to choose from for each part of a microservice-oriented architecture, companies have to make do with a “handmade” solution in the front-end.
Easy to use, without complex installation or programming
No know-how required for operation etc., as these are part of the service
Functionality of the Frontend Service
The Frontend Service is the service responsible for displaying the right content on the different target devices and systems (Smartphone, Desktop-Browser, Display at the Point-of-Sales, Wearable like Smartwatch, …) quickly and optimally for the respective display.
The content can come from different source systems: classic from a Content Management System (CMS), from an eCommerce solution, but also from sources such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems or CRMs (Customer Relationship Management) as well as many more (see table “Everything as a Service”) are possible.
In the Frontend-as-a-Service, these sources are combined into Atomic design building blocks. These building blocks can come from different source systems, for example a specific article from eCommerce and a supplementary text from the CMS. In a partner portal, for example, it could be certain information about the partner and his leads from the CRM and additional information, for example, about the partner’s sales, from the ERP system.
These modules are initially completely layout-independent descriptions, which are combined by editors in the next level to form device-specific layouts. Thus, for the classic shop, there are different layouts for the smartphone, the desktop and the TV app.
The big advantage of Frontastic is that the editor does not need the support of a service provider to create these layouts. The service provider / developer, on the other hand, can focus on the further development of the integrations, on basic functionalities and expansion of the modular system.
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