Do you like to buy a customised product, which lets you select specific features and make your customised product? It is something similar to buying a laptop online by selecting a specific configuration. It is much easier than searching one with the features you exactly need. The same is replicated in Software by name Features as a Service (FaaS).

After Platform as a Service (PaaS), this is the recent development in the platform and Cloud computing based technology. These technologies are extremely useful for Startup businesses, as they are all leading to outsourcing most of the infrastructure, Licence, hardware, network related services which anyway the Startups are not interested in managing. It is yet another wave of technology from Startups and freelance gigs.

Benefits of FaaS:

The other way is to use the services, functions, and code developed by someone else when required and just integrate different services or Application Program Interfaces (API). These are the set of functions that allow the creation of applications which access the features or data of an operating system, application, or another service) and build your Apps quickly.

Another advantage is, if one vendor is best for messaging solutions, and another one is best for emails; then you should be able to select services from both. As an App developer or publisher, you should be able to select multiple vendors and merge their services into your App, as and when required.

The Feature-as-a-Service is a software that focusses on solving a specific problem vs. general purpose features. It will have an open web-based API, preferably REST and JS, which is what allows an easy integration into other applications. It is available as a hosted service, meaning neither you have to build it, nor maintain it. You just have to pay for using this service.

This new trend of end-to-end-solution suppliers provides FaaS, which can help you quickly build the Apps. These vendors make it easier to provide an outstanding user experience in a short span of time, levelling the playing field for new apps competing with big companies.

Here are a few examples of FaaS who are leading the way:

  1. Algolia for search: It delivers a natural search experience on mobile apps. It helps with autocomplete searches and advanced queries, it spans languages and enables users to implement feedback loops.
  2. Messaging Layer: This layer API covers all aspects of messaging from one-on-one and group chats to typing indicators and read The layer is your default API when it comes to in-app communications.
  3. Tapglue for social: This social layer helps you to create a social network in your mobile App. It solves all the important components, like personal profiles, news feeds, notifications, likes, in-app shares, etc. Its powerful plug-and-play tools enable developers to integrate social features into
  4. Mapbox for location. It flawlessly integrates location into any mobile app. The feature delivers real-time data to the app in the form of Map and also offers turn-by-turn directions as well as search and geocoding features.

The first crop of advanced API providers was good fortune for CTOs. The new wave of features-as-a-service is more relevant for procurement officers as well as Startups to rapidly create apps. These apps can compete with big companies on look and feel, features and technology for a fraction of the cost. These providers are shaping the future of new Apps while changing the experience for end users, who no longer have to deal with bulky maps and old news.

A FaaS way to Code:

The emerging FaaS trend extends this concept to front-end features. If you need location services as a feature, you can use a FaaS provider such as Mapbox for quickly embedding the feature. If you need social functionality, you can go to someone like Tapglue and skip the work of having to deal with profiles, following users, feeds and notifications, and other social components like in-app sharing. It can be a freelance work as well.

Algolia, for instance, brings search features like auto-complete searches, advanced queries, etc. It supports several different languages, too. The way developers are using Stripe for instant payment; they can also use for the voice and video features on the frontend and let the provider take care of network considerations, code optimisation, and other issues.

FaaS improves app development velocity and increases quality at the same time. Developers focus on the core value proposition of the app. The smart programmer or freelance web developer grabs feature off the shelf and put them together in a new way with the as little original code as possible. As an example, the more serious apps must ensure that their voice and video features perform reliably despite variable mobile network connectivity.

Best use of FaaS:

There are currently more user specific features-as-a-service, but it seems, the trend is coming to business software as well.  Instead of a traditional high-value software purchase, the Companies are interested in buying pay-as-you-go solutions or subscription-based services. Instead of buying a suite of products, you can buy the features you need and combine them in a way that is optimal for your organisation.

Advantages for Startups:

As a Startup, think about getting hardware, infrastructure, Licenced Software, Network, Server and services available through service providers! J It makes your life really interesting and easy compared to the earlier IT generations who always started with buying a Server box, then buying a Software on DVD and start working from scratch.

The whole focus is changing on you working only on your expertise and leaving everything else to the vendors. You can decide to be a vendor for such services or use such services and develop your Apps using them. The choice is yours and what is means is if you have skills to integrate different services and technologies together, you can practically start your Startup only with some skilled developers and few laptops! Taking advantage of these Cloud-based services, the Startups can reduce their gestation period and can be quickly on the fast track of growth.

Kitty Gupta