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What Do Composable Applications Mean for the Future of Enterprise?

Ashley Mangtani is a technical writer from the U.K specializing in Digital Transformation, SaaS, B2B, Cybersecurity, and AI/Metaverse.

Composable applications  and the future of enterprise

Composable applications and the future of enterprise

What Is a Composable Application?

Composable applications allow organizations to develop applications that can be rebuilt and redeployed according to their needs. Comparable applications can be composed together to form a larger application, such as the Windows® operating system and its various components.

In some cases, it may be desirable for an application developer to access information about other applications to create or modify the application. For example, if an application developer wants to add functionality to an existing application, they may need to know what functions are already available on the target application.

This is particularly true when developing software for use with a particular hardware platform. If the developer does not know what features are supported by the hardware, then they will likely write code that cannot run properly on the hardware.

In addition, many developers want to test their applications before releasing them into production. However, testing an application requires knowing how to interact with the application under development. Thus, it would be beneficial to provide a mechanism for allowing developers to view information about other applications without having to install the applications themselves.

The present invention provides a method and apparatus for providing information about one or more applications. The information includes lists of at least one of the following:

  1. All installed applications;
  2. All applications currently running on a computer;
  3. All files associated with each application;
  4. All documents associated with each application; and
  5. All users who have logged onto the computer.

In addition, the information may include any combination of these items.

The present invention provides a method for retrieving information about one or more application programs from the computer. This method comprises receiving a request for information about one or more selected application programs, determining whether the requested information is available, and returning the requested information if the information is obtainable.


Benefits of Composable Applications

A composable application allows multiple applications to work together to perform a single task. For example, a word processing program could allow a spreadsheet program to be used to calculate financial figures. In addition, a composable application allows different types of data to be stored within the same file. For example, a document containing both text and graphics might be stored in a single file.

As another example, a database management system (DBMS) might store a collection of records in a single file. Each record contains fields that contain values for specific attributes of the record. These attributes might include name, address, phone number, etc. Thus, a composable application can combine two separate pieces of software into a single package. The resulting package is often referred to as a composite application.

Composite applications can be created using a variety of techniques. One technique involves creating a new application that combines the functionality of several existing applications. Another method involves modifying an existing application so that it has additional capabilities. For example, you might modify a spreadsheet program to display a graph instead of a table. Or a word processor might be modified to allow a user to insert a graphical image into a document.

UI with a blue setting clickable icon

UI with a blue setting clickable icon

Drawbacks of Composable Applications

However, there are drawbacks to modifying an existing application.

  1. The original developer of the application may not wish to make changes to their product.
  2. The modifications made by the developer may not be compatible with future versions of the application.
  3. The modifications may require extensive programming expertise.

In contrast, a composite application can be developed quickly because only one application needs to be written. Furthermore, the developer need not worry about compatibility issues since the composite application will automatically function when combined with other applications. The developer does not need to possess extensive programming skills since the composite application can be easily programmed using standard programming languages such as C++, Java, Visual Basic, etc.

Unfortunately, conventional methods for developing composable applications do not provide sufficient flexibility. For example, some traditional systems allow users to select which components should be included in a composite application. However, these systems do not allow the user to specify how the components should interact with each other. In particular, they do not allow the user to specify how the components should communicate with each other. As a result, the user must manually write code to connect the components together.

A method and apparatus are needed to allow users to develop composable applications without requiring them to manually write code to connect their components.


What Are Composable Technologies?

The term “composable technology” refers to any technology that allows developers to create composite applications. Examples of composable technologies include:

  1. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). An API is a set of rules or conventions used to access data from within an application. APIs are typically defined by a vendor and are usually proprietary. Thus, different vendors use different APIs. Some APIs have been standardized by various organizations, including the Object Management Group (OMG), the Open Software Foundation (OSF), and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). These standards define common interfaces between programs.
  2. Component-Based Systems. A component-based system provides a framework for building complex applications from simpler subcomponents. Components are reusable units of software that perform specific functions. The components are connected to form the complete application.
  3. Frameworks. A framework is a collection of tools designed to simplify development. For example, Microsoft's .NET Framework includes a class library and a runtime environment. The class library contains classes that represent objects and operations on those objects. The runtime environment executes the classes.
  4. Integrated Development Environments (IDEs). An IDE is a tool that combines a text editor, compiler, debugger, and other tools into a single integrated development environment. IDEs help programmers develop software more efficiently by reducing time spent writing code and debugging errors.
  5. Object-Oriented Languages. An object-oriented language is a computer language that supports creating modular programs composed of smaller pieces called objects. Objects encapsulate related data and procedures so that their internal structure does not matter outside its boundary.
  6. Object Relational Mapping (ORM). ORMs are frameworks that map relational databases to object models. They also convert SQL queries into object queries.
  7. Repositories. A repository is a database that stores information about objects. It can store all information about objects, such as names, descriptions, locations, etc.
  8. Services. A service is a piece of software that performs a specific task. For example, a web server is a service because it serves content over the Internet.
  9. Web Service. A web service is a type of service that uses HTTP protocol to transfer data between two computers.
  10. Extensible Markup Language (XML). XML is a markup language that defines tags for marking up documents with additional information. XML is widely used in the World Wide Web (WWW) because it makes it easier to exchange structured data across heterogeneous systems.
A human hand with a laptop typing and a phone in the other hand

A human hand with a laptop typing and a phone in the other hand

What Are Composable Solutions?

Composable solutions are solutions that can be easily assembled into larger solutions. This means that you can take one solution and combine it with another solution to create a new solution. In addition, composability allows you to assemble multiple solutions into a composite solution.

The following list describes some examples of composable solutions:

  1. Applications. An application is a self-contained unit of work. You can use an application without having to install any other applications.
  2. Business Processes. A business process is a set of steps performed by people or automated processes. Examples include sending invoices, receiving payments, and shipping products.
  3. Data Access Layer. A data access layer is a layer that abstracts the underlying storage mechanism. For example, a file system may provide a data access layer that hides the details of how your program stores files on a disk.
  4. Domain Models. A domain model represents real-world entities. For example, a customer entity might have attributes like name, address, phone number, email address, etc.
  5. Enterprise Application Architecture. Enterprise architecture is a blueprint for developing large-scale distributed applications.
  6. Enterprise Integration Patterns. An enterprise integration pattern is a reusable design pattern that helps solve common problems when integrating different systems within an organization.
  7. Frameworks. A framework provides a base set of classes and interfaces that developers can extend to build their own applications. The term “framework” comes from the fact that these classes and interfaces form a skeleton around which developers can add functionality.
  8. Software Components. A component is a logical part of a computer program. For example, a button is a component of a GUI application.
  9. Systems. A system is a collection of components working together to perform a particular function. For example, a word processor is a system because it contains many components, including text editors, spell checkers, document viewers, etc.
  10. User Interface. A user interface is a way for users to interact with programs. It includes menus, dialog boxes, buttons, scroll bars, windows, etc.
Source code with the words"sign up" represents composable tech's future.

Source code with the words"sign up" represents composable tech's future.

The Future of Composability

Composability will continue to grow and evolve. As technology advances, more and more capabilities will become available to help us compose our software solutions. For example, we expect more support for composing web services, databases, and other technologies. We also hope to see more tools that make it easy to compose existing solutions.

In addition, there will be more ways to compose solutions. For example, you could write code that automatically generates source code for you. Or you could write code that creates a graphical representation of your solution.

As a result, we believe that composability will continue to expand in scope and power, and this trend will likely continue.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Ashley Mangtani