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Product-led Growth

Buy, build + assemble rich text editor APIs = faster speed-to-market

Published January 27th, 2022

As BioSyn raced to launch, Lewis Dodgson* took a gamble. The VP of Engineering assembled specialist API components, to expedite their product’s speed-to-market, and complete the rich text editor it needed. Mere months later, the rest of the biotech industry was baffled how fast it happened.

Di Mace

Communications Specialist at Tiny


Several months ago, Dodgson* had learned that the software project his development team were planning – in particular its custom coded rich text editor – was roadblocked. It was an uncomfortable discovery, especially since his company was in a race with its competitors to launch a new niche-opening platform.

Then, while looking at another project on the roadmap, he had an epiphany. They could use a rich text editor that consisted of API-driven components, to enable them to launch faster, while still getting the functionality they needed… and with the optionality to extend and grow. Three months later, they had successfully beaten their competitors to market.

How APIs are core to rapid launches

As Dodgson* later said, “In hindsight, I shouldn’t have assumed we could build a rich text editor within our time frame – especially one as feature-rich as we needed. I now know only a specialist can deliver that scope. And although we’d previously used APIs, we also didn’t have a specific API strategy – so they weren't on our usual list of options when scoping the project build. Now, I’m a convert.” He’s not the only one.

For many companies, keeping pace with competitors (and changes in technology) is no longer about building something from scratch. Instead, they’re using the agility of modern tech to combine and connect existing systems and services in new ways.

The modern tech they’re using are API foundationality systems. Those systems give them the flexibility they need, combined with ‘out of the box’ functionality that enables them to ship faster.

API platform, Mulesoft, describes APIs as having a positive effect on product launches by enabling “... enterprises to deploy apps quickly, in a repeatable way, which leads to a faster pace of delivery, and the ability to create new and innovative experiences quickly.”

APIs add velocity to product roadmaps

The API platform MuleSoft’s Connectivity Benchmark Report surveyed 650 IT leaders about their use of technology, and the results were very clear: APIs and their integration possibilities provide real value to a business – whether it’s integrating SaaS, increasing agility, or creating new revenue streams.

*Company and personal details are fictional, but indicative of the costs and time taken to build a functioning rich text editor.

Get more insights in our
Buy vs Build White Paper

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How do API-driven rich text editor components work?

When an enterprise buys or uses smaller specialized components with APIs – like those available for a feature-rich rich text editor – the APIs act as building blocks within the company’s larger IT/dev software toolkit. The use of those APIs, allows the dev team to more quickly stitch and restitch components and functions together in different ways, while they’re developing and coding (if they desire) other parts inhouse.

By adopting this approach, it shortens the development time and maximizes the horsepower behind third-party specialization. Additionally, it empowers inhouse developer expertise to focus on what they do best and gives the enterprise the nimbleness to move beyond productivity obstacles.

That's exactly what BioSyn* did, to meet their go-to-market deadline.

Time impacts of slow-to-no project velocity

The average enterprise spends approximately $3.5M per year on integration-related IT labor according to the Mulesoft 2021 Connectivity Benchmark Report, yet just 37% of organizations say IT completed all their projects, with fewer than 4 in 10 teams fulfilling their project commitments to business stakeholders.

Need to accelerate your speed of innovation?

By discovering how (and which) composable API building blocks can make your product launches faster, your overall organization becomes more agile.

For many organizations, the only possible way to adapt to the early-stage changes of the pandemic was by using APIs. Many industries, headlined by healthcare, pivoted in exceptionally short time spans – compressing years of digital transformation into a few months.

The 2021 Google State of API Economy report explains how APIs delivered the pandemic’s lightning speed innovation, at a relatively modest cost for businesses. “... if the APIs are designed with the developer experience in mind, rather than just as bespoke integration projects, they become extremely powerful. When made to be easily reusable, APIs let developers modularly combine, and recombine, functionality and data for new uses, with virtually no marginal cost for each additional use of the API.”

A sharpened, more urgent focus on the use of APIs, not only accelerated the developer velocity of pandemic-stricken companies, it also delivered much needed friction-free fluidity to their intersystem processes. In many cases, the speed of innovation was faster than competitors – especially if a competitor wasn’t pursuing an API-first strategy.

GOOGLE STATE OF API ECONOMY 2021 REPORT

The report surveyed over 700 IT decision-makers around the globe, and showed that 75% of organizations continued their digital transformation investments, post-pandemic. Similarly, 65% or two-thirds of those companies accelerated their investment, or completely evolved their strategies to become digital-first companies.

Get more insights in our
Buy vs Build White Paper

DOWNLOAD THE WHITE PAPER

Using pre-built rich text editor APIs for content creation

It's really easy to observe the widespread reverberations of APIs in the petri dish worlds of content marketing and social media.

For example, a WYSIWYG HTML text editor is vital for content creation – especially one that delivers a deeper, more interactive reader experience. Then there’s the need for efficient multi-device distribution, to aid widespread consumption. Both tasks increasingly rely on the speed, fluidity and user experience that’s delivered through the use of APIs.

You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around.

Steve Jobs

Forrester recently reported: “The rise of headless and API-first approaches is essential to being able to create content once and deliver to omnichannel endpoints – and to assemble new types of engaging experiences from content, commerce, and data building blocks.” That’s why API-driven CMS platforms like Contentful, are beginning to dominate their market.

Need more cost estimates to build your own rich text editor and advanced features?

Buy vs Build a Core Rich Text Editor

Read the entire TCO breakdown for both, in our Buy vs Build White Paper

Get the cost breakdown of building, maintaining and extending an

Advantages of an API-first approach for content creation

So let’s dig a little deeper into API-driven content creation. Now, CMS platforms are frequently powered by both content editing and content design APIs that help developers, enterprises and SaaS companies build, manage, publish and automate their content much faster… just like BioSyn* did.

It’s achieved, by combining public and paid APIs, which shortcut the development time of their projects and open endless possibilities for inhouse dev teams to create custom iterations that:

  • Enhance end-user experiences
  • Enables the delivery of faster product updates
  • Reduces the cost of app development
  • Can be reused on many different projects
  • Improves the developer experience and supports agile software development
  • Facilitates the development of the front-end, with the framework of your choice
  • Enables the use of any modern scripting language for content creation
  • Aids the construction of content automation delivery pipelines
  • Allows the integration of decoupled backend and frontend with headless CMSs
  • Aids the addition of new services and technologies without re-architecting the entire system
  • Supports microservice architectures to achieve unprecedented scalability, growth, and competitiveness.

Even a quick scan of the above list shows how APIs are transforming content processes and UX, as their increased use rolls across development work.

But that really should be no surprise. As Daniel Levine noted in his prophetic 2019 TechCrunch article, “For fast-moving developers building on a global-scale, APIs are no longer a stop-gap to the future—they’re a critical part of their strategy. Why would you dedicate precious resources to recreating something in-house that’s done better elsewhere when you can instead focus your efforts on creating a differentiated product?”

Composable API building-blocks deliver speed and agility

In a digital-first world, API-first is fast becoming de rigueur, in spotlight roles as: enablers of products, ready-to-use components of products, and even as products themselves.

And much like the way rich text editors are never actually seen, APIs lay hidden behind the scenes and are instead felt in the dual forms of speed and fluidity. Accordingly, their greatest impact is the value they deliver to the developers who use them, the organizations they’re enabling, and the end customers and users who enjoy frictionless experiences.

This alone gives APIs unlimited potential in any enterprise context, as does their capability to be reused in abstract ways to allow companies to deliver greater value, at a faster speed-to-market and in a more economic way.

Download the white paper:
The Great Debate: Buy vs. Build
Rich Text Editors

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