Easy Breezy Guide to MACH Architecture

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In this age of machine learning, blockchain, robotic process automation, and artificial intelligence, admitting you are not tech savvy is out of the question. It’s a very dark secret that many prefer to keep to themselves.

You may also find it hard to stay on top of tech trends. Moreover, sometimes tasks like setting up voicemail on an iPhone or navigating new software take a long time, but we do not talk about it.

And guess what? You are not the only one. There are a lot of brilliant (probably) tech solutions that some of us do not appreciate because we do not comprehend them.

Big tech companies brag about their innovations using highly complicated terms, forgetting that their audience is not just engineers and programmers. There are also e-commerce managers, marketers, business consultants, and CEOs who need guidance in selecting modern tech solutions that fit their business needs.

In this post, I would like to shed light on MACH architecture.

I learned about MACH in August 2021 when I joined the marketing team of Bluestone PIM — the platform for driving online sales with product information. I could not really understand the excitement surrounding it until Bluestone’s EVP Technology, Morten Næss, explained the beauty of our MACH architecture step by step, and in simple terms.

Here is our easy-to-understand explanation (drumroll, please!) ?

MACH stands for Microservices-based, API-first, Cloud-native, Headless. All of these elements are powerful, but it’s their combination that makes the magic. Let’s dive into each part and see how it works.


Microservices-based: a car that never stops running

To understand the concept of microservices-based applications, you first need to learn about monolithic architecture (where “mono” means single and “lith” means a stone).

In the past, when programmers needed to write an application, they would start a new code project and add more and more code so that their application had more features. This is a monolithic architecture, a server-side system based on a single application.

Today, many software developers still base their code on monolithic architecture because it is easy to develop and deploy. However, when you add more functionality, problems might arise. Centralized code creates tight links that are difficult to break and impossible to use separately.

Microservices-based applications, on the other hand, can scale with demand; you do not have to rewrite the entire code base to make changes. If you want to develop or update some features, your software will not stop running.

Compare it to a car. If your windshield wipers stop working, you can still drive (even though it’s not recommended!). If your car was a “monolith”, you would have to look for a bus stop nearby even if you had a small breakdown.

Microservices-based applications are resilient. This means that your application will always be up to date and none of its updates will interrupt your work. Plus, you can connect your software to other applications to make things even easier.


APIs-first: communication we deserve

Let’s say you can now travel wherever you want. Bali or Mallorca. Your choice.

To plan your dream vacation, you can compare prices of all airlines and hotels on a single platform and book everything without having to go to other websites. All this is possible thanks to APIs – Application Programmable Interfaces.

It’s all about communication.

Thanks to APIs, your software can communicate with other applications and provide great flexibility to its users. If you want your tool to do more for you, you do not need to look for alternatives, just connect an app of your choice via APIs.

Our PIM software is API-first, which means that we can provide our users with APIs for whatever the market will demand in the future.

If you are looking for ways to save costs in the long run, get access to third-party data or develop new product features, API-first software would be an advantage.


Cloud-native… Literally!

Before there was cloud computing, tech companies needed a lot of expensive and heavy hardware to store all the data. At the time, it was clear that such a solution was not future-proof, as it was hard to scale and also not secure enough – a single match would have been enough to burn down all the servers in the house.

That’s why the Cloud was created.

The term Cloud describes servers that can be accessed over the internet. With cloud computing, software companies no longer have to manage physical servers and machines themselves. Moving applications to the cloud has been a business decision that many IT companies have made in recent years to reduce final costs and avoid system failures.

Apps that are developed in the cloud are called cloud-native. They use microservice architecture which makes them very flexible and adaptable.

Some companies claim to be cloud-native even though they are not. It may take you months to figure out that the app is not cloud-native. Yea, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig…

Here is the difference between the two:

Cloud means you are running on someone else’s computers. It’s about outsourcing some of the burden of using systems. Cloud-native apps, on the other hand, leverage the best aspects of the cloud, such as scalability, on-demand self-service, and ease of maintenance. They can integrate new technologies in a cleaner and more efficient way, which makes them future-proof.


Headless or Invisible?

Headless software is software that can operate on a device without a graphical user interface (frontend). Backend (all the functions that make the website run) without a frontend is like a body without a head. That’s where the term “headless” comes from.

In simple terms, headless software is like a black box where things just happen. We can not see them, but everything still gets done.

The headless architecture in PIM allows you to use various features of PIM (such as checking the quality of product information) with the code, not with UI. This means that there is a much better environment for automation.

It also gives you the freedom to use a front-end framework that works best for you, and update your digital assets without interrupting work.


Final Thoughts

There is a commonality between non-tech savvy and tech savvy people – they like technologies that make things easier, and MACH-based architecture is just that.

You do not have to hang out with programmers to stay up to date on trends and understand how modern technology works – we have got it covered. If you like the format of this post, drop us a line. It’s a great feeling to be part of a community.

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