Headless Ecommerce

The Encapsulate and Abstract trap

How do you leverage all your existing engineering man-years into a mobile site?

Everyone is looking to go mobile. Their customers are already there, forging ahead in the Post-PC world, and companies are trying their best to keep up. But how to go about the move to mobile? In many cases, the talent is available in-house. But that's not enough. That existing structure is an invaluable asset, but it can also hold you back.

How do you leverage all your existing engineering man-years into a mobile site?

Encapsulate and Abstract

Any engineer worth their salt knows the answer off-hand: “Encapsulate and abstract.”

Encapsulate by codifying the logic, data, controllers, and views that will be used by both the desktop and mobile sites. Then abstract to create new experiences with that encapsulated logic. This, of course, is far easier said than done.

Even the thought experiment is scary. Start with the homepage. Encapsulating the views is tricky, but doable. Oh, but homepage has login -- if we want feature parity we need login. Ok, so lets make sure the login functionality is modular. Well ... to do that we need to redo the login to rely more on the backend ... which means a heavy rewrite. Bob wrote that code ... but he left three years back. Sigh ... ok lets tackle that beast. Oh, but now cookies work different and analytics won’t work.

And these are just the problems you can think of in theory! Any flagship web-presence is made up of many moving parts – databases, controllers, views, logins, services, billing, procurement, business logic. All of these have been written with very specific purposes in mind, and that probably doesn’t include being abstracted or consumed as APIs.

The worst part is the feedback loop. Since big businesses have many loosely coupled services in the backend, release cycles are long and the release process is arduous. The known problems are just the tip of the iceberg! You won’t even know about the myriad issues that will pop-up until the release process flushes them out. That usually means negative feedback on the scale of weeks or months. That's insane! No wonder encapsulation progress is glacially slow!

It’s not surprising that you never get to the abstraction step. And that sucks! That's the fun part -- making new mobile views / features / etc. And more importantly, that's the part your users care about.


You don’t have an architectural problem, you have a user experience problem.

Your users don’t care about your webstack. When they land on your site, they know what they’re trying to accomplish. It's your responsibility to make it easy on mobile. Layer0 lets you focus on the part that matters -- the user experience.

Layer0 virtualizes your website right out of the box. All your existing functionality works no matter where it lives (JS or backend) or what your backend looks like. We’ve figured out all the boilerplate to make the underlying mechanisms work (cookies / AJAX / domain rewriting). You have a fresh copy of your site on a new domain.

This is an amazingly ideal situation. This meets all of your needs today. You leverage your man-years of engineering work on the desktop site. You focus on the user experience to deliver a best in class site. You deliver it quickly because of Layer0's technology. And it's a well grounded long-term solution.

Power to the developers

We believe what Layer0 really does is unleashes the power of developers. We remove all the procedural friction so that they can be creative, develop quickly, and deliver. In the case of enterprise, this effect is only magnified. The investment in talent has already been made, and your flagship product is at the ready. Your engineers who are chomping at the bit to do mobile are unleashed. You highlight the parts of your business that make you stand out with your competitors.

We’ve had numerous customer developers make a mobile prototype as a weekend project. You can run with this stuff fast -- we’re talking days not months.

We make more work for front end developers, because you’re sure as hell not using them to their potential.

Check out our developer website for more information about how to get started with Layer0.

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