[#VIRTUAL] PRO Workshop (API): From Web API to Native API

Michael Yuan
Second State, Founder

Dr. Michael Yuan is a maintainer of WasmEdge Runtime (project under CNCF) and a co-founder of Second State. He is the author of 5 books on software engineering published by Addison-Wesley, Prentice-Hall, and O'Reilly. Michael is a long-time open-source developer and contributor. He had previously spoken in many industry conferences including Open Source Summit, RustLab Conference, and KubeCon. 

Today, most SaaS providers provide web APIs that allow their users to customize their experience. The user often needs to set up and maintain a webhook server to receive API events, tolerate long latencies, and handle authentication and authorization. That is a lot of development and operation efforts besides the core business functions the user wants to perform. In another word, those web APIs are not serverless.

There is an emerging approach for users to interact with, extend and customize SaaS products through serverless functions. SaaS could enable users to submit code functions to be embedded in their SaaS account, much like AWS Lambda allowing users to embed serverless functions into the AWS infrastructure. In that way, the SaaS provides native integration points in the form of programming language APIs instead of web APIs to the users. It is much faster and safer than web APIs and allows developers to focus on business logic.

WebAssembly plays a crucial role in those SaaS serverless functions by providing a secure, safe, lightweight, and high-performance sandbox runtime for those user-submitted functions.

In this talk, Dr. Yuan will cover technical approaches to embedding WebAssembly functions, written in languages like Rust, Go, JavaScript and Python, into SaaS products and therefore turning them into aPaaS platforms. Those serverless functions could be embedded into the SaaS or “co-located” with the SaaS. He will demonstrate use cases with popular SaaS products such as Github and Slack.