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Who needs plugins anyway?
APIs are not enough
API: APIs Permit Intermediation
The API revolution has brought enormous value to end users. Every company can focus on the mechanisms by which they can uniquely create value.
The problem: APIs are only one piece of the puzzle.
- When products have shared users who would benefit from integration, APIs help but only enable invisible, backend integration. Often, users deserve and prefer UI-based integrations.
- When enterprise customers need to customize a product to integrate into their workflows, APIs are almost perfect but require an enterprise to invest in costly internal tools as wrapper UIs. Direct, UI plugins reduce costs by orders of magnitude.
- End users and extension authors need to provision servers, monitor long-running processes, and build UIs to customize their interaction with a service that provides an API. Plugins enable seamless integration.
In short: APIs drive users out of your app. Plugins keep users in your app.
Users who create content on your app can't be satisfied
When users invest in creating content on your app, they are bringing a neverending stream of novelty to your platform. Can you really pre-state all of the forms of content a user might imagine? Instead of leaving users perrenially underserved as they push out the boundaries of what's possible, plugins enable an ecosystem to spring up around your platform, enabling truly endless customization.
Users who co-create their experience with a platform are significantly stickier and more loyal. Turn users into fans and advocates.
Empower enterprise clients to invest in your platform sustainably
Enterprise clients have exacting requirements. If your product doesn't seamlessly fit into their existing workflows and the suite of tooling that they've already invested significantly in, you may quickly find your solution neglected. API integrations only help if your UI doesn't need to be extended or if you're willing to commit to a lifetime of custom UI work for each client. With plugins.dev, you can enable enterprise clients to write simple plugins to embed your app deep into their existing workflows or to integrate their processes deeply into your app. Best of all, unlike with APIs where most beneficiaries of your app won't ever know they're using it, plugins place your app and your brand front and center.