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What is the difference between an API, framework and middleware?

What is the difference between an API, framework and middleware?

Modern business practices mean you need to have some level of tech proficiency. Especially as a decision maker in a competitive industry, you need to be able to stay on top of the latest trends and technologies so you can keep ahead of your competitors.

If you have Salesforce, then you are already one step ahead of everyone else, because you have the most powerful and flexible CRM out there. But if you want to get the most out of Salesforce, you need to understand just what it offers. So let’s take a quick look at a more technical topic, namely: what is the difference between an API, framework, and middleware?

All of these important components of a modern business solution, and understanding what exactly they are and how they interact will help you make better decisions about what you need for your company.


An API is short for Application Programmer Interface. API simply refers to the method programmers use to interface with software, and only works via software to software. API’s are open-ended and can be built to do just about anything. For example, when you buy a movie ticket online, your card info is being sent via API.

For business purposes, API’s are a great way to send data, particularly sensitive data if you encrypt it, to another business, client or partner. Developers can craft the API for just about any business use and when you connect it to the Salesforce API’s, you can send and populate data directly into your CRM.


A framework is a tool or set of tools designed to solve a specific purpose or set of purposes. Frameworks use the above mentioned API’s to connect with other software, apps or separate systems.

A framework can also be thought of as a partially finished solution to a problem. The base foundation is there, and you build upon that to solve your specific needs. Salesforce itself can be used as either an out of the box solution or a framework, depending on your business needs.


Middleware is also software that uses API’s, however, middleware is designed specifically to help isolated or separate systems interact. Mulesoft is a middleware solution recently purchased by Salesforce, whose powerful and unique code allows very complex programs to connect almost seamlessly.

A standard system, (frameworks included) is built with many layers stacked on top of each other, just as the OS, hardware, libraries, etc. Middleware works by taking slices of these layers, vertically! When done right, it provides a full or partial solution to any area within the application and can provide a much more robust connection between systems than a single or even a grouping of API’s.

So hopefully you now have a little bit better understanding the foundations that your business solution is built on!


-Ryan and the CloudMyBiz Team


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Why SaaS Companies Don’t Post Prices

Why SaaS Companies Don’t Post Prices

For anyone who has looked around our site, or shopped for any software solution (ex. Salesforce) in recent years, this post is for you. The question of whether or not to post prices has come up a ton in this industry, with varying viewpoints on the benefits and drawbacks.

By and large, most software and SaaS companies keep their pricing sheets gated, and only available at the discretion of a sales rep. While this can certainly be frustrating for potential buyers, especially when all you really want to learn at that moment is the price and not to talk to someone about value and benefits, there are a number of reasons leading to this practice.


In this article, we will look at some of these reasons, and using our own first-hand knowledge, hopefully shed a little more light on why it can be for the benefit of both the selling company and the client to not have prices posted outright.

The relationship of software quality to price isn’t always 1 to 1

  • More expensive isn’t always the best solution for your company. Maybe you don’t need the top of the line option – or when you get partway into a demo, you realize it has tons of features you don’t need and don’t want to pay for.
  • Conversely – just because something is affordable to purchase up front, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work as well as advertised.
  • Buying software isn’t like buying everyday items, like food or clothes, where it is pretty easy to estimate how much quality you get for your price. With software, it really does take thorough vetting of a product to determine if it will really meet your needs – and you can easily discount the right decision too early if it seems either “too cheap” or “too pricey” from the outset

Posted prices can scare away buyers who would actually save money in the long run

  • Poor software, that costs less up front, might require more investment long term just to maintain. A few years later when you have grown too big for the product, you have to buy a more expensive version anyway – effectively spending more over that time span than if you had gone with a more expensive option to begin with.
  • How much you should spend on a software solution is a complex calculation, and involves much more than what your budget is, and how much does X product cost. You need to factor in things like, how much money am I losing by not having a better product, and if my processes were X% more efficient, how much more money could I be making? When you start doing advanced calculations, often times higher priced software options turn out to be the better option because they pay for themselves quickly, and after that its all profit.
  • Finally, companies shopping for software are often buying something they have never purchased before. As a consequence, they may not have a particularly concrete idea of what the solution should look like, let alone how much it should cost. In these situations, sticker shock can push businesses onto the wrong product.


The price isn’t fixed!

  • What’s the real price? “Well, it depends”. If you have heard this before and want to pull your hair out, know that the feeling is shared by many, but that doesn’t make it less true.
  • For many SaaS and software companies, their products are not one size fits all, or even available as Out of the Box packages. They are designed to be customized and tweaked. Yes, this is a built-in cost, but it also means that you get a solution that is tailored to your business.
  • Then, of course, there is always the fact that Sales just might change the price, depending on the situation. Trying to make their quarterly goals, you just might get a discount if you sign right away. Or maybe additional options and features are thrown in to sweeten the deal. Simply put, posted pricing gives Salespeople less wiggle room to get the deal done.  

Too transparent pricing leads to competitors undercutting you

  • Isn’t this a good thing? Competition leading to the best possible product, for the lowest possible price? … Not always
  • When a product is all about man-hours, and expertise, competition undercutting prices can dehumanize the people who built the software. This could potentially have a huge ripple effect in the company if they are forced to cut the price of their products, leading to decreased profits, resource turnover and a whole host of other issues.
  • This can also put excessive pressure on the software builders to make the product “cost-effective” – leading to corners being cut. And do you really want all of your hard earned business data being housed on a system that is less than thoroughly vetted?


On the other side, there are a number of arguments for more transparent pricing that are equally valid, ex. Pricing pages can quickly weed out unqualified buyers, or they increase trust. While these are both true, they can also lead to some of the negative effects discussed above.

No matter how you slice it, there is no clear cut best answer for whether or not software companies should post their prices. There are benefits to both sides of the coin, and in the end, it’s up to each individual company, knowing their target markets, their business model and their history to determine what will yield the best results for both themselves and their customers.


-Ryan and the CloudMyBiz Team

Want to get started with Salesforce?

Need some custom consulting or development to enhance the Salesforce you already have?

Contact us