AI to star in the launch of Webflow’s built-in app ecosystem

4 min read
AI to star in the launch of Webflow's built-in app ecosystem

Head over to our on-demand library to view sessions from VB Transform 2023. Register Here

Webflow, the low-code web development platform, has fully opened up its new app ecosystem, establishing a platform where third-party developers can integrate their applications directly into the Webflow designer. 

Webflow CTO Allan Leinwand shared insights about the vision for this ecosystem in an exclusive interview with VentureBeat, explaining that new APIs will allow apps to have a visible presence directly on the Webflow designer canvas. Additionally, Webflow has enhanced their backend APIs so apps can interact with Webflow forms, content and other data. The initiative has been a year in the making, with the aim to expose more functionality of Webflow designer and data models for developers to build deeply integrated apps.

“We have about 200,000 designers and companies that use Webflow and visual design to create these really fully customized professional websites without needing to code,” said Leinwand. “Part of that is we know we can’t write every piece of functionality for everyone else’s designers and companies. So we’ve been working on exposing the surface area of the designer, and of our core data models, for about a year now.”

Low-code creation is the future

Leinwand believes this combination of front-end and back-end access will be potent, as apps can put functionality right in front of designers while also connecting to Webflow sites. Drawing parallels to successful app marketplaces like Shopify (where he was former CTO), Leinwand envisions Webflow becoming a similar platform for designers. The ecosystem is open to all developers, whether targeting niche markets or larger ones.


VB Transform 2023 On-Demand

Did you miss a session from VB Transform 2023? Register to access the on-demand library for all of our featured sessions.


Register Now

“Developers realize that no-code development is the future, and they realize that people are moving into a no-code environment,” said Leinwand. “With generative AI, it even allows you to turn that up a notch, to really help generate some of that content and generate some of that design in an amazing way.”

Joining big names like Hubspot, Unspalsh and Typeform, one of the first apps to launch with this new ecosystem is Jasper AI, a marketing-focused AI writing assistant. Jasper AI will be able to generate relevant and contextual marketing copy content like blog posts or product descriptions within the Webflow designer, with changes saved directly into the Webflow backend. According to Leinwand, this seamless integration exemplifies how apps can leverage AI and other technologies to enhance the designer experience.

For developers looking to contribute to the ecosystem, Leinwand suggests focusing on addressing unmet needs within the design market using both the new frontend and backend APIs. As the Webflow ecosystem is just beginning, developers have the opportunity to get involved early. Leinwand invites developers to bring their ideas and start developing on the platform.

In a call with VentureBeat, Jasper AI President Shane Orlick discussed the company’s partnership with Webflow, emphasizing how gen AI is empowering creators. Jasper AI’s content creation platform, which businesses can use to generate high-quality marketing and advertising drafts at scale, is now accessible directly within the Webflow platform thanks to its API integration. This enables Webflow users to generate content directly in the app while building websites.

“It was really quick to get that vision lock,” Orlick said about early conversations about integrating the Jasper AI platform in Webflow. “We didn’t have the API. We had just started thinking about this. So once we had the API, it was really easy, because we actually have a solution that would fit nicely in their marketplace.”

Orlick believes that this partnership delivers more value for Webflow and drives adoption and engagement with their customers. Such partnerships enable the company to reach a new client-base, reducing the friction of AI adoption.

“We just want to meet the customers where they are and deliver the better experience,” said Orlick. “And because we’re only the app layer, we’re not raising $500 million to blow into training models [so] we’re able to just focus on the customer experience piece. That’s why Webflow is so exciting.”

Looking ahead, Orlick sees significant opportunities in serving large enterprise customers through customized AI templates, style guides and collaborative workflows.

Yet, self-service and API-partner channels remain vital for driving leads to their core business. Orlick underscored how gen AI is transitioning from a novelty to an essential productivity tool. Partnerships like Webflow and Jasper that embed AI directly into creative workflows promise to unlock its full potential for both businesses and individuals.

VentureBeat’s mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Discover our Briefings.

Source link