Embracing Scalability with Micro frontend Architecture in 2023

With the rising complexity of building software, several organizations are moving towards micro-frontend architecture to enhance the development process. A micro frontend is a unique approach implemented to make the development process flexible, scalable, and modular by dividing it into smaller components managed by different teams. These small parts are tested and deployed independently, allowing the teams to work in isolation. Micro frontend architecture is becoming popular due to the benefits like better productivity, easy maintenance of software, and better collaboration.

In addition, greater flexibility and improved application performance are other benefits of this architecture. This article digs deeper into micro frontend architecture, allowing you to know more about its key components, communication strategies, and differentiating factors with microservices. 


Architecture of Micro frontend


Each micro frontend is considered a self-contained application with specific data stores, business logic, and UI components, and these apps can be deployed independently. Micro frontends architecture can reduce development time as it can be reused across multiple applications.

The micro frontend architecture is divided into three key components; backend services, micro frontends, and proxy servers

  • Backend Services: Backend services are built using microservices architecture and communicate with the micro frontend through specific APIs. These are responsible for providing data and functionality to the micro frontends.
  • Micro Frontends: Micro Frontends are small and individual components of front ends responsible for unique features per the application’s requirements. Each micro frontend is independently testable and deployable by the desired team.  
  • Proxy Server: Proxy server is considered a gateway between the micro frontend and backend services as it routes the requests to the dedicated micro frontend.

Components of Micro frontend


Micro frontends are divided into three different components, each serving a unique purpose that helps make the overall development process quicker and easier. These three crucial components of the micro frontend are mentioned below:

  • User-Interface Components: The UI components are the ones that handle user interactions and are directly used by the application user. Usually, these components are implemented through JavaScript, CSS, and HTML, but it varies with the development team. Some examples of UI components in a micro frontend architecture are layouts, buttons, and data displays. 
  • Micro frontends Core Components: The micro frontend core components offer the required functionality of the micro frontend by implementing data management and business logic. API clients and data models are the top micro frontend core components. 
  • Integration Components: The integration components act as binding agents that help bind all the micro frontends in a user interface. Without the integration components, the micro frontend may not communicate or function with each other. Top integration components in a micro frontend include gateway, routing, and versioning. 

Top communication strategies to ensure smooth communication between micro frontends

  1. Client-Side Communication: This communication strategy uses JavaScript APIs to make HTTP requests to other micro frontends. Client-side communication offers real-time communication and is also easy to implement.
  2. Direct DOM Manipulation: In direct DOM manipulation, DOM is accessed and modified directly without using any API calls. This strategy is highly efficient and can be used to make small changes to the DOM of a single micro frontend.
  3. Event Bus: Micro Frontends can have decoupled communication through an event bus. Here, the micro frontends can communicate with each other by sending and receiving messages using a central message broker.  
  4. Client-Side State Management: Client-Side State Management can minimize network traffic for communication between micro frontends. This strategy uses a shared state store to store and manage data shared between micro frontends. 
  5. Server-Side Communication: In server-side communication, the data is updated or retrieved by making HTTP requests to a backend server. Moreover, it is used to retrieve data required by various micro frontends or enhance collaboration between them. 
  6. Server-Side Includes: SSI in micro frontends helps minimize the network traffic necessary for communication between micro frontends by embedding one micro frontend to another through server-side rendering.  
  7. API Gateway: Every micro frontend has certain functionality which they expose through a set of APIs. The API gateway is considered an entry for micro frontends in a system and allows the micro frontends to use the specific functionality. 
  8. Reverse Proxy: A reverse proxy is used to route requests to the desired micro frontend, depending on the criteria. It intercepts the requests and routes them to the specific micro frontend. 

Microservices vs. Micro frontends


Microservices is a software development approach where the software is divided into smaller and easy-to-manage parts that communicate with each other using various APIs. Each microservice can be built, tested, and deployed individually, giving greater scalability and flexibility. 

While both microservices and micro frontends share some similarities, there are several differences between the two that are addressed below:

The foremost difference between microservice and micro frontend is that the former deals with the backend of the software, whereas the latter focuses on the application’s front end. Microservices are more focused on the development teams, whereas micro frontends are more about the software’s user interface. 


Advantages of Micro frontends:


  • Improved Flexibility and Scalability: With independent scaling, testing, and deployment, micro frontends offer greater flexibility and scalability to the software. 
  • Reusability: Micro Frontends can be reused by different teams across different projects, minimizing the development time and enhancing overall consistency.
  • Enhance Modularity: With the ability to add or remove features independently and without influencing other features, micro frontends enhance the modularity of the software.

Disadvantages of Micro frontends:


  • Communication Overhead: As micro frontends need to communicate with each other frequently, they can increase the network traffic and overhead when the data is passed between modules. 
  • Complexity: In micro frontends, the developers need to manage several independent micro frontend modules, which can significantly increase complexity. 
  • Additional Tools and Infrastructure: Developing and managing micro frontends increases complexity and requires additional tools and infrastructure.

Micro Frontend Architecture Implementation and Best Practices


Implementing micro frontend architecture can be challenging if the right approach is not applied. Considering that fact, here is a brief on implementing micro frontend architecture.

  • Break down UI into small modules: The foremost step in the implementation task is to break down the overall UI into small and independent modules where each module has specific features. 
  • Develop Modules independently: The modules can be developed independently and use different frameworks and technology. However, the only condition is that they should be able to communicate seamlessly. 
  • API Gateway: Implementing an API gateway will allow micro frontend modules to communicate with each other and perform the dedicated functions efficiently. 
  • Analyze Future Requirements: Micro Frontend architecture requires dedicated tools and infrastructure, and the requirements may rise. It is best to evaluate these requirements and allocate resources accordingly for efficient implementation.

Best Practices for Implementing Micro Frontend Architecture


  • Manage the state across the application through a shared state management library.
  • Establishing communication standards helps ensure that micro frontends can communicate effectively. 
  • Each micro frontend module requires individual testing, so having a robust testing strategy is crucial to ensure seamless and effective testing.
  • Micro frontend should have a clear boundary and responsibility distinguishing it from other micro frontend modules. 

Challenges and Solutions of Micro Frontend Architecture


Even though micro frontend architecture offers legions of benefits, it comes with several challenges. The good thing is that these challenges can be tackled with the right approach. The following section explains micro frontend architecture’s major challenges and solutions.

  • Performance Issues: Micro frontend can be implemented to improve the performance of the software, but it can do the opposite and reduce the performance when the modules are not optimized for performance. A possible solution to this issue is using caching and lazy loading techniques to reduce data loading.
  • Complex Testing: As micro frontends are developed individually, they can be made with various technologies. However, this variation can become a massive challenge while testing them. In that case, using a testing framework that supports various technologies in developing the micro frontend module is the right solution.
  • Communication between Modules: For software to work efficiently, the micro frontend modules should communicate with each other seamlessly. However, establishing this communication can be challenging if the modules are based on different technologies. In that case, using an API gateway or a centralized service is best to ensure consistent communication between modules.  

Renowned Companies using Micro frontend Architecture


Several companies have implemented micro frontend architecture to leverage its benefits, and some of those companies are:

  1. Spotify: Spotify is one of the largest music streaming platforms in the world that uses micro frontend architecture to create a flexible and modular platform. 
  2. Upwork: Upwork is a networking platform that connects business professionals from around the globe. 
  3. OpenTable: OpenTable is a restaurant booking platform that has implemented micro frontend architecture to prepare the platform for increasing its customer base. 

Case Studies on Implementation of Micro frontend Architecture:


Here are case studies of companies that have implemented micro frontend architecture:

  • IKEA: IKEA is a Swedish furniture giant that implemented micro frontend architecture to create a flexible e-commerce platform. After successful implementation, IKEA witnessed a 50% reduction in development time and a 75% reduction in page load time.
  • LEGO: LEGO is a widely popular construction toy company that uses micro frontend architecture to build a scalable web application. With the micro frontend, LEGO achieved a 40% reduction in page load time and over a 30% reduction in development time. 
  • Skyscanner: Skyscanner is a travel fare aggregator website that implemented micro frontend architecture. Breaking the website into smaller components allowed them to attain faster development time and improve the performance of their platform.

Conclusion:


Micro frontends architecture is a powerful approach to developing software. With this approach, the app can leverage better scalability, flexibility, and maintainability with a significant performance boost. Moreover, breaking down the app into various modules help teams in working efficiently. 

Even though implementing micro frontend architecture can be challenging, it can be done successfully with the right strategic approach and best practices. ThinkSys can bring that strategic approach to implementing micro frontend architecture. With our skilled professionals by your side, you can have flexible and scalable software with features specific to the business’s functionality.

FAQ


Q1: What is Micro Frontend Architecture?

Micro frontend architecture is the process of building software where the front end is broken down into smaller, more manageable components that are developed and maintained independently.

Q2: What are the key components of Micro frontend Architecture?

micro frontend architecture has three key components:
a. Backend services.
b. Micro frontend.
c. Proxy server.

Q3: What are the benefits of Micro frontend Architecture?

Micro frontends architecture implementation can bring several benefits, such as:
a. Better flexibility and scalability.
b. Faster development and deployment.
c. Better performing.
d. Easy maintenance.

Q4: How can Micro frontend Architecture be implemented?

Micro frontend architecture can be implemented by breaking the front end into smaller, independent modules. These modules are developed independently and communicate with each other through a centralized communication service or an API gateway.

Q5: What are the communication strategies used in Micro frontend Architecture?

Even though there are tons of communication strategies used in micro frontend architecture, the most effective ones include:
a. Client-Side Communication.
b. Direct DOM Manipulation.
c. Event Bus.
d. Client-Side State Management.
e. Server-Side Communication.
f. Server-Side Includes.
g. API Gateway.
h. Reverse Proxy.

Q6: What is the role of backend services in Micro frontend Architecture?

Backend services are crucial in a micro frontend architecture as they provide data and business logic to the frontend modules. They communicate with the micro frontend through defined APIs. 

Q7: How does Micro Frontend Architecture differ from Microservices?

The most significant difference between the two is that the micro frontend focuses on the frontend, whereas microservices are more about the backend of the software.

Q8: What are the advantages and disadvantages of Micro Frontend Architecture?

Micro frontends architecture offers the following advantages:
a. Improved flexibility.
b. Reusability .
c. Enhances modularity.

On the other hand, the following disadvantages also come with micro frontend architecture:
a. Communication overhead.
b. Increased complexity.
c. Need for additional tools and infrastructure.

Q9: What are the best practices for implementing Micro Frontend Architecture?

Implementing micro frontend architecture can be made easier by following the below-mentioned practices:
a. Breakdown UI into smaller modules.
b. Developing modules independently.
c. Implementing API gateway.
d. Analyzing future requirements.

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top

Our team of experts would be delighted to meet you and learn all about your business.

Work at ThinkSys

Please attach your résumé / curriculum vitae below.
Only PDF files below 16mb accepted.
%d bloggers like this: