Microfrontends: A New Way to Build Large-Scale Web Applications

During growth, an organization has to face several hurdles, including picking the right team, technology, and toolset and creating robust plans. Currently, many organizations are shifting from a monolithic architecture to microservices. The majority portion of app development can be done with front-end code. A micro frontend is one of the hottest topics in the development industry, taking the industry by storm. This article will elaborate on micro frontends, their benefits, types, frameworks, and more.

What is a Microfrontend?

Rather than building a larger software with a monolithic architecture, organizations have started breaking the large software into smaller parts, making it easier to manage. Dividing the software allows the team to deploy, test, and develop various services independently. The aforementioned is the microservice architecture for backend development.

The same can be implemented in frontend development and is called microfrontend architecture. In this architecture, the application is divided into individual functions implemented autonomously. It is a client-side design where different frontend teams manage specific functions, giving them the utmost speed and flexibility. 

The micro frontend provides the same features to the frontend team that microservices provide to the backend teams. Furthermore, it eradicates the dependency between the teams, reducing the development time. 

Benefits of MicroFrontends.

Microfrontends come with various benefits that help the developer get better outcomes, and the organization generates higher returns on investment. Here are the top benefits of using micro frontends.

  • Clean Codebase: The source code of a component in a monolithic frontend architecture is large in size, making it complex. Unlike monolithic frontend architecture, micro frontend architecture’s components are smaller, making their codebase cleaner. Moreover, the codebase is easier to manage and work with.
  • Versatile Design: The micro frontend has various small parts handled by different teams with expertise. As various teams work on different components, the ideas they input vary significantly. The outcome of this difference is versatility in the overall design. Furthermore, the teams are created per their expertise and skills, ensuring that every team functions up to their potential, giving the application an excellent design and architecture.
  • Learning Curve: New people joining an existing team is a situation faced by every team. In a monolithic frontend, the new joiner has to learn larger applications to understand the architecture, making it time-consuming and highly complex. In the case of the micro frontend, the learning curve is not steep due to smaller lines of code. 
  • Fast Application: Often users have reported slower loading times in an application based on monolithic architecture. This is because the entire application will be loaded, including all the components that are not in use, making the initial loading slower. However, that is not the case with the micro frontend, as only the components on demand are loaded. This makes not just the loading but the overall application faster.

Integrating Microfrontends:

Integrating micro frontends and host/container is highly essential. There are two different methods of integrating micro frontend; build-time integration and run-time integration. Both these types are elaborated on in the below section.

  • Build-Time Integration: The build-time integration is one of the most standard ways of implementing micro frontends. Here, the components will be installed as libraries by the container. However, it is complex to use different technologies in this integration method. In addition, syncing various build issues and library versions is a challenge. 

    The overall package of the frontend will be big as it will contain all the dependencies. For any change in dependency, the user has to deploy it again in build-time integration. 
  • Run-Time Integration: The run-time integration of the micro frontend consists of three different types; server-side, edge-side, and client-side composition.
    • Server-Side Composition: Server-side composition is found between the browser and the application server. Here, the micro frontends are cached at the content delivery network (CDN), where they are provided to the client at the build time.

      Furthermore, the micro frontends are composed by the server and served at the build time, assemble micro frontends and organize the final page. 

      The reason server-side composition is trendy is its ability to boost the load speed, improve the app’s sturdiness, and full assembly of the page before reaching the customer. 
    • Edge-Side Composition: At edge-side composition, the micro-frontends are retrieved from the origin as it accumulates the view at the CDN level. The result will be delivered to the client. This was brought into the industry to support the scaling of web infrastructure through a number of points of presence by the CDN network. 
    • Client-Side Composition: In client-side composition, the container is created and deployed independently, where every microfrontend is exposed as an individual package so that the container can extract the required microfrontend.

      Container and microfrontends do not share deployment or build as they are entirely de-coupled. Moreover, they use different technologies as well. When picking the version of the micro frontend to deploy, the final decision relies on the container itself. 

Popular Frameworks for Microfrontends.

Having a framework will give you a blueprint on the microfrontend and make its execution simpler. Knowing about the top micro frontend frameworks will allow you to pick the one that suits your team’s requirements. With that in mind, here are the leading microfrontend frameworks:

  • LuigiLuigi is one of the leading names in micro frontend frameworks. It is primarily far-famed for its capability to allow web apps to interact with their composed micro frontends directly. Moreover, it helps in decomposing monolithic web apps.

    Several configurations can be performed on various elements, including navigation, routing, UX authorization, and many others, to ensure that the interaction between the micro frontend and web apps remains flawless. With this framework, you can create an admin user interface as well. 
  • Webpack Module Federation PluginWebpack is a popular frontend framework, and the Webpack Module Federation Plugin is an addition to the existing framework, which is made specifically for the micro frontend. It is an open-source JavaScript module bundler that does not need any added overhead for systems using Webpack. 

    This framework can minimize the server requirement and package size to only required dependencies. With this micro frontend framework, you can dynamically import code to JavaScript apps from other apps. 
  • BitBit is a renowned microfrontend framework that can be used to create and manage frontends. It offers a component-driven CI/CD process to ensure every frontend attains a neutral yet quick build process.

    With this feature, several teams can execute changes to a project without any interruption or delay. Other features like a small defined API, independent teams, and pipelines ensure better workflow.

Best Practices for Microfrontends.

When it comes to attaining the right outcome, the experts’ past experience can be utilized to take the right action. Experts have curated a list of the best practices for microfrontend, and those practices are explained below.

1. Avoid Having Too Many Microfrontends:

Microfrontends divide the application into smaller manageable components. However, ensuring that the components are easier to manage yet maintain their value is ensuring you only create a few microfrontends. When numerous microfrontends are created, there is a high probability of making the app fragmented without having any necessary reasoning. All you have to do is create only the required micro frontends and fulfill the right needs.  

2. Browser Integration:

It is necessary to integrate several web components with the browser to create frontend fragments that can be imported to the app. Doing so will help the fragments in coupling with different back-end components. In addition, browser integration will allow more effortless merging of the building process with visual elements. 

3. Follow the Right Pace:

With the features and benefits micro frontends provide to the application, organizations put in all their efforts to migrate the apps from monolithic architecture to micro frontend. While migrating as quickly as possible, there is a high possibility of a lack of detail or error occurrence. Considering that fact, it is always recommended to follow the right pace and migrate slowly so that the error occurrence is minimal and every detail is well covered. 

4. Correct Micro Frontend Size:

The micro frontend should be sized correctly, or different issues can arise. For instance, if the micro frontend is too large, the app will not be connected properly. On the other hand, if it is bigger, the app will be more cohesive. Even though the right micro frontend size varies with the application requirements, it is necessary to find the right balance. The key is always ensuring that the micro frontend should serve a business purpose and that the right balance will be attained quickly.

Challenges Associated with Monolithic Architecture Solved by Microfrontends.

Undeniably, the micro frontend has become popular architecture in recent times due to the benefits it provides. Another reason behind this architecture’s rising acceptance is its solution to the major challenges associated with a monolithic architecture. For the uninitiated, here are the top challenges of using monolithic architecture and the solution provided by the micro frontend.

  • Organizations have to be very specific:- Organizations using monolithic architecture to develop their application must be highly specific in their requirements and design. The reason is the high deployment time with a monolithic architecture. Once the development begins, the room for innovation is very small as it will take a long time to deliver. 

    The solution provided by the micro frontend is the ability to roll back as deemed necessary. Whenever a new feature is released, and it does not function as desired, the developers can roll back quickly to the previous version, giving them vast room for innovation. 
  • Developer Experience: The developer must deploy a test ecosystem in a monolithic architecture to monitor and test the modules. Whenever such a module is created, it is necessary to create a new test ecosystem that may influence the developer experience. The micro frontend architecture has a feature based on import-maps overrides where the developers can test the module in the same browser where other apps are deployed. 
  • Lengthy Build Times: This task is complicated in monolithic architecture regarding releasing new builds as the build times are lengthy. Furthermore, pushing out new releases without communicating with other modules makes it complex.

    This challenge is easily tackled through microfrontends as minimal interdependency between the modules results in uncomplicated development and testing of modules. The rollback feature also allows the developer to fix any issues during the execution. 

Conclusively, micro frontends are a step further in making development easier and more efficient for developers. The micro frontend is highly similar to microservices as both follow the segregation of services. Even though the micro frontend is less popular than microservices, its benefits make it reach the mainstream development industry. 

Unlocking the Power of ThinkSys Microfrontend Services.

Implementing micro frontends to your development project is undoubtedly a step towards improving the process. However, professional assistance helps make the transition smoother and more efficient. ThinkSys can help you provide the best services related to the micro frontend. ThinkSys has offered custom software and QA solutions for over a decade, making it one of the most renowned names in the software development industry. 

Our professionals will evaluate your business goals, requirements, issues, and technology in the initial stage. After analyzing the factors, ThinkSys will begin splitting the app into different parts per the business logic. These parts will become the micro frontends of your software. Depending on the application type, industry, and goals, our experts will take the necessary action in the future for the best app based on micro frontends. 

  • Customized approach for every application.
  • 24X7 support for micro frontend apps.
  • Cross-platform app development.
  • Performing different types of software testing.
  • Software consulting service for a better outcome.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1: Is Microfrontend the future of development?

The micro frontend is becoming increasingly popular in the app development industry. It provides a better development experience, quick time to delivery, easy-to-manage components, and many other benefits.
One of the biggest reasons behind this architecture’s popularity is its solutions to the challenges faced in a monolithic architecture. With its rising popularity, it can be anticipated that the micro frontend indeed has a bright future.

Q2: Which organizations use Microfrontends?

Legions of organizations are using micro frontends, and the top names in the list are:
a. Zalando.
b. Spotify.
c. SoundCloud.
d. IKEA.
e. Upwork

Q3: What are the top Microfrontend frameworks?

Using the proper framework is necessary for effective micro-frontend development. The following are the top frameworks for micro frontends:
a. Luigi.
b. Webpack Module Federation Plugin.
c. Bit.

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