Why look beyond monolithic architecture and towards micro frontend architecture?

Let me explain.

No business person enters into the industry with a limited vision. The plan is to grow, expand, and lead the pack. Hence, a small-sized team, fewer functionalities, and lesser modules can only take you so far in your industry. To put this into perspective, with the introduction of advanced features, complexity in the software begins to rise. As a result, handling a single monolithic frontend module becomes difficult, owing to the interdependence of modules.

Growth in a business should make the way forward simpler. If not, it makes processes chaotic. Hence, we are talking about moving to micro frontend architecture.

This explanation is the simplest and most logical reason I can think of for moving from monolithic to micro frontend architecture.

Another wisest reason to make an easy choice between monolithic and micro frontend architecture is scalability.

In order to achieve scalability and develop a modern web application, micro frontend architecture is a viable solution. Among the other frontend development strategies, frontend developers seek agility and stability, which is offered by micro frontend architecture. Hence, the next sane step you can take is to migrate from monolithic to micro frontend architecture.

Let’s address some frequently asked questions to get more clarity about the architecture.

Who should Opt to Migrate from Monolithic to Micro Frontend Architecture?

Growing organizations and startups with a focused future objective should prefer micro frontend architecture over monolithic architecture for business ease.

When Should One Opt to Migrate from Monolithic to Micro Frontend Architecture?

If you have launched your business built with a monolithic architecture but wish to upgrade your business, you should opt to transition to micro frontend architecture. It can help you eliminate bottlenecks as well as anomalies. It is a modular approach to effectively reduce the effect of modifications and upgrades on the codebase. Hence, the solution is to not develop a mobile application from scratch but to refactor your software to migrate your architecture.

What are the Ways to Implement Migration from Monolithic to Micro Frontend Architecture?

There are five ways to implement the architecture–run-time through web components, run-time through JavaScript, run-time through iframes, build-time integration, and server-side components. You can outsource a software development company to implement your micro frontend architecture in your web applications.

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Top Challenges of Monolithic Architecture Tackled by Micro Frontend Architecture

Micro frontend architecture acts as a panacea to the shortcomings of monolithic architecture. Below are some obvious benefits offered over the monolithic architecture:

Deployment:

Monolithic Architecture As a Challenge: Micro frontend Architecture as a Solution:
With monolithic architecture, the build times are lengthier and it causes difficulty to let out a new release without having to coordinate with other modules. With micro frontend architecture, the interdependency between modules is low or can be even said to be non-existent. As a result, it becomes easier to develop as well as test multiple micro frontend modules. In addition to this, it is also easy to roll back to the historic versions when a function does not execute as required.

In addition to this, it does not block the complete architecture. As a result, it is speedier to deploy a new module, and even the scheduling of a new release becomes more flexible.

Innovation:

Monolithic Architecture As a Challenge: Micro frontend Architecture as a Solution:
Since the deployment time with monolithic architecture is more, organizations aspiring to innovate their applications have to be very specific in what they want. There is a scarce possibility to innovate as it would mean a longer time to market. One of the best advantages of working with this architecture is the rollback functionality. If a new feature or functionality does not operate as intended, frontend developers can quickly roll back it to the previous version. Here’s a win-win.

As a result, organizations can introduce the latest technology and experiment with its agility and feasibility with their applications, thereby tuning them to the frequency of innovation.

Graphical Asset Management:

Monolithic Architecture As a Challenge: Micro frontend Architecture as a Solution:
When it comes to understanding a scaling up monolithic architecture, it sparks complexity. It turns up into a complex system of codes that too within a single application. Frontend developers often struggle to manage assets in a monolith architecture Owing to the shared codebase, it becomes difficult to achieve parallel work between teams. Given the large codebase in monolith architecture, developers often find it difficult to manage assets and coordinate with the other teams. Microservices architecture breaks the modules down into independent units. Though these are interconnected, they are not interdependent. Hence, a modification in a module does not mean coordinating the change with the other modules.

As a result, the lightweight mechanism is easy to perceive and put into a graphical asset to help other developers in the team understand the workflow and carry out the implementation of newer modules.

Testing:

Monolithic Architecture As a Challenge: Micro frontend Architecture as a Solution:
With monolithic architecture, the deployment of a distinguished test ecosystem is necessary for testing the modules. Furthermore, for every new module created, monolithic architecture requires a new test ecosystem, thereby affecting the developer experience. With micro frontend architecture, there is an interesting feature on the basis of the import-maps overrides. The feature enables frontend developers to carry out the testing of a new micro frontend module in the same browser where all the other modules from the application are deployed.

With this feature of the micro frontend architecture, developers need not establish a separate test ecosystem. They can use the already deployed application for overriding the module they need to replace. As a result, micro frontend architecture offers the seamless testing ability.

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Top Things to Consider Before Choosing a Micro Frontend Framework for your Project

The concept of micro frontend architecture stands relevant for modern-day web applications and on reasonable grounds. It is a robust solution for multiple frontend development challenges. However, it is important to know that improper implementation of the migration from monolithic to micro frontend architecture can only add more woes to your development lifecycle. As a result, it is crucial for you to know the proper way to implement a micro frontend architecture.

In this section, I have highlighted top ways to consider before selecting a micro frontend framework for your project and improve your time to market:

  • Team Size:

When you are moving from monolithic to microservice architecture, it often implies shifting from a smaller team to a larger team. When it comes to monolithic architecture, you can have a small team taking care of all the modules in one place. 

The small size of the team means effective communication and coordination. However, when it comes to moving to the micro frontends, you should look at expanding your team with different teams of frontend developers to ensure the proper functioning of different modules and applications as a whole.

  • Communication Amid Components:

When it comes to choosing micro frontends, all codes pertaining to a single component should be stored inside the Custom Element. It uses DOM to relay important information between different components. It is crucial for you to leverage element attributes for enabling effective communication between different types of components. 

When there is no declarative approach, the object references are merely lost in the transition. Hence, you should ensure that though the modules are independent of each other, they still have communication between them for imparting better functionality to the application.

  • Component Division Strategy:

Through the isolation of the component codes, micro frontends enable the software development teams to upgrade, scale, or convert different components without incurring any kind of upfront investment. As a result, it is crucial to assign a team a child component and other team shared components. This is one of the effective ways to slice your web components.

In addition to this, you can also take a call as to which components need to be sliced into web components and which ones can do without it. As a result, you will be able to turn the monolithic architecture into a micro frontend architecture without having to slice it too thin.

  • Usability of Framework:

From Bit to Luigi, SystemJS, Single SPA, Federation module, Mosaic 9, and more, there are different kinds of micro frontend frameworks. However, the trick is to not get overwhelmed about it and select the most appropriate framework to realize your ultimate goal.

Each of these frameworks has its own set of pros and cons. As a result, an architecture that is perfect for one development ecosystem may not work for another scenario. Ensure that you choose frameworks that strengthen your web application development approach.

  • CSR or SSR Approach:

These are the times when search engine optimization is a key to taking your business to the next level in your industry. As a result, you need to ensure the proper functioning of your server-side rendering as well as a progressive enhancement for the frontend applications.

In cases when search engine optimization is not that much of an issue, you should look for client-side rendering. You should define your ideal goals even before you proceed with the implementation of micro frontends. When you are well versed with your goals, you can choose the frameworks and processes that most definitely fit your goals.

What are the Top Successful Companies Relying on Micro Frontend Architecture?

Micro frontends are to the frontend side of the application what microservices are to the backend side of the application. These are revolutionizing the way organizations change their team structures for delivering a modern user experience. The pathway leading to this scalability is through the migration from monolithic to micro frontend architecture.

By slicing monolithic applications into smaller frontend components, enterprises can streamline their development lifecycle even while they watch their organization evolve and grow. That is because the micro frontends enable small teams to deliver specific parts of the functionalities from the rest of the web application. As a result, the cross-team dependency decreases.

Given this ease of business execution, companies are readily planning a migration from monolithic to micro frontend architecture in their web applications. Below are some of the successful companies that have implemented the migration from monolithic to micro frontend architecture:

  • IKEA:

The popular European furniture company has employed the migration of monolithic to micro frontend architecture in order to improve the customer experience. As a result, IKEA is able to split a system vertically for creating self-contained systems through both frontend and backend developed by the same team.

  • DAZN:

DAZN is a leading sports streaming service, founded in Europe. It has spread its operational facility to nine countries across the world. The chief architect working at DAZN is a significant advocate of micro frontends. It has empowered smaller teams at DAZN to work independently. In addition to this, it also enables organizations to pick up with speed and strike innovation within their business space.

  • Upwork:

Upwork is one of the most popular platforms for independent business professionals to connect and collaborate with job seekers. Upwork switched to the micro frontend architecture in 2017 to modernize the overall user experience.

  • HelloFresh:

HelloFresh is among the top international meal-kit company situated in Berlin. It caters to the customers as the largest meal-kit service provider in the United States. The development teams working at HelloFresh found monolith frontend as a barrier to innovation, explaining the switch to micro frontend architecture.

  • Zalando:

Zalando is a key eCommerce company, situated in Germany. However, they have more functions than to simply sell products. In order to have a seamless customer experience, it recently paved the migration of monolithic to micro frontend architecture for large-sized websites.

Best Practices to Migrate Monolithic to Micro Frontend Architecture

In order to implement the migration of monolithic to micro frontend architecture for your project, you need to know the best practices.

1) Ensure that the core, as well as the integration, are in their simplest form in micro frontend architecture.

2) Use a style guide such as material design or Bootstrap to standardize the UI/UX design principles.

3) While you are migrating the monolith architecture to micro frontends, ensure that your communication between your development teams is seamless. This communication helps reduce conflicts and have standards while different teams work on a particular product.

A web application that aspires to grow definitely has to encounter multiple issues. However, splitting the code between teams ensure fast implementation of the latest technology and deliver a great experience to end users.

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