There is always more than one single way to skin a cat.
The world of mobile app development is somewhat similar. Whenever you are about to get cracking on a new project, fixing on the right architecture could be a tough choice. There’s the traditional Monolithic Architecture and then, there are Microservices – the newest way to write and ship codes.
According to Red Hat, 69% of clients choose Microservices to work on new as well as existing mobile apps. We have also heard from Camuda how 63% of companies are using the latter. Their survey conducted across 354 enterprises reveals the top benefits to be as follows:
- Improved efficiency of employees
- Improved experience for the end-user
- Savings on infrastructure and development tools.
Despite all that, it is ‘decisions, decisions!’
So, how are Microservices better than Monolithic Architecture? Let’s talk about it.
What is Microservices Architecture?
When mobile app developers create discrete parts of the application instead of a single one, the concept is known as microservices architecture.
The idea is to combine the separate parts to come up with a single outcome. Each component is deployed separately and has its own process to run.
Lightweight APIs are implemented for the different components to work together with each other. For large-scale app development projects that are super complicated, this one is a great choice. The components are not dependent on each other; one can be changed without affecting the other.
What is Monolithic Architecture?
The conventional way of developing mobile apps, Monolithic Architecture is the concept of connecting all parts of the application to each other.
The components are interdependent. One goes wrong and affects the function of the others and eventually the end product.
Every Monolithic Architecture comes in three parts:
- Client-side user interface
- App server-side
A single code base is used to bring together back-end, front-end as well as background tasks. If anything needs to be changed, the entire stack has to be developed and deployed.
If you compare the two, Microservices Architecture seems like an easier option, isn’t it?
Use Microservices Architecture when…
- You want to develop a new mobile app from scratch.
- An existing app requires new functionalities.
- There’s a legacy application that needs refactoring.
Top Benefits of Microservices Architecture
As we discussed earlier, apps built using Microservices Architecture are a combination of discrete parts. This makes them easier to test and maintain.
Eventually, the convenience works in favor of companies in terms of increased productivity via improved workflows.
Especially, if it is about building complex enterprise mobile apps, this is the right way to do. Additionally, Microservices Architecture comes with the following benefits:
Because each component in Microservices Architectures is isolated, the overall structure exhibits strong resilience especially during updates.
This means if one component fails to work, there’s always a window of opportunity to use another without the downtime. Also, the entire app need not be changed to correct that one defunct component.
The individual components in a mobile app built using Microservices Architecture are easy to understand. Even the tiniest piece of functionality can be deciphered without much effort.
This makes it feasible for a company to expand its team of developers based on different skill sets. After all, the entire team doesn’t have to break its head in understanding one complex Monolithic app.
When you are implementing the Microservices Architecture, you get to implement the right tools for the right tasks. Each component can be built using a programming language or framework that is meant for it.
Best part? The discrete components are still capable of working with each other without glitches. Such agility is not common in Monolithic apps.
Once again, because the components are discrete in Microservices Architecture apps, they can be scaled up or down as required following their unique specifications.
Further, because of the resilience of the isolated components, scalability is more effective, especially if the app is supposed to work across diverse platforms and devices.
Microservices means faster app development. Why? – Because the components in such apps work independently instead of inter-dependently. This is a huge benefit where codebases need not be altered to add, delete, or modify app features.
It is just enough to change the specific components as required and then test and deploy it separately without disrupting the functionality of the app. Thus, there’s no downtime and the changes can be implemented without delay.
Technology is always changing. To that end, there’s a new mobile device coming up every day. Microservices Architecture befits developers who are unsure about the device their mobile app will run on.
The concept offers them the liberty to make quick, controlled upgrades without bringing the app to a standstill, ergo faster time-to-market.
Small, discrete components are easier to debug and maintain. They warrant less time to implement changes, thus helping in saving costs and reducing labor. Also, detecting and fixing errors is easier without affecting the whole app.
The Disadvantages of Microservices Architecture
The only downside of using Microservices Architecture lies in the components being discrete.
For instance, a team working on such an app and implementing varied coding languages, libraries and framework can easily get jumbled.
The independence could, in fact, incapacitate the developers, thus creating mayhem. Security, high memory usage, load balancing issues, and network latency are other issues which tag along.
Nevertheless, this is the best option for apps that are large, complex and planned to be scaled in near future.
4 Questions to Ask Before Opting for Microservices Architecture
Before you jump onto the bandwagon and begin your app development project using Microservices Architecture, ask yourself these three vital questions:
What is the Level of Independence Your App Seeks?
To what extent do you want the services of your application to remain independent? This level can be defined in three layers of Microservices Architectures:
Extreme: where each service comes with its unique UI and database and the functions are not merged with each other.
Semi: where a single database shares certain components and the functions are not completely independent of each other.
Normal: where the main services unmerged, but the branch services remain merged.
How to Keep the Code Organized?
The ways are many. However, the best of the lot would be to create a single repository known as ‘mono repo’ for all the services in your application. Don’t forget you need to have folders for each of these services.
Which Technology Benefits the Microservices Architecture?
This is important. You must make sure the tools you choose work with the Microservices Architecture. This apart, the following aspects need to be considered as well:
- Operational complexity
- Continuous delivery
- Team organization
How to Keep Up With the Post-production Needs?
Any Microservices Architecture solution for mobile app development should focus on the following aspects:
- Cross platform support
- Code reusability
- Code maintenance
- Data persistence on native database
- Data persistence on non-native database
- User session management
- Push notification management
- User experience
- Integration with native code
How to Implement Microservices Architecture on Android and iOS?
Step 1: Think about whether your business really needs it.
Step 2: If yes, analyze the existing infrastructure.
Step 3: Prepare your team for adopting the technique.
Step 4: If you are shifting from monolithic to microservices, cross check with your data admin if they are well informed and understand the task.
Step 5: Choose the coding language and framework.
Step 6: Set up the base architecture with services, containers and virtual machine templates.
Step 7: If yours is a Monolithic Architecture, split the database into many smaller databases.
Step 8: Implement the API gateways.
Step 9: Monitor and map the monitoring.
Step 10: Perform automation testing.
Be a Footstep Follower!
Need inspiration? Check out these top companies that have successfully implemented Microservices Architecture in building their mobile app.
- The Guardian
Implementing Microservices Architecture for mobile app development is a trend that is here to stay. Because it is constantly evolving, prepare to see greater innovations in the coming years. Speed, reliability, and scalability are three prime reasons why companies prefer this solution to traditional Monolithic Architecture more and more.
Further, for investors, Microservices Architecture is being seen as an incredible solution for mission-critical tasks in app development.
With businesses entering a new era of cutthroat competitiveness, this is a technique that promises to simplify things and make life easier for developers without negatively affecting the bottom line.
In this article, we’ve tried to explore the many aspects of Microservices Architecture and its potential in the field of mobile app development.
Competition is not always about doing something better than someone; it is also about opting for simplified solutions so you’re one step ahead of the rest. We believe, with Microservices Architecture, this is possible.