Micro Frontend Architecture: What It Is, Why It Matters, and What are the Benefits?

Micro Frontend Architecture is said to be the revolutionary approach that redefines frontend development. Let’s find out what it is, why it matters, and what benefits it offers for the frontend development of web apps.

4 min read
Dec 6, 2021

Micro Frontend Architecture has emerged as a promising solution to the large and inefficient monolithic frontends. It is considered to be a revolutionary approach for developing scalable web app frontends. The Micro Frontend Architecture is inspired by the concept of microservices where the monolithic codebase is broken into smaller parts.

Micro Frontend Architecture is a lucrative approach that extends the functionality of the frontend of web applications. Not only that, but it also brings many other advantages such as independent development, deployment, easy testing, etc.

This approach is widely recognized by the organizations facing bottlenecks at their frontends. Since the adoption of this method, they don’t have to meddle with the codebase more frequently, which reduces the effect of a few code changes or upgrades on the rest of the code.

The ashutec team presents a detailed view to shed light on what Micro Frontend Architecture is, why it matters, and what are the benefits of using it for enterprise web applications. So, without further ado let’s start.

What Is Micro Frontend Architecture?

Micro Frontend Architecture is a modern approach that breaks the monolithic codebase of the frontend into small pieces to address different parts of an application simultaneously. All those smaller pieces collectively help the frontend of software to work in harmony and offer a seamless user experience to end-users.

The best thing about this architectural approach is due to the codebase being split into small parts, it is easy to modify and scale up when necessary. Adopting such an architecture style ensures you don’t spend too many resources on the bloated frontend codebase when adding new features and functionalities.

Micro Frontend Architecture was introduced to overcome issues and complexities created by the monolithic frontend architecture for the data coming from the microservices backend.

Before that, a simple upgrade to microservices at the backend would require extensive changes in the frontend, which amounts to long and tedious work for developers. Sometimes, the situation would get out of hand and the only resolution would be a complete rework from scratch.

Micro Frontend development approach enables different specialized teams to take care of end-to-end development and deployment of various aspects of frontend architecture simultaneously. Further, it allows re-writing the individual parts of the frontend code without impacting the rest.

Why Micro Frontend Architecture Matters?

In this digital age, web applications have gone through significant reforms. With new apps coming to life, frontends are becoming bigger, larger, and complex in nature. Monolithic architecture is unsuitable for larger applications and is often unwieldy. It requires a tool to break down the code modules into smaller pieces.

That’s where micro frontends come into the picture. Most micro frontends are purely written on JavaScript or any JS-based framework for increased reusability, streamlined maintenance, faster build, design and deployment flexibility, and many more reasons.

Micro frontends today matter most as they are technology-independent, offer code isolation, favors native browser features over custom APIs, and resilient web design.

Benefits of Micro Frontend Architecture for Enterprise Web Applications

Micro Frontend Architecture puts emphasis on providing major benefits for enterprise application development. Here are some of the advantages:

1. Simple and Decoupled Codebase

As mentioned earlier, the codebase in the Micro Frontend Architecture is decoupled, meaning it is broken down into small parts. Coupled codes are a big problem with the monolithic frontend architecture that hinders the functioning of the whole application and user experience.

And since the individual parts in Micro Frontend architecture contain small pieces of code, they are much simpler and easier to work with.

This architectural approach eliminates undesirable coding habits while making the desirable ones imperative. Further, micro frontend architecture makes data and events flow between different parts of the application explicitly and deliberately, which should have been happening anyway.

2. Independent Deployment

Same as microservices, independent deployment is a key benefit of the micro frontend architecture. It minimizes the risk associated with the application as the scope of the deployment is reduced.

Further, micro frontends can have their own delivery pipeline from building, testing, and deploying to production. It doesn’t matter if you had fixed quarterly upgrades in old monolithic architecture. If one part of the micro frontend is ready to be deployed, it should go to production without any delay.

Meanwhile, the rest untouched frontend parts can function without experiencing any lag. This enables teams to focus on the issues precisely and make decisions effectively.

3. Automation

Automation is necessary whenever possible as the number of elements would increase significantly. With automation in place, you could easily optimize continuous integration and continuous delivery pipelines. It lets you focus on crucial jobs and save a bit of time in the process as well.

Since we already have the benefits of a decoupled codebase and control over release cycles, individual teams can work autonomously from product ideation to production and beyond.

Such an autonomous system, with a dedicated production and deployment pipeline, functions independently compared to monolithic systems. This essentially translates to the addition of agility, flexibility, and efficiency in autonomous teams.

4. Scalability

Another great advantage of having a decoupled codebase and modern architectural approach is the flexibility to upscale or downscale easily. Since the new upgrade or change in the existing micro frontend element won’t affect the rest, scaling your web application becomes effortless. This enables your enterprise to have the additional benefit of developing scalable frontends.

5. Streamlined Maintenance

Maintaining micro frontend architecture is a streamlined and straightforward process than monolithic. When a monolithic frontend grows enormous in size, maintenance of the app suffocates badly and becomes an awful task. The small and manageable parts of Micro Frontend make it effortless to carry out regular maintenance.

Conclusion

The codebase of the front layer of the web applications will continue to get larger in size as we progress further. Larger frontends tend to complicate changes, upgrades, and deployment pipelines and hinder the performance and user experience.

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