Developers
June 11, 2020

Microservices and Modern Development: How Microservices Have Changed the Industry

A relatively new trend in software development, microservices are an important part of modern programming methods.
Source: Pixabay

While they may not get the high-profile recognition of other development trends, microservices are a critical component of modern development. Microservices offer a number of benefits to organizations, helping them make far better use of their apps, platforms, services and cloud computing options.

What Are Microservices

Put simply, microservices is a term that describes applications comprised of multiple, smaller services all working together. This is in direct contrast to a monolithic application that is comprised of a single, large program.

Microservices are closely related to service-oriented architecture (SOA), although there are differences. In SOA, the emphasis is on disparate services being able to communicate with each other, using a loose coupling method. These applications can then work together, or provide functionality and data, one to another.

Microservices, in contrast, is a variant of SOA that emphasizes creating a larger application or service, with the individual microservices making up the components.

Advantages of Microservices

There are a number of advantages involved in the use of microservices, especially in cloud-based services and platforms.

In many ways, microservices are an extension of the UNIX style of computing, where the emphasis is on each element doing one thing, and doing it very well. Microservices takes this same approach, with each individual component focused on one thing or a few related things. As a result, each element tends to do what it’s designed for, and do it efficiently.

One of the biggest advantages of microservices is the scalability. With traditional software development, where an application is monolithic in nature, it can be very difficult to update and maintain the app as it continues to grow. Even worse, new features or functionality in one aspect of the app can have unintended consequences in another.

In addition, deploying updates to a monolithic app often requires taking the entire app offline while the upgrade is performed. This can result in significant downtime and expense for what should be routine development and maintenance.

In contrast, because each microservice is a contained element, developers can improve, debug and upgrade individual services independent of the rest. This, in turn, provides a number of benefits.

First and foremost, it helps keep applications from becoming so large and complex that developers struggle to maintain them, let alone continue to add features to them.

In addition, microservices help provide language independence. In most cases, traditional applications are written in a single language. Even if they include scripting, or specific elements that were created using another language, they are still largely written using a single language.

Microservices open the door to use whatever language is right for the tasks at hand. Because each microservice is its own entity, each one can be written in the best language for the job, while the individual microservices continue to work together.

Because each component is self-contained, it also makes it easier to develop, test and deploy new features and bug patches without the risk of taking down the entire application.

It should be evident by now that microservices fit perfectly into an agile workflow. According to the Agile Manifesto, its principles include:

We are uncovering better ways of developing

software by doing it and helping others do it.

Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Working software over comprehensive documentation

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

Few developers would argue that microservices represent a ‘better way of developing’ and ‘working software over comprehensive documentation.’ Microservices represents the epitome of ‘working software.’

Challenges of Microservices

One of the biggest challenges related to microservices is establishing guidelines on exactly how big they should grow.

As with anything, for best results, there needs to be a balance between keeping services separated and not making it so granular that it becomes tedious, not to mention a drain on runtime resources.

The Takeaway

Microservices are an important part of modern development. Especially with the rise of cloud computing, microservices provide a way for developers and companies to rapidly respond to changes by developing, testing and deploying specific components as needed. They also give companies the flexibility they need to work on new features and services without risking existing functionality.

As microservices continue to gain in popularity, developers will continue releasing tools that make it easier for companies to take advantage of this trend.

As important as they already are, as more and more companies move to the cloud, microservices will likely become the de facto standard for how new applications are built.

TagsMicroservicesService-Oriented Architecture
Matt Milano
Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

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DevelopersJune 11, 2020
Microservices and Modern Development: How Microservices Have Changed the Industry
A relatively new trend in software development, microservices are an important part of modern programming methods.

While they may not get the high-profile recognition of other development trends, microservices are a critical component of modern development. Microservices offer a number of benefits to organizations, helping them make far better use of their apps, platforms, services and cloud computing options.

What Are Microservices

Put simply, microservices is a term that describes applications comprised of multiple, smaller services all working together. This is in direct contrast to a monolithic application that is comprised of a single, large program.

Microservices are closely related to service-oriented architecture (SOA), although there are differences. In SOA, the emphasis is on disparate services being able to communicate with each other, using a loose coupling method. These applications can then work together, or provide functionality and data, one to another.

Microservices, in contrast, is a variant of SOA that emphasizes creating a larger application or service, with the individual microservices making up the components.

Advantages of Microservices

There are a number of advantages involved in the use of microservices, especially in cloud-based services and platforms.

In many ways, microservices are an extension of the UNIX style of computing, where the emphasis is on each element doing one thing, and doing it very well. Microservices takes this same approach, with each individual component focused on one thing or a few related things. As a result, each element tends to do what it’s designed for, and do it efficiently.

One of the biggest advantages of microservices is the scalability. With traditional software development, where an application is monolithic in nature, it can be very difficult to update and maintain the app as it continues to grow. Even worse, new features or functionality in one aspect of the app can have unintended consequences in another.

In addition, deploying updates to a monolithic app often requires taking the entire app offline while the upgrade is performed. This can result in significant downtime and expense for what should be routine development and maintenance.

In contrast, because each microservice is a contained element, developers can improve, debug and upgrade individual services independent of the rest. This, in turn, provides a number of benefits.

First and foremost, it helps keep applications from becoming so large and complex that developers struggle to maintain them, let alone continue to add features to them.

In addition, microservices help provide language independence. In most cases, traditional applications are written in a single language. Even if they include scripting, or specific elements that were created using another language, they are still largely written using a single language.

Microservices open the door to use whatever language is right for the tasks at hand. Because each microservice is its own entity, each one can be written in the best language for the job, while the individual microservices continue to work together.

Because each component is self-contained, it also makes it easier to develop, test and deploy new features and bug patches without the risk of taking down the entire application.

It should be evident by now that microservices fit perfectly into an agile workflow. According to the Agile Manifesto, its principles include:

We are uncovering better ways of developing

software by doing it and helping others do it.

Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Working software over comprehensive documentation

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

Few developers would argue that microservices represent a ‘better way of developing’ and ‘working software over comprehensive documentation.’ Microservices represents the epitome of ‘working software.’

Challenges of Microservices

One of the biggest challenges related to microservices is establishing guidelines on exactly how big they should grow.

As with anything, for best results, there needs to be a balance between keeping services separated and not making it so granular that it becomes tedious, not to mention a drain on runtime resources.

The Takeaway

Microservices are an important part of modern development. Especially with the rise of cloud computing, microservices provide a way for developers and companies to rapidly respond to changes by developing, testing and deploying specific components as needed. They also give companies the flexibility they need to work on new features and services without risking existing functionality.

As microservices continue to gain in popularity, developers will continue releasing tools that make it easier for companies to take advantage of this trend.

As important as they already are, as more and more companies move to the cloud, microservices will likely become the de facto standard for how new applications are built.

Microservices
Service-Oriented Architecture
About the author
Matt Milano -Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

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