How to Migrate from Monolithic to Micro Frontend Architecture?

Posted by Palak · 10 Nov, 2022 · 7 Min read
How to Migrate from Monolithic to Micro Frontend Architecture?

When a business begins to expand its operations, it introduces more complicated features and functionality into its modules. The immediate result is developing a large, unsustainable, and complex software. When there are several hundred thousand lines of code in a module, handling a single monolithic Frontend module becomes challenging. Therefore, to make it less chaotic and easier to manage, we migrate from Monolith to Micro Frontend Architecture.

Micro-frontends are a new design pattern for front-end applications that aim to improve efficiency by splitting the front end into smaller, more manageable pieces. This new architecture helps teams work more efficiently and increases the global performance of the application.

In addition, there is another explanation for why we might want to migrate from Monolith to micro-frontend - to improve scalability in our business. Micro-frontend architecture is the most viable option for developing modern web applications and achieving greater scalability. Frontend developers look for agility and stability, both of which are offered by micro-frontend architecture.

Now let’s address some of the major questions that arise when migrating from monolithic to micro-Frontend architecture.

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

Start-ups and growing organizations with a particular future goal should go for micro-Frontend architecture over monolithic architecture. The micro-frontend architecture will enable a company to perform business more efficiently and effectively.

Also, Read: Monolith vs Microservices Architecture

When Should You Migrate from Monolithic to Micro Frontend Architecture?

Micro-frontends can be a great solution to upgrade a business from a monolithic architecture - which can help eliminate issues like bottlenecks and codebase anomalies. Modular development will also reduce the side effects of upgrades and modifications, meaning that developing a new mobile app from scratch might not be necessary. Instead, one can focus on refactoring their software to migrate the architecture.

5 Ways to Implement Migration from Monolithic to Micro Frontend Architecture

There are five primary ways to implement the migration to the micro frontend architecture:

  1. Run-time through web components
  2. Run-time through JavaScript
  3. Run-time through iframes
  4. Build-time integration
  5. Server-side components

One can always take the help of a software development company to help implement any of these ways to upgrade web applications with micro-Frontend architecture.

Top Challenges of Monolithic Architecture Tackled by Micro Frontend Architecture

Micro-Frontend architecture is almost a complete remedy for the shortcomings of monolithic architecture. Below is the list of challenges that monolithic architecture poses and the subsequent solution that micro-frontend architecture provides.

1. Challenge: In monolithic architecture, the lengthier build times cause difficulty in letting out a new release without the need to coordinate with other modules.

Solution: With micro frontend architecture, the interdependency between modules is minimized to a non-existent level. As a result, developing and testing micro frontend modules is made easier. Moreover, when a function is unable to execute as required, it will be easier to revert to the historical versions. Moreover, the micro front-end functions without blocking the entire architecture. This characteristic helps attain speedier deployment of a new module and more flexibility in scheduling a new release.

2. Challenge: Organizations who aspire to innovate their applications often have to be very specific with what they want, as the deployment time with monolithic architecture is very high. This makes the possibility of innovating very scarce as it would imply a longer time to market.

Solution: The primary advantage of having the micro-frontend architecture is its rollback functionality- when a new function or feature doesn’t operate as intended, the frontend developers can promptly roll back to the previous version easily. Therefore, organizations are more tuned to the frequency of innovation. Consequently, the introduction of the latest technologies and experimentation with its feasibility and agility with the organization’s application is facilitated.

3. Challenge: Understanding a scaling up monolithic architecture can be very complicated and daunting. It forms an intricate system of codes all within a single application. Therefore, front-end developers often have to face struggles in managing the assets in monolith architecture. It becomes difficult to coordinate and do parallel work between the teams owing to the fact that the codebase is shared. Given this massive codebase in architecture, managing and coordinating assets has become a tough job.

Solution: Microservices architecture breaks the large complex module into multiple independent units that are interconnected but not interdependent. Hence a minor modification in the module would not require you to change the rest of the modules too. Consequently, the lightweight mechanism is made much more convenient to perceive and put into a graphical asset. This helps other developers in the team to better understand the organizational work process and carry out the implementation of the new modules.

4. Challenge: In a monolithic architecture, we must deploy a distinguished test ecosystem to monitor and frequently test the modules. In addition, each time a new module is created, we need to construct a subsequent new test ecosystem. This shortcoming in monolithic architecture, therefore, impairs the developer experience.

Solution: With micro-Frontend architecture, we can avail of an important feature based on import-maps overrides. This feature allows front-end developers to test a new micro frontend module in the same browser where the rest of the applications have been deployed.

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

The idea of micro-Frontend architecture stands very relevant for current-day web applications as it provides a robust solution to many of the challenges faced by multiple front-end development. But, it is also essential to understand that improper or ineffective migration of the monolithic architecture to the micro frontend can only further impair and add challenges to the development cycle of the web application.

Before implementing a micro-Frontend architecture, it is crucial to ensure that all the necessary elements are considered in the planning stage. This will help ensure a smooth and successful implementation.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when choosing a micro-frontend framework for your project to improve your time to market:

  • Team size: Moving from monolithic to microservice architecture requires you to scale up your team size from a smaller to a larger team. In the case of monolithic architecture, we can have a small team that will take care of all the modules in a single space. This small team size would facilitate better coordination and communication. However, in the case of micro frontends, it is crucial to expand the team base with different teams so that the frontend developers can ensure the smooth functioning of various applications and modules as a whole.
  • Communication amid components: When choosing micro frontends, all codes relevant to any particular component should be stored in the Custom Element, which uses Document Object Model (DOM) to relay all crucial information between various components. It is important to leverage element attributes to foster seamless communication between multiple components. Even when modules are independent, it is essential to communicate between them to attain better application functionality.
  • Component division strategy: By isolating the component codes, micro frontends allow the software development team to scale, upgrade, or convert different components without requiring much upfront investment. As a result, it is crucial to effectively divide the web components and assign a team to a child component and another to a shared component. Moreover, it will also be possible to choose which all components need to be sliced and which can go without. Therefore it will be possible to turn monolithic architecture into micro Frontend architecture without needing to slice it down too thin.
  • Usability of framework: There are a variety of micro-Frontend frameworks, including Luigi, Bit, Single SPA, SystemJS, Mosaic 9, Federation module, and more. However, it is vital not to get daunted by this massive array of options and instead select the most appropriate framework that would best help us realize our ultimate goals. Each framework has its advantages and disadvantages; therefore, the architecture for which a framework is a perfect fit for one development system might not be that effective for others. Consequently, it is necessary to carefully pick a framework to strengthen the web application development approach.

Also, Read: Microservices in NestJS: How to build it?

Conclusion

Overall, the benefits of micro-frontend implementation are significant and outweigh the drawbacks by a long shot. That's why most organizations prefer micro-frontend architecture over monolithic architecture. However, if you want to migrate from a monolithic architecture to a micro-frontend one, it's also essential to know the best practices.

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