When building process-driven applications, a monolithic architecture can slow the development process, as well as limit the complexity of the functionality it can provide. In order to increase agility and embrace DevOps, developers must build applications with greater modularity.
In recent months, micro frontend has become something of a buzzword that is changing the way developers think about web application architectures.
A micro frontend can be defined as "an architectural style where independently deliverable frontend applications are composed into a greater whole" (Martin Fowler). Micro frontend architectures allow organizations to add new features and frontend functionality to their applications without affecting other parts of the code.
Here are five key benefits of using a micro frontend architecture when developing process-driven applications.
Micro frontends allow you to take a more iterative approach to updates
Micro frontends serve as the natural evolution of microservices and are aimed at decreasing the size and prominence of monoliths for greater flexibility in updates. Developing with microservices has done much to increase flexibility in updating backend functionalities without affecting other parts of the code. But for many, the frontend monolith had remained. This is where micro frontends prove incredibly useful.
The difference between microservices and micro frontends is that micro frontends extend the ability to build applications as separate parts of a whole from the database all the way to the HTML.
By using micro frontends, enterprises are better able to develop process-driven applications with user-centered business workflows more quickly and effectively. That’s because micro frontends can break up large-scale workflow systems into smaller components that make it easier to create, update, and implement changing business processes. This can result in improved consumer experience as well as more effective business process management.
This means that organizations can more quickly and safely update and upgrade UX associated with their business unit’s rules or processes without external side effects. This allows for more iterative updates, decreasing the cost and complexity of experimentation.
Micro frontends allow you to democratize user experience
User experience can oftentimes feel like the bane of a modern day development team. In a world where software is developed and released continuously, highly centralized UX can easily become a bottleneck. But where microservices democratized backend development, micro frontends enable this service-oriented culture to extend to every part of the development lifecycle.
Breaking up a frontend monolith provides enterprises an opportunity to more fully embrace a robust microservice-like philosophy. This approach allows cross-functional teams to work autonomously to deliver both frontend and backend capability. These teams are vertical in nature, focusing on delivering a particular use case or feature from start to finish, rather than focusing on providing a specialized skill set. This helps break down departmental silos in favor of better communication between backend and frontend developers, decreasing bottlenecks.
For example, when looking at a banking institution, different teams can be independently responsible for different aspects of the client onboarding process. One team can establish the workflow for creating an account and guiding a customer through establishing their profile and preferences. Some of those tasks may be automated, while others would be assigned to employees at various stages of the workflow and documented once completed.
On the other hand, another team may be responsible for processes involving the KYC aspects of onboarding, where data must be pulled from third-party services to verify the information given and comply with due diligence regulations. Still more teams may be empowered to create functionality around other client onboarding processes.
Micro frontends allow each of these teams to iterate independently at the pace of their ideas and their ability to execute them, rather than being held up by unnecessary organizational barriers. Every aspect of a process can be continually improved to provide better case management and automatization of business workflows.
Micro frontend codebases can be smaller, more manageable
Micro frontends by nature should have smaller codebases than frontend monoliths. This decoupled code is generally easier to navigate, and developers are less likely to make mistakes due to complexity.
In addition to greater accuracy, developers are often able to work through the code more quickly and with less strain. This is particularly important when building process-driven applications that may already require complicated workflows to be developed.
Micro frontends promote reusability across process and case management
Micro frontends are a particular benefit for enterprises that build multiple applications that have some common workflow needs. By using this architecture, enterprises can take case management functionalities and extract common elements to save time and effort when creating new workflows.
For example, if an enterprise has multiple sites that require a workflow for payment processing and the various automated business processes it triggers, they are able to use the same functionality across their applications, rather than building them from scratch every time.
This reusability can help save organizations a considerable amount of effort and money over the course of time by leveraging the ability to design and develop a frontend functionality once and reuse it in a variety of contexts.
Micro frontends help you rapidly develop different views of your processes relevant to each person’s role
When developing process-driven applications, it’s important to assign different roles and permissions to the various personas that will have a part to play in the workflow, allowing each person to view only the information relevant to their role in the current stage of the workflow. This will create more streamlined and efficient user experiences. And with micro frontends, developers are more quickly able to develop the different views for each person’s unique role.
Developing micro frontend components that can be configured and assembled onto a page with common actionable tasks and statuses (such as "open," "in progress," and "approved") accelerate development efforts over time.
Instead of building a single page application for each user role, a micro frontend architecture enables you to make changes more quickly in order to fit various roles. It’s also easier to update these reusable elements as you respond to the needs of your users and changes in your business processes.
Build process-driven applications with Entando and Red Hat Process Automation
Entando is an open source micro frontend platform for enterprises to build modern web applications on Kubernetes. With its microservice and micro frontend architecture, Entando allows enterprises to more quickly innovate and iteratively update user experiences. The platform also includes code generation features that allow developers to automatically generate micro frontends and then assemble them onto a single page.
Entando is also integrated with Red Hat Process Automation Manager (PAM), allowing you to develop process-driven applications with micro frontends to augment your team’s ability to implement custom business workflows.
Entando is built on top of PAM’s robust business process management capabilities, with a catalog of micro frontend widgets to expose key views of the PAM workflow that can be used horizontally across a variety of business use cases. Learn more here.