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Micro-frontends: drive agility and innovation in large-scale apps

Micro-frontends: drive agility and innovation in large-scale apps

Ivan Burzakovskyi
Frontend Team Lead

Frontend development is traditionally a monolithic process. Your company will set up one team to develop an application's user experience. While this approach works — and might even be optimal, depending on your circumstances — it's worth considering whether an alternative might suit your requirements better.

By breaking up the components of an application's experience and developing them separately, you can introduce new levels of efficiency and flexibility to your app team. The micro-frontends approach, much like the microservices trend in backend development, is designed to create a faster, simpler experience for your engineers while creating a product your various user groups will enjoy.

Despite its advantages, micro-frontend development isn't the right method for all cases. Does it suit you? Learn more about it to make the call for yourself.

What is micro-frontend architecture?

Micro-frontends are separate components of an app's frontend experience, each developed separately. This modular approach allows you to put separate teams on each different view or section of an app, providing discrete services or serving different audiences.

The separate app experiences developed through micro-frontends can be divided up by user profile, behavior or function. The process closely resembles the trend of using microservices for backend development — the key concept is decentralization. Parts of an app that would traditionally be handled in a large, monolithic style are now compartmentalized.

While the separate teams shouldn't lose touch with one another, as they are working toward unified goals, they are now freer to pursue development in their own ways. This enables a quicker roll-out of new features, as well as faster responses to user feedback. Certain parts of the app ecosystem can now receive updates without compromising the stability of the whole.

Users benefit, because they receive new app functionality on a faster, more responsible cadence. They also gain access to stable, reliable app infrastructure. It should be noted that these advantages are only available if your company manages the development process effectively. A failure to implement best practices can result in unintended effects like integration problems and inconsistent app performance.

Use cases: good vs. bad candidates

Breaking down the pros and cons of micro-frontends will help you make the decision whether to use this method for your development project. Before even checking those benefits and drawbacks, however, there are a few simple checks you can make to decide immediately whether your company is a good candidate for micro-frontend development.

Good candidates

Your company is likely a good fit for micro-frontend architecture if:

Bad candidates

Your business should likely think twice about engaging in micro-frontend development if:

Pros and cons of micro-frontend usage

If you're still curious about putting micro-frontend solutions to work in your application, it's time to focus on the beneficial and negative effects that affect companies when they use this methodology. Both the positives and negatives stem from the same concept: Frontend development was once one process, and now it's many, working in tandem.

Advantages

Diving an application team into multiple groups, each tackling a different aspect of the frontend, changes the math behind several of the most common development priorities and processes. Rather than overseeing one monumental piece of tech, engineers are focusing on independent parts of the job. This releases them from some of the limitations that come with scale, with results including:

Challenges

Of course, such a radical approach to application development isn't guaranteed to deliver success. The standard method of frontend development evolved as it did because it provides a simple, straightforward process. Adapting these methods to embrace micro-frontend methods means coping with a whole new style of engineering, with knock-on effects for both team management and general app upkeep. Negative consequences to watch out for include:

If your organization is prepared to conquer the challenges inherent to micro-frontend development, it can begin shifting over. Taking a thoughtful approach to adopting the methodology will give your business the best possible chance of realizing the benefits.

How do micro-frontends work in practice?

Looking at micro-frontend development as a theory can only take you so far. You can examine its likely impact — and the real effect it's had on major companies — to learn more about its potential and prospects.

How have real companies used micro-frontends in action?

Some organizations having success by dividing up their app development include:

How should you handle change management?

Starting to use a micro-frontend model requires well-considered change management best practcies. So many of your internal processes will have to shift; this level of focus is the most straightforward way to get results. Priorities to address include:

Why work with experts on micro-frontend frameworks?

From assessing your suitability for micro-frontends to adopting the related practices, every step of the transition can have a massive effect on your application's performance. Working side-by-side with third-party experts is a direct way to increase your chances of success.

Transcenda's consulting teams have engaged with a variety of companies across industries, and have a history dealing with both the cultural change and tech evolution aspects of transformation. By engaging with our team, you can plan out your new identity as a micro-frontend developer and apply the necessary practices in a considered way, tailored to your needs.

Connect with Transcenda to receive an assessment of your best development prospects guided by our expert team.

Ivan Burzakovskyi is a seasoned Frontend Team Lead and Mentor with over eight years of hands-on experience in the engineering field. With deep expertise in React, he has a proven track record of leading teams and delivering high-quality frontend solutions. Ivan excels in problem-solving, consistently finding innovative solutions to complex technical challenges.

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