The world of web development is constantly evolving, with new techniques and technologies emerging daily. One such technique that has recently caught the attention of many developers is micro frontends.
This methodology boosts performance and makes it easier to maintain code in the long run. Despite these benefits, there's more than one side to this story.
In this article, we will go through some of the cons that come with micro frontends.
What Is a Micro Frontend?
Micro Frontend, what is its real meaning?
As we can see above, micro frontends are bits of code that handle isolated tasks for your website or other software application as a whole.
A micro frontend architecture is an approach to building frontend applications that are modeled off of individual microservices. A micro frontend is a code for a portion of a webpage.
Each micro frontend in this system has its own set of independently deployable, loosely coupled code, which can be assembled with other pieces from different apps for a single user interface or dashboard view.
Benefits of the Micro Frontend Architecture
Before we jump into the cons of the micro frontend, shortly we will mention several benefits of using micro frontend architecture.
One of the most significant advantages is that it ensures each application only implementation of the code for its specific business functionality and reduces duplication across applications, making maintenance easier if any changes need to be made down the line.
Other advantages include:
Traditional web development often requires multiple requests to load all the components of a page. This isn't efficient, especially if some parts are not needed for rendering certain pages or views.
The micro frontend approach makes it possible to delay loading these other modules until they are required to speed up performance across your site.
Faster Feature Rollouts
When you have several teams working on different features for one product, it can be hard to coordinate and deploy changes together at precisely the same time.
Micro-frontends allow each team responsible for implementing new functionality to control their deployment process without impacting others who may also test out experimental code at the same time.
This allows releases and updates with features live on your site to be carried out in a much more organized and efficient way.
Reusability of Code
As each micro frontend is modeled off the same pattern, you can use shared libraries across applications for any common functionality that needs implementing.
This reduces duplication within your application and allows you to focus on creating innovative features instead of reinventing the wheel every time one comes up.
The Drawbacks of Micro Frontends You Should Be Aware Of
Despite the benefits of micro frontend, this approach comes with some drawbacks.
Micro-frontends as we saw above can be a great tool, but depending on the structure of the project, team, and business, their advantages might not be able to be placed to work and benefit from them.
The first major drawback is that it's hard to develop and maintain a strong team dynamic in an organization where everyone works on separate modules rather than together towards one product.
With each team working in isolation like this, any changes made by another group may not always fit seamlessly into your codebase and could cause bugs or performance issues down the line when you try to integrate these features into what you are building.
Other disadvantages include:
Lack of Control Over Interfaces Between Modules
If you need to work with another team's micro frontend for yours to function correctly, you may find that they don't always directly follow best practices or conventions set by your organization.
As each application is self-contained and isolated from one another, this could lead to trouble down the line when trying to integrate them.
Risk of Lack of Communication
Cross-functional teams are a common way to manage projects, but it can lead to wasted time and inefficiency.
The problem arises when different groups work on the various codebases without sharing their workloads with other departments.
This can lead to duplication of specific implementation methods and waste precious time for the company.
The more technology stacks and applications included, the slower it may be on a user's browser.
Code needs documentation and unit tests to be efficient and correct and easy enough for others to read through when they are trying to come up with new ideas or implementing updates from your product management team.
If micro frontends were implemented without care, there could quickly become too much complexity within each separate module that makes it too complex for developers later down the line.
More Complex Deployment Process
Deploying changes or upgrades to your application can become more difficult when you have multiple micro frontends.
You will need a much better understanding of the dependencies between each module so that they are deployed together in the correct order.
Otherwise, this could result in downtime for users or performance issues on your site due to conflicting updates being implemented at once.
For the user experience to remain cohesive and consistent, there must be a common understanding across teams.
When different groups use multiple technologies within your organization, inconsistency in one area could lead others down similar tangents, making for an unpleasant overall user experience.
Micro frontends allow for more flexible and scalable code development across your application and will enable each team to work independently.
However, this approach has its drawbacks that need careful consideration before implementation so you know what types of problems may arise down the line.
Be sure to keep these things in mind when planning your micro frontend architecture.
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