Look at any software or technology-related industry or vocation, and you’re going to run into an absolute cartload of jargon and catchphrases; sometimes so much so, that it makes it nearly impossible to decipher what’s going on. The technicality of software development, specifically, can be a bit daunting, but it’s such a massive necessity in this day and age that certain key terms are somewhat essential to know – and there’s a new one on the block: ‘microservices’.
The concept doesn’t seem too difficult; ‘small services’ if you break down the word, and luckily, it isn’t as complex as many other concepts in the IT and web world. It is, however, a pretty important thing to know about, so we’re going to break down what exactly microservices are, and why they mean that having custom, agile software is crucial for businesses that want to maintain good growth.
In order to start, we need to rewind a little bit and discuss how software development for companies started and how it’s developed over time. We’re going to look at the idea of ‘Monolith versus Microservices’, where monolithic software systems are simpler ones that are generally quite inflexible, and often that simplicity makes it nearly impossible to innovate on or add additional features.
This might sound like a lot of tech-speak that’s difficult to follow – but the most important takeaway from it is that, essentially, monolithic software solutions are often a bit more affordable, but they come with the drawback of being tricky (or impossible) to adapt after the fact, so the features they come with can’t be innovated or improved on. Whereas custom software can benefit from the addition of new elements to add microservices. For example, think of Google Maps being integrated into Uber as a microservice.
Here’s a diagram that breaks down the structure of microservices:
Let’s break it down using an analogy: a monolithic architecture is like baking a single, massive cake. If anything about the cake isn’t good, or someone wants something different, or it needs to be changed – guess what, you’re probably going to have to bake a whole new cake. Microservices, on the other hand, are like having a tray of 12 cupcakes. If you need to swap one out because it’s a dud, or you want half vanilla/half chocolate, you can fairly easily make those adjustments because you’ve got twelve individual pieces.
The reason this is highly important for businesses to become aware of is that they need to approach their software design with a custom, microservice structure from the get-go, because it will allow them more agility in responding to market demands in the future. A common example of a microservice is something like a payment engine, which can be attached with little effort in a microservice architecture, but may require more effort and thought in a monolithic structure.
If anyone is going to take a stab at developing their own digital presence for their company, it’s important to be aware of the fact that customised, microservice-oriented platforms seem like they’re going to be the way of the future. If all the tech-speak makes things seem a bit too daunting, though, don’t try and navigate the IT world without getting in touch with the team at My Online Presence so that they can be your guides. They’ve got a wealth of experience in turning concepts into a reality, so if you’ve been thinking of establishing your business online they’re equipped to assist through every step of the process!