December 20, 2023

How to Use Low Code to Simplify Microservices Development


Microservices architecture is the go-to approach for many development teams today. Compared with traditional monolithic architectures, microservices-based applications can have greater flexibility and stability than their counterparts.

That's why, in a 2020 survey by O'Reilly, 87% of respondents who recently rolled out a microservices application described it as a success.

However, the improved flexibility of microservices applications can sometimes come at the cost of increased complexity. This complexity arises from managing multiple distributed, independently deployable services, each with its own stack and lifecycle.

Low code platforms have emerged recently as a promising solution to manage this complexity. By abstracting the underlying technical intricacies, these platforms enable developers to focus more on the business logic and less on the boilerplate code associated with building and integrating microservices.

We'll dive into how low code platforms can simplify the development of microservices architecture, making it more accessible and efficient for teams of all sizes and expertise levels.

Understanding Microservices

Microservices are a type of software architecture where an application is structured as a collection of coupled services. Unlike traditional monolithic architectures where all components of an application are interwoven and deployed as a single unit, microservices break down the application into smaller, independent modules. Each module, or microservice, is focused on performing a specific function and can be developed, deployed and scaled independently.

Microservices offer a number of benefits, including:

  • Modularity - Microservices are highly modular, allowing for faster development cycles and easier maintenance. Each service is responsible for a distinct feature or functionality within the application.
  • Scalability - Because each service operates independently, they can be scaled up or down based on demand, without impacting the entire application.
  • Flexibility - Microservices are flexible, allowing for the use of different technology stacks for different services.
  • Stability - The decentralized nature of microservices enhances the overall resilience of the application. If one service fails, it does not necessarily bring down the entire application.

Drawbacks of Microservice Architecture

While microservices offer many advantages, they also come with their own set of challenges:

  • Complexity - Managing a microservices architecture can be complex, particularly when dealing with a large number of services. This complexity can arise in areas like inter-service communication, data management and ensuring consistency across services, especially when these services are managed by different teams.
  • Operational Overhead - Microservices require robust infrastructure for deployment, monitoring and management. This can lead to increased operational overhead compared to monolithic architectures.
  • Service Discovery and Load Balancing - As the number of services increases, efficiently managing service discovery and load balancing becomes critical.

Why Use A Low Code Platform to Build Microservices?

Low code platforms like 8base are gaining momentum as a powerful tool for simplifying complex architectural designs like microservices.

A low code platform is a software development environment that enables the creation of applications through graphical user interfaces and configuration instead of traditional hand-coded computer programming. Low code development platforms usually include drag-and-drop components, pre-built templates and intuitive design interfaces, allowing developers to build applications with minimal coding effort.

8base for Low Code Development

8base's Backend-as-a-Service offers a range of functionalities that simplify backend development for microservices:

  • Visual Schema Builder - This tool allows developers to visually design database schemas, making the process more intuitive and less error-prone compared to traditional coding methods.
  • Serverless Functions - The platform supports serverless computing, enabling developers to write and deploy code without the complexity of managing the underlying infrastructure.
  • Role-Based Security, Authentication and SSO - These features provide robust security mechanisms, essential for microservices that often require fine-grained access control and secure data handling.
  • Auto-Generated, Extensible GraphQL API - 8base automatically generates a GraphQL API based on your schema, speeding up the development process and ensuring a consistent, modern approach to API design.
  • CLI Access - Command-line interface access offers additional control and flexibility for developers who prefer scripting or need to perform complex operations.

In addition to backend services, 8base's App Builder brings several benefits to the front-end development of microservices:

  • Drag-and-Drop Design Interface - Simplifies the creation of user interfaces, making it faster and more efficient for developers and business users to design responsive and visually appealing applications.
  • Import Custom Libraries and Custom Components - Offers the flexibility to enhance low code applications with custom-built functionalities, catering to specific project requirements.
  • Prepackaged Accelerators for Common Application Services - These accelerators streamline the implementation of frequently used services, reducing development time and effort.
  • Write JavaScript Anywhere with Handlebar Notation - Provides the ability to inject custom JavaScript code, offering the versatility to implement complex business logic as needed.
  • Easily Connect to 8base Backend, Other Data Sources, and APIs - Facilitates seamless integration with various data sources and APIs, a critical aspect of microservices architecture.

By utilizing a low code development platform like 8base for microservices development, teams can achieve greater efficiency, reduced complexity and faster deployment. These tools empower developers to focus on delivering high-quality, scalable microservices, while significantly reducing the overhead associated with traditional development methods.

Use Cases for Low Code Microservices

Low code microservices are reshaping how businesses approach software development, offering agility, scalability and efficiency. Here are some use cases where low code microservices can make a significant impact:

Rapid Prototyping and Product Development

Startups and enterprises can use low code platforms to rapidly prototype and develop products. By quickly assembling microservices, they can test ideas, iterate based on feedback and bring products to market faster than ever before. This approach is particularly beneficial in dynamic industries where speed and adaptability are key to staying competitive.

Streamlining Business Processes

Organizations can leverage low code microservices to automate and streamline complex business processes. By integrating various microservices, companies can optimize workflows, from customer relationship management to supply chain operations, leading to increased efficiency and reduced operational costs.

Enhancing Customer Experience

Businesses can utilizing low code platforms to build microservices that enhance the customer experience. For instance, retail companies can developing personalized shopping apps that provide tailored recommendations and seamless online shopping experiences, all powered by an ecosystem of microservices developed rapidly and efficiently through low code solutions.

Limitations and Challenges of Low Code Microservices

While low code can help unlock a lot of the complexity in microservices architecture, there are some cases where it doesn't make sense. These are the three most common limitations and challenges of low code microservices.

Performance Concerns

In some cases, applications built on low code platforms may not match the performance of those developed through traditional coding, especially for highly demanding applications. The abstraction layer introduced by low code solutions can sometimes lead to less optimized performance, which is a critical factor in microservices architecture.

Skill and Knowledge Gap

Developers accustomed to traditional coding might face a learning curve when adapting to a low code environment. Understanding the nuances and capabilities of a low code platform is essential to leverage its full potential, which might require training and time investment.

Dependency and Vendor Lock-in

Using low code platforms can sometimes lead to dependency on the specific tools and services of the platform provider, potentially causing vendor lock-in. This reliance can become a challenge if the platform fails to keep up with evolving business needs or if there are significant changes in pricing or service offerings.

Wrapping Up

Despite these challenges, low code platforms remain a powerful tool for building microservices, especially when the goal is to accelerate development and simplify complex processes.

It's crucial for organizations to carefully assess these limitations in the context of their specific requirements and long-term strategy, and to select low code tools that align with their business priorities.

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