Microservices fundamentally changed the way applications are built, managed, and supported after launch. Even more – they had changed the way engineers and managers think about digital products in the first place. With big scalability and potential for quick growth, many managers ask how to build microservices. Here is the world of microservices, best practices, and everything in between.

Microservices best practices

Table of contents

Microservice patterns and best practices

First, a quick recap. Microservice architecture is a method of structuring a digital product in a way that increases its performance. Thanks to microservices, your product is highly scalable, easier to build and manage. You can also easily introduce new technologies to expand on the existing code and built an app with a wide variety of programming languages.

It’s because a microservices-based application has a collection of independently working, yet interconnected, services that are:

  • written with different languages, frameworks, libraries, and tools to support specific business logic
  • constructed with small, interdisciplinary development teams
  • self-sufficiently deployable
  • highly testable and easy to maintain

The best practice when it comes to microservices is: think about what your product is about and what business justification lays in getting it to market. When you’ll define business reasons for product deployment, everything else will fall into place.

The second important practice – take care of your people or outsourcing business partner. Teams should cooperate with each other but be entirely autonomous (full-stack teams). A team should have ownership of the entire lifecycle of the product. That means best practices for microservices are easily abided in a team of five or ten, then in a team of fifty. Each development team should have full domain and technical ability to develop all necessary layers of the product: 

  • user interface (UI)
  • business logic
  • data layer

A team should easily develop them all.

The third important practice is team turnover management. People quit, are moved to other projects, are not accepted by the client, move within organisation. For whatever reason, they are not in the project in the first place or leave with the job half-done. What then? Make sure that teams are small (for efficiency) and someone else can pick up the slack easily enough. 

These are the most obvious, high-level tips for smooth business and software development operations. If you want to know more about microservices, read our text on their nature. If you need something more, please visit our comparison article – Microservices vs Monolithic Architecture.

And now, without further ado, let’s move to the microservices architecture best practices.

How to build microservices? Microservices best practices for your product

Some of them are really low-level and dive deep into the realm of quality software development. We believe in this approach and want to share with you some of the best practices for microservices. It’s because their nature is complicated and requires real, first-hand domain knowledge.

Microservices best practices:

1.         Make sure you have a dedicated infrastructure. You can meet all parameters of good microservices development but if you forget about hosting platforms or quality cloud computing services, it’s will not make a whole lot of difference. Load balancing, caching, performance, monitoring, and finally apps’ security. Don’t take these issues lightly. Cover your bases before you attempt to use microservices as a tool. If you struggle, think about digital transformation efforts.

2.         If you have a monolithic application you want to migrate, do it with baby steps. The thing about microservices – they can boost your app to a new level. IF they are implemented correctly, and first understood. They are complicated. Between monolithic applications and microservices-oriented products lays a rift. You can cross over with a bridge of careful migration.

3.         Use RESTful APIs. They offer many day-to-day advantages. For example, you don’t have to install anything on the client-side. Also, you don’t need software development kits (SDKs) or even frameworks. RESTful APIs are very flexible and portable as well. That gives you, for example, the ability to migrate from one server to another and carry out changes on a database with ease.

4.         Design services around the “loosely coupled principle”. In the world of microservices, there’s a term called “a single responsibility principle”. One microservice is created to do… well, just one thing. By doing so, it’s easy to maintain, test, rescue after a fault. The loosely coupled principle is healthy because if something goes down, only one functionality suffers. Not the entire application, which is unfortunately true for the monolith.

5.         Spot security vulnerabilities and think about how to mitigate them. Early. The matter of application security is one of the best known, not only among FinTech, which falls into many categories of state regulation. That’s why it’s best to tackle the topic early on. Adopt the DevOps model to ensure the security of the entire framework. Because the nature of microservice patterns and best practices are vastly different than what’s in store for the monolith, DevOps is the best tool.

6.         Design and implement a proper service discovery mechanism. In a monolith, everything is simple. You got an application that looks like a brick. Period. With microservices, each service is independent but has to communicate with everything around. That’s why it’s so important to design a mechanism helping services to find and talk to each other. A single source of truth for that is called the “service registry”. There are two methods to get this done: self-registration and external monitoring. Both keep services in check. But that’s not all. You also need to make sure microservices find themselves dynamically. For that, you need smart servers or smart clients. Alternatively, for a simplified approach, you may use load balancers and DNS.

7.         Make sure service templates get the job done. Microservices need to perform their basic business logic. Do, what they were designed to do. Execute commands, monitor application status, reroute communication, display messages to the user, manage loads, etc. Service templates, on the other hand, speed up these processes. Also, it enables things like cross-team code reviews, which is very useful for developers.

8.         Implement centralized logging. A system for centralized logging should be provided to the services by the system. All should submit their logs to the same location in one, standardized log format. This enables developers to quickly spot bugs and search for queries in one location. 

9.         Develop microservices with containers in mind. With containers, you can deploy and manage services independently. You won’t affect services hosted on other containers, which boost an already flexible architecture. With containers, you have interoperability and platform-independence. 

10.      Keeps tabs on open-source tools and their dependencies. Developers like to use open-source tools for things like monitoring, security, logging, or debugging. Open-source is great but it also brings concerns related to the safety of the entire architecture. Best practices for microservices dictate that you could establish repositories for previously approved versions of the software. Verify and trust open-source authors and vendors ad well as set up governance for exceptions.

11.      Make sure your API changes are backward compatible. Adopt contract testing for your APIs and integrate these contracts tests as part of your builds. This will prevent unlawful changes.

12.      Keep code at a similar level of maturity. It’s called the “immutable infrastructure principle”. In a nutshell – make sure all microservices are at a similar level of development and none of them lags in quality, overall maturity, and stability. If you need to replace some of the code deployed in any given microservice that performs well, a good approach is to create a new microservice with this new or changed code. Then you leave an already existing service in its place. In this approach, you can safely test new code until it’s free of bugs, without “infecting” a good microservice with faults.

The A-Team to the rescue!

A cheesy TV series from the .80s called “The A-Team” shows us what microservices are all about. One of the catchphrases in this show was: “I love when the plan comes together”. The reality of the matter is that you can have a lot of plans. Working separately and, on some level, together, communicating with each other, is the best way to quickly scale your digital product.

Microservices, best practices for quick development, and the entire area of building software quickly and efficiently had conquered the minds of many developers. Some of them can produce software on their own, some of them need team augmentation to get ahead. Three major tips and twelve following microservices architecture best practices can help you grow in a matter of months. Simply use them and we will see you on the market, with five-star user ratings.