Understand Microservices, Micro Frontend and Multi-Tenancy with Examples

Understanding the difference between Microservices, Micro Frontend, and Multi-Tenancy is crucial in today’s dynamic software development landscape. When you discuss your project architecture, whether during interviews or while explaining it to someone, it is essential that you articulate how these architectural paradigms apply to your specific context. This not only demonstrates your depth of knowledge but also  highlights your ability to align modern architectural principles with
the practical needs of your project. It’s a valuable skill that can set you apart in the world of software development.

Let’s start with first two terms – Microservice and Micro Frontends

1. Microservices A design approach where a large application is broken down into smaller, loosely coupled services that can be developed and deployed independently.

2. Micro Frontends: It is similar to the microservices concept applied to the front end (UI). It is an architectural approach that involves breaking down a web application’s user interface into smaller, self-contained, and independent parts.

Each of these parts, often referred to as Micro frontends, can be developed, deployed, and maintained by separate teams, allowing for more efficient development and improved modularity in large and complex web applications.

So in simple term (though it is not 100% right) , Microservices concept applies at Backend/API level while Micro frontends are similar concepts for UI applications

Well, everyone is now aware of Microservices and some of you of Micro Frontends, lets take a practical example and understand what they are:

Micro Frontends: In an e-commerce platform, there are various user-facing components and features, such as the product catalog, shopping cart, user profile, and product reviews. Each of these components can be implemented as micro frontends. For example:

    1. Product Catalog Micro Frontend: This component is responsible for displaying product listings, details, and search functionality. A separate development team can handle it, using a technology like React or Vue.js.

    1. Shopping Cart Micro Frontend: This component manages the shopping cart, enabling users to add or remove items. It’s developed by a different team using Angular.

    1. User Profile Micro Frontend: This component allows users to manage their profiles, addresses, and payment methods. It’s developed by another team using a different technology stack.

    1. Product Reviews Micro Frontend: This component handles user reviews, ratings, and comments on products, and it’s developed independently.

Each of these micro frontends can be developed, tested, and deployed separately. They can also be loaded dynamically into the single-page application to create a cohesive user experience. The other advantage is you are not stuck with one technology to develop all the UI applications. You can develop one application in Angular , other in Vue/ React for example.

Microservices: On the backend side, the e-commerce platform can be built as a set of microservices. Each microservice manages a specific domain or functionality. Here are some examples:

    1. Product Service: This microservice handles product information, inventory, and availability.

    1. Order Service: Responsible for managing user orders, order processing, and payments.

    1. User Service: Manages user accounts, authentication, and profiles.

    1. Review Service: Handles user reviews, ratings, and comments on products.

    1. Recommendation Service: Provides product recommendations and personalization features based on user behavior.

    1. Payment Service: Integrates with payment gateways for secure transactions.

These microservices communicate with each other through APIs and can be developed using different technologies, databases, and deployment strategies as required. They contribute to the scalability and maintainability of the e-commerce platform.

By combining micro frontends for the user interface and microservices for the backend, the e-commerce platform achieves modularity, independent development, scalability, and flexibility. Each team can focus on its area of expertise and update its components or services without affecting the entire application. This architecture also allows for easy scaling of specific application parts to handle increased traffic or demand.

Let’s throw Multi-tenancy in the mix now:

A multi-tenant application is a software application that serves multiple organizations or customers, known as “tenants,” using a single instance of the application.

In a multi-tenant architecture, each tenant’s data and configurations are logically isolated from one another, ensuring that they cannot access or view each other’s data. Tenants may have their customizations, settings, and data, but they share the same underlying software, infrastructure, and codebase.

Example– Imagine you’re part of a product-based company specializing in e-commerce platforms. You’re eager to offer your product to a diverse range of customers while keeping development efforts and the code base at a minimum. How would you approach this challenge? You would want to share your code base with all the clients and make it customizable for them to customize as per their need. Multi-Tenancy approach is there to help you.

Let’s consider a hypothetical multi-tenant e-commerce platform called “BuyA2ZMall”

BuyA2ZMall.com a multi-tenant e-commerce platform that allows various organizations or individuals to set up their online stores within the same application while keeping their stores separate. Each store represents a different tenant. Here are some examples of how different tenant can be configured

    1. Tenant A – Electronics Store
        • URL: www.buya2zmall.com/tenantA or www.tenantA.buya2zmall.com

        • Description: Tenant A is an electronics retailer specializing in consumer electronics, gadgets, and accessories. They have their own unique branding, product listings, and customer data.

    1. Tenant B – Fashion Boutique
        • URL: www.buya2zmall.com/tenantB or www.tenantb.buya2zmall.com

        • Description: Tenant B runs a fashion boutique featuring clothing, accessories, and designer brands. They have their own store layout, products, and customer accounts.

In this example, each tenant operates its online store within the “ShopifyMall” e-commerce platform. The tenants can customize their storefront, manage products, process orders, and engage with customers independently, all while sharing the same underlying e-commerce infrastructure and application.

Technically to implement this the key points you need to take care are:

    1. Configure the application to use custom subdomains – example, tenant1.yourapp.com and tenant2.yourapp.com or path based- or (path based) yourapp.com/tenant1 This makes it clear which tenant is being accessed.
    2. Implement a robust authentication and authorization system. Each tenant’s users should only have access to their own resources. This is typically done by associating each user with a specific tenant or organization.
    3. Assign a separate database for each tenant. If using a shared database, ensure that tenant data is isolated at the database level. This can be achieved through database schemas, row-level security, or other techniques.
    4. Implement CORS policies to restrict cross-origin requests and ensure that one tenant’s frontend cannot make unauthorized requests to another tenant’s backend

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