Spencer Nguyen - March 30, 2022
Microapps vs. Microservices on the phone.

From the end user’s perspective, the microapps and microservices often seem to provide the same functionality. However, development teams need to think about microapps vs. microservices when building products. Before you commit time to microapps or microservices architecture, take some time to consider how these options will affect user experience (UX), user interface (UI), and security of your websites, web apps, and mobile apps.

In the following article, we’ll look at the similarities and differences of microapps vs. microservices to help you decide which option works best for your mobile app, web application, or website.

Get more from your microapps and microservices by starting a free account with DreamFactory. DreamFactory makes it easy for you to create and manage low-code APIs so all of your products can access the information they need.

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Replacing Monolithic Applications: Microapps vs. Microservices

When you take inventory of your IT assets, you will likely find that some of your legacy applications have monolithic architecture. These monolithic applications often have complex dependencies that make it difficult for app development teams to release codebase updates without unintentionally affecting functionality.

Microservices and microapps can replace monolithic, complex applications to fulfill tasks faster and give DevOps teams more flexibility when updating products.

Microapps Benefits

Some of the most noteworthy benefits of micro-applications include:

  • Small sizes that make them suitable for mobile devices without the processing power of desktop computers.
  • Better security than monolithic apps that often have such large codebases that developers miss vulnerabilities.
  • Custom features that developers can add, delete or update without affecting other features.
  • Lightweight, interactive features that can make products (such as e-commerce pages and messaging apps) more appealing to users.
  • Self-contained backend features that avoid challenges of code duplications.
  • Faster server-side scalability that doesn’t put as much strain on AWS and other cloud providers.

Recommended reading: A Beginner’s Guide to Microservices

Microservices Benefits

Microservices often share some of the benefits that microapps provide. Notable reasons to use microservices include:

  • Shorter development cycles that help get the product to market faster.
  • Rapid scalability that adjusts to user needs.
  • Agnostic cloud software architecture that developers can build with JavaScript or other popular coding languages for websites and mobile applications.
  • Design patterns (such as Circuit Breaker and Retry) that lead to improved fault-tolerance.
  • Better accessibility for developers that need to understand how components function before they can update services.

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Microapps vs. Microservices: Use Cases

Microapps and microservices offer numerous advantages that make everything from automation to user authentication easier while avoiding the pitfalls of monolithic apps. The following microapps vs. microservices use cases should help you understand how these advantages benefit real-world users.

Collecting E-commerce Big Data with a Microservice

Big data makes it possible for e-commerce stores to understand buyer behaviors and predict emerging trends. Of course, data collection doesn’t happen on its own. Gathering, sending, and processing data requires the work of applications or services.

An e-commerce company wants to start collecting data related to what products customers look at after putting their flagship product into their shopping carts. They decide to build a microservice that executes this specific function. When a shopper puts the flagship product into their shopping cart, the microservice records where they go next and sends that information to a database.

Over time, the company decides to shift its approach. Now, it also wants to know what products shoppers look at before putting items into their shopping carts.

The change doesn’t create much additional work for the development team. Instead of changing the code of a monolithic data-collection app, the team members use the existing microservice as a template to build a slightly different microservice that functions alongside it. Now, they can collect data about consumer behavior before and after purchases.

Approving Expenses with a Microapp

Currently, a delivery company uses an expense management app that has features for approving expenses, requesting payments, sending payments, and other tasks. Managers find the process time-consuming and difficult because they must open the app, wait for it to load on their tablets, and use drop-down menus to choose the feature they need to use.

The DevOps team decides to improve the process with microapps. The developers start by building a small app that only approves expenses. When an employee submits an expense request for approval, managers can open the app with a single touch. From there, they only need to tap “Approve” or “Disapprove.”

Soon, the development team rolls out other microapps that perform other features from the legacy app. Now, managers can perform all functions quickly without scrolling their unnecessary features.

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Microapps vs. Microservices: How DreamFactory Can Help

Where do you fall on the microapps vs. microservices discussion? The answer probably depends on the problem you want to solve. Regardless of the option you choose, DreamFactory can help.

Start a free trial with DreamFactory to quickly create the REST APIs your microservices need to work together.