Microservices is a trending topic among software engineers today, why is this? In this post, I’ll endeavour to take the mystery and explain things in plain English so you can build genuinely modular, business agile IT systems with Microservices architectural style.
The goal of microservices is to increase the velocity of application releases, by decomposing the application into small autonomous services that can be deployed independently.
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What Is Multi-Tenancy?
“Software Multitenancy refers to a software architecture in which a single instance of a software runs on a server and serves multiple tenants. A tenant is a group of users who share common access with specific privileges to the software instance. With a multitenant architecture, a software application is designed to provide every tenant a dedicated share of the instance including its data, configuration, user management, tenant individual functionality and non-functional properties. Multitenancy contrasts with multi-instance architectures, where separate software instances operate on behalf of different tenants” (Wikipedia)
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When solving a complex problem, it’s sometimes very tempting to choose an excellent solution. Not only will this solve the problem – but it will also impress your teammates and bring you everlasting glory.
An even better solution, however, would probably be a boring one. One that is easy to understand, even for your junior colleagues. One that is well-known for your platform and language. One that is entirely not extraordinary.
Using such a tedious solution means that you’re using simple vocabulary, which significantly increases the chances of everybody understanding you. This will make it a lot easier for everybody to follow along – including new team members (and yourself, a couple of weeks after you’ve written that code).
I’m sure you’ve used a third-party API at some point in your dev career – for example, to create new contacts in your CRM, to send emails through a newsletter service, or to do anything else with a third-party service virtually.
If you’ve interacted with a couple of such APIs, you will undoubtedly have noticed some differences between them: using one was probably more pleasant than the other. It’s easy to see which API was designed thoroughly, by an experienced developer, and perhaps with a lot of effort and thought. And it’s just as easy to be frustrated with an API that was designed poorly and sloppily. The former was probably a joy to use, while the latter was perhaps… not.
Since the effects are so visible, most developers tend to quickly agree that it’s almost a duty to design public APIs in a careful and thought-out way. Nobody wants to work with a crappy API – and nobody wants to burden other developers with using their API being crappy.
Modern software design puts great emphasis on the concept of “application programming interfaces”. However, as most developers already know, the idea goes a lot deeper and is not exclusive to a public interface. Instead, you should build APIs inside your application, for internal use, too.
Approaching these internal APIs in the same way you’d create a public one can make a huge difference: your colleagues (and you) will want to interact with this part of your application. Making the interaction as easy as possible for these people is one of the best goals you can have.
A secure, thoughtful API is probably the part of your software where quality matters the most. Your colleagues might forgive you a little sloppiness in the internals of this or that method. But they won’t (and shouldn’t) forgive you for creating a dangerous API.