Microservices are something the world of software development is steadily shifting towards. This type of architecture allows immense flexibility and ease of development and requires much less effort to fix a piece of code in a single component rather than fixing the same piece of code in a monolith.
And since microservices are a form of service-oriented architecture, it’s no surprise that Java and microservices go hand in hand - the design of SOA is an essential skill that every Java developer should know and utilize.
Like any innovation, microservices undergo certain changes in order to optimize the development process even more. There are certain microservices trends in Java that help developers all over the world to create better and more high-performing software.
Microservices: A Quick Overview
In traditional software development, applications are usually built by a monolith architecture. That means all components or modules of an app are in a single unit and in order to change one minor thing, you will need to dig into the whole system.
Though monolithic architecture has its benefits, it does not grant developers the needed flexibility and the opportunity to immediately implement the needed change. This is where microservices step in, becoming an efficient alternative to monoliths.
Microservices are a system that consists of independent and deployable services. So instead of placing all app components into one system, developers design separate components that can efficiently function and communicate with each other through certain messaging patterns.
The key advantages of microservice architecture are:
• Apps are easier to build,
• Scalability of single modules,
• Focus on seamless functionality of a product,
• Faster development,
• Vast choice of programming languages and tools (since all modules are independent)
In order to get the maximal value from deploying microservices, it is important to know its biggest trends that include the selection of the corresponding tools.
Application containers are perfectly suitable for running a microservice-based application. First, they enable the isolation of execution at an OS level. That means when an operating system interface manages several containers, each of these containers has its own execution environment. Such an approach significantly reduces overhead and requires less processing power.
Second, due to their light-weight nature, containers are rather small and thus display more efficiency at the initialization. This, in turn, has a significant impact on the application’s performance.
So if we compare, for example, VMs to containers, containers overall tend to be more efficient, fast and responsive, being a perfect option for microservices. Though this is not the ultimate option and some applications successfully run without the containers, it is recommended to try using them and comparing the app’s performance after this implementation.
Use of Service Meshes
A service mesh is a dedicated infrastructure layer that ensures fast and reliable communication between the services in the microservice architecture. Some of the benefits that service meshes provide include:
• Circuit breaking
• Fault injection
• Service discovery
• Traffic management
While some developers use third-party libraries to enable service communication, such a decision has certain flaws. For example, when a third-party component calls for an upgrade, you will need to upgrade the whole application too (and then use regression tests to verify and deploy it). This consumes quite an amount of time and resources.
A service mesh takes away the complexity from an application and puts it in a service proxy so it can manage the app. Service proxies, in turn, have an array of useful features (i.e. routing, telemetry, circuit breaking) which is beneficial for the app’s functionality.
Hence, the use of service meshes facilitates and speeds up the development without hurting the app’s performance.
Use of GraphQL
GraphQL is a syntax that specifies how to ask for data and helps load the data from a server to a client. When using GraphQL for microservices, it allows data owner separation and more powerful query planning.
GraphQL grants more control over the data loading and achieves much better granularity as REST, for example. As well, GraphQL is able to prioritize the requests due to the request budgeting option. That means each request receives a certain value and thus, the server “budget” can be calculated, with further request prioritization.
Finally, GraphQL enables server caching due to the deployment of object identifiers. GraphQL creates a cache of the data that is frequently requested and thus saves the processor’s time and resources.
Asynchronous Communication Between the Services
While synchronous communication is the most common for microservices, it does not answer several important questions. Should the client care if the upstream dependency is unavailable? What about the request prioritization? What do I do if there is a guaranteed response time which negatively affects the usability?
Asynchronous communication manages to resolve these issues. The core thing to remember about it is that this type of communication eliminates the need to wait for a response and hence decouples the execution of several services at once. As well, this communication method deals with traffic in a more efficient manner than synchronous communication.
Microservices Frameworks for Java
In addition to the above-mentioned tools, any professional Java developer who works with microservices has to know the following frameworks that are best suited for designing microservices in Java:
• Spring Boot
However, do not blindly rush into the microservices implementation. This architecture demands a high level of skill and knowledge so if you want to transit from monolith to microservices architecture, make sure your developers are knowledgeable enough.
Editor's Note: This is a guest post by Alex Zubel at Digital Knights partner SoftTeco. SoftTeco has successfully completed over 200 custom software development projects using a highly professional team of software engineers to clients from the USA, Europe, UK and Canada. They use the latest and most efficient technologies to adhere to high industry standards and ensure seamless quality and performance.