What does microservices architecture mean?
Microservices architecture is a way of designing applications that uses independent modules. Each microservice is small, focused on its own functionality, and only deals with one aspect of the application. This approach makes microservices easy to change or fix. Microservices are faster to develop, test, deploy, and scale independently.
Microservices are rapidly becoming the preferred approach for building systems and applications, replacing the monolithic approach that relied on a huge, ever-growing, and self-contained codebase. Up until a few years ago, monoliths were just the way it was done, but that has been changing as companies realize the benefits of breaking up their projects into microservices.
Even giants like Netflix, Amazon, eBay, and Spotify rely on microservices. You’ll be in good company.
Check out our blog post Microservices or monolithic – which is better? for more about the clear advantages of microservices.
What languages work best for microservices?
Blocshop uses the following languages when we’re implementing microservices for our clients: .NET Core, Node JS, Java, Python, C++
Each language has advantages and champions. For instance, we’re especially fond of .NET, but our team can adjust to any environment and requirements.
Remember that the microservices approach means that you can use whatever language is right for the task. You can use Node JS for one component, Python for another, and .NET for the rest. Or any combination that works.
We won’t confuse you with too much technical detail, but let’s look at each language in turn, so you can start to get a sense of what might be right for your project.
The cross-platform .NET Core (not to be confused with the .NET Framework, which is Windows-only) enables you to make use of an established and reliable language that is maintained and supported by Microsoft. .NET is well suited to microservices, because external applications don’t have to be redesigned before it will accept input from them.
Microsoft has made sure that .NET plays very nicely with Docker, which is now the industry standard system for keeping components contained but able to communicate. .NET also includes APIs (application programming interface) that make it easier to get those components talking to each other 🥰
And if you want to take advantage of the cloud, Microsoft maintains Azure, a secure, stable platform focused on allowing you to build, test, deploy, and manage your application across Microsoft data centers throughout the world. While language and platform-independent, Azure is particularly suited to .NET and even offers a hybrid approach so that you can run some modules in the cloud while keeping other microservices on-premises.
Java has been around for well over 20 years and is often taught in Computer Science courses. It will run on almost any operating system and lots of the apps you use on your phone or tablet will have been written in Java. It’s easy to read, stable, and there are lots of excellent developers familiar with the language. So Java is tried and tested, but how does it fit with microservices? There are plenty of Java microservices frameworks (e.g. Spring Boot, DropWizard, Spark, Restlet), so it can be worthwhile considering such a popular language if it fits the task. It’s worth noting that Netflix powers billions of content requests every day with Java-driven microservices architecture 💪
Python is easy to learn and is also taught in many universities, so it’s no surprise that it comes in as a close second to Java in terms of popularity among developers. It can be slower than Java in some cases, but in others, it will be the best choice because it allows for rapid prototyping and development. Like Java, it has lots of established frameworks suitable for designing microservices (e.g. Flask, Django, Falcon, Bottle) and plenty of open-source libraries.
Complex, fast, efficient, and flexible, C++ is an old-timer that has been used in programming since the 1980s. Many legacy systems (including some of the ones Blocshop has converted from monoliths to microservices) were built in C++. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no place for this language in microservices. Some very tightly focused modules can benefit from the speed increases and low overheads.
How Blocshop can help you choose the right technology… and more
Now that you’re familiar with some of the languages used in microservices, we’re going to remind you again that microservices don’t necessarily care which language is used. It depends on the project. One of the core advantages of a microservices architecture is that you can use a range of different technologies to create your application or system. Each module can use a different language but communicate efficiently and reliably with the other modules.
When you decide to take the step towards microservices, you need a reliable partner with the commitment you need to complete the project. You also need a partner with the proven expertise to choose the right language and technology. Blocshop has implemented microservices for corporate clients such as Austrian Erste Bank, Irish-based wealth management startup Argeau, and we have a long-standing engagement with BCC in the Netherlands. We used .NET with Azure deployment to rewrite the BCC checkout process and are currently involved in migrating their legacy e-commerce systems to microservices.
If you want to explore how microservices can help your business, contact us today. We can explain your options and give you a project estimate.