Top reasons to build an app based on microservices in Node.js

Take any popular web project and there is a good chance it has been built with Node.js. This tremendously popular JavaScript runtime environment is praised by developers for its flexibility and effectiveness. And as a matter of fact, exactly the same can be claimed about microservice architecture. What are the benefits of both, and why in most cases is it a good idea to build an application based on microservices in Node.js, especially a SaaS one? Let’s find out.

Btw, you can also check our recent article describing the best Node.js apps examples.


What is a microservice?

A microservice is a software design pattern, where a group of interconnected services builds the entire application, in contrast to the monolithic approach to software development, where the application is built as one unit. These services are responsible for one function, they’re loosely coupled, isolated from the others, and independently deployable. Thanks to that, microservices accelerate the development of complex software. It doesn’t mean they are always better, though. What are the pros and cons of microservices?

Benefits of microservices

  • Scalability. Maintaining a complex application in a large team is more efficient when the app is based on microservices because responsibilities can be shared in an easier way between developers.
  • More agile development process. Building applications based on microservices allow developers to focus on clearly defined modules, which makes development, testing, and maintenance more flexible and better optimized.
  • More efficient deployment. In contrast to the monolithic architecture, whenever a microservice needs to be updated, there is no need to deploy the entire application. The only requisite is to release REST-ful APIs for other services.
  • Easier iterations. Developers can iterate over microservices separately, they’re not limited by the other components.
  • Language agnostic. Microservices can be written in different programming languages, which gives significant flexibility to the development of the entire app.

Disadvantages of microservices

  • Difficult to manage the whole unit. The microservices architecture may be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s easier to maintain small units over one large and complex. However, whenever there is a need to manage an application as an entire unit, it’s more challenging with microservices.
  • Challenging testing. The same issue applies to testing - it seems to be more efficient to test each microservice separately, but in a monolithic app you can run end-to-end testing and find bugs faster.
  • More cross-cutting concerns. Logging in, cashing, and other concerns that affect the whole application are easier to handle in a monolithic architecture because there is only one application to take care of.
  • Multiple deployments. In monolithic applications, developers need to handle only one deployment, in contrast to microservices where there may be multiple. In some cases, it saves a significant amount of time and development work.

In general, the monolithic architecture is a better choice for lightweight products that don’t demand much business logic. Microservices, on the other hand, are the perfect choice for complex, evolving applications that are designed to scale. It is particularly true for SaaS products that today may have 1000 users, and tomorrow 100000, so they need to be ready to handle the exponential growth as users often pay month-by-month and require a highly available service. All of these are also the reason why SaaS developers choose to build their products with Node.js.


Microservices and Node.js: It’s a match!

As you already know, microservices are language agnostic, which is one of the strongest benefits of microservice architecture. At the same time, the connection between Node.js and microservices is particularly strong and deep. In fact, one of the ideas behind the creation of this environment was to make building applications based on microservices easier and more efficient. From a business perspective, taking advantage of both technologies has a significant impact on the product - not only in the creation phase but also later - in maintenance, and scaling. Let’s have a look at the top benefits of building an app based on microservices in Node.js.

  • More efficient cost control. Node.js and microservices are created to scale. Especially in SaaS products, it’s important to be able not only to handle growth but also to keep the cost of development and maintenance as low as possible. No monolithic architecture can achieve the same level of flexibility.
  • Higher performance and reliability. The argument above is also true when it comes to maintaining high performance: If one microservice is down because of a bug or another issue, it doesn’t affect the entire app. The fact that Node.js is one of the most popular web technologies also makes the difference here: With easier access to talent and online communities, it’s easier to ensure the top performance of an app.

It is safe to say that Node.js and microservices were made for each other. Node’s single-threaded asynchronous architecture facilitates scaling the app, and it comes with many frameworks, such as Express, that are heavily adopted by SaaS developers. On the other hand, microservices allow for rapid development and flexibility that would be impossible to achieve with a monolithic architecture. At Forest Admin, we’re not surprised that thousands of our users connected our internal tool solution with their various applications that have two things in common: Node.js and microservices.

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Building microservices with Node.js: Useful resources

Are you convinced that Node.js and microservices are the best fit for your application but do you need some help with the implementation? We’ve gathered some tutorials and other resources to make your life easier.

  • How to build a microservices architecture with Node.Js to achieve scale? - Cue Logic
  • The Complete Microservice Tutorial — Building User Service With GRPC, Node.JS, and MongoDB - MD Ahad Hasan
  • Node Microservices: From Zero to Hero - Nickolas Fisher, Octa Developer
  • How to Build Microservices with Node.js - Archita Nayak, Happy Bhesdadiya, Bacancy Technology
  • Step-by-Step Guide To Create Microservices With Node.js - Back4App

Monika Ambrozowicz

Monika Ambrozowicz

Geneva