December 6, 2022
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Mobile micro frontends are revolutionizing app development

Christine Perez

Product Marketing Manager

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Historically, mobile app development has relied on a monolithic architecture to get the job done. Many different teams working on many different moving parts all come together to build and ship the app in unison with a single codebase per app store. If one team is behind or runs into complications, the whole project stalls. This leads to development bottlenecks and stifled production. At least, it used to. 

Mobile micro frontend architecture enables architects and enterprises to build and ship applications faster than ever. By permitting web teams to contribute to native codebases, app development can be done in parallel with the native team handling the native core functionality of the app and the web team quickly developing critical features.

This type of architecture turns traditional app development on its head. Micro frontend architecture breaks down a monolithic structure into smaller feature sets, allowing teams to rethink how applications are built.

Increase velocity by building and shipping in parallel

Micro frontend architecture enables development teams to add new features and deploy critical bug fixes by working in parallel. This gives teams full autonomy to update, build, and ship features on their own terms, in their own time. 

Building in parallel also minimizes the overall risk of feature breaks that comes with updating individual features one at a time.

Use case: A financial institution’s solution to combining two apps

One financial services company sought to integrate two existing Angular apps into an existing native mobile application. With micro frontend architecture, this company can still use the Angular apps for their web experience while simultaneously bringing them over into the native application. This allows Angular developers to maintain granular control over their features while native teams work to keep the shell of the native application running. 

Securely maintain core features on the native side

Parallel app development seems like the right solution for shipping apps and features faster, but what about security? Can a web developer and native development accidentally overstep and cause greater issues when working on various code bases at once?

With micro frontends, mobile native teams can grant multiple internal teams permission to safely and securely contribute to different parts of the app. Limits can be placed on what the web team can access, giving them a sandbox-like experience to work autonomously without risk of breaking the native code.  

Use case: A white-label app brings unique experiences to customers

A white-label service provides hardware and software to fitness centers around the world. A huge portion of their business is reliant on a branded member mobile app for gyms that purchase their software, from large gyms to smaller studios.

Micro frontends enable third party companies—like payment solutions and rewards offerings—access to develop web-based pieces of content that can be injected into the main mobile experience without interfering with the rest of the code. This specific access allows for  parallel development without compromising security.

Reuse microapps across multiple applications

Micro frontend architecture not only allows for parallel development across web and native mobile teams, but it enables reuse of web content across multiple platforms.

Web teams developing common experiences like chat functionality, shopping cart checkout, and standard copy like FAQs or legal boilerplate text can see reuse experiences across various platforms, rather than just on the web. That means faster time-to-market by eliminating the need to rewrite new web experiences across all devices.

Reusing content also ensures standardization among different teams for continuity and feature parity. This ultimately leads to a seamless and trusted customer experience.

Additionally, beyond reusing this content on native applications, this functionality can expand to smart TVs, refrigerators, car systems, and other platforms.

Use case: An ecommerce platform improves time to market

An ecommerce company has existing iOS and Android apps and a robust, full-featured web shop. By migrating to a micro frontend architecture, the company can integrate the existing web shop into the iOS and Android applications without rewriting any code, replicating the catalog for each device, or maintaining multiple unique code bases. Instead, the iOS and Android teams simply maintain the native shells while the web team provides the content.

In addition to the online product catalog, the web team can develop the checkout sequence and make updates to other features autonomously without the input of the native teams.

Get started with micro frontends

While a micro frontend architecture may seem like the ideal solution to develop applications faster than ever, it is worth mentioning that migrating to this new architecture takes planning. Consider the effort required to shift team organization into feature teams, break up applications into micro frontends, and finally maintain those micro frontends. It can seem daunting. Ionic Portals can help.

Portals enables the organizational shift needed to adopt a micro frontend architecture. Once your company organizes teams by feature sets to accommodate the micro frontend architecture, Portals takes care of the rest. With Portals micro frontend management is simple, allowing teams to:

  • Coordinate between different groups within the company
  • Autonomously update micro frontends
  • Automate caching and delivery
  • Test & roll back new features

If you’re considering moving your native applications to a mobile micro frontend architecture and want to learn more about Portals, reach out to a Portals Specialist to discuss your company’s needs and activate a trial.

Christine Perez

Product Marketing Manager