Information technology can easily turn from an engine of progress into a deterrent. This happens most often because any information system has its own functional limitations. Modern trends in the development of information systems require designers to include in the architecture of systems the ability to dynamically expand their functionality. The use of a modular architecture is justified if any application functionality is reused. This approach will provide the necessary flexibility, mobility, and scalability to the business.
You may find it engaging to visit cutt.ly/pfxorfV and find out how to bring your idea to life and develop a mobile app. According to Statista, revenue in the app market is expected to show an annual growth rate of 10.4%, while user penetration is expected to hit 13.4% by 2024.
Monolithic vs Modular Apps
The use of monolithic applications was first discussed in 2005 at the Cloud Computing conference. Big apps became too inconvenient to develop, but they did not provide the required implementation speed and functionality, they were difficult to test and took a long time to put into operation. They did not allow for quick amendments and rapid response to changes in business requirements.
Even then, modules were called a new stage in the development of architecture, which will provide applications with the necessary flexibility and lightness. As soon as there are repetitive moments or duplicate functions in the program, then it becomes necessary to switch to modules. By dividing the “monolith” into modules, the developer gets the opportunity to parallelize the development, which significantly reduces the lead time.
Each module is a small monolithic program that performs its function. To develop a modular application, first of all, it is necessary to select the functionality that should be extended using modules. When developing an architecture, you can add any number of new modules to a software product, expanding its functionality. To achieve this in a monolithic program, you need to make changes to the main product. They are complete blocks made up of models, views, controllers, and other supporting components.
When modules are installed in an application, the end-user gets access to their controllers. For this reason, they are often viewed as miniature applications. Unlike applications, modules cannot be deployed separately. These must be inside applications.
Building a Modular Architecture
A modular architecture implies breaking all the functionality of an application into separate modules, each of which is responsible for a certain part of the application’s functionality in such a way that modular architecture can be described as a collection of many monolithic modules within one application. Each application module is functionally independent of the other, and therefore its application in different parts of the code will not cause malfunctions. In fact, this provides ease of refactoring and transfer of module boundaries.
It should be noted that when one module is changed, other modules will not be affected, and therefore the debug task is simplified. All that is required is to adjust the rest of the modules that use the functionality of the modified module for the new capabilities and requirements of the latter if changes in it can cause the application to fail. In addition, all modules interact with each other in a synchronous order, since they are located on the same hardware, and if necessary, a separate database or part of the data with which this module will work can be allocated for the module.
An example would be modern PHP frameworks used for the rapid development of web applications. In these frameworks, each created class-module has specific functionality and does not interact directly with that part of the application for which it was not intended.
When developing, it is necessary to adhere to the principle of modularity, that is, the software should be a set of separate, loosely connected block-modules. At the same time, the interaction between modules should be strictly regulated in such a way that each module provides, according to general rules, an interface for working with itself. In this case, changes in one module will have much less effect on the rest of the modules, and in cases where the influence still cannot be avoided, the difficulties will be much less than in a monolithic application, due to the presence of regulated interfaces for the interaction of modules.
When different modules are developed, it just remains to collect them into a single system. At the same time, each individual microservice can be easily transformed in accordance with changing market requirements without interfering with the operation of the entire application.
Advantages of Using Modules
They are best suited for large applications, the functionality of which can be divided into several groups, in each of which the functions are closely related to each other. Each group of functions can be developed as a module, on which one developer or one team works.
They are a good way to reuse code at the function group level. You can implement functionality such as user management or comment management as modules, and then use those modules in future developments.
An additional advantage of using modules to implement business functions is that they work in the same way in different systems. For example, using the same module in different systems that issue the client’s passport data upon request, we will get the same result everywhere in the same form. This is a guarantee of the stable quality of the app.
Thus, the modular architecture of the application was born out of the monolithic architecture when it became complex and inconvenient to work with. The main difference between modular and a monolith is the use of specialized, simpler programs (modules) when executing an application script. Whereas in a monolithic architecture, in-process interactions were used. And, what is most convenient, the modules can be located on different servers and their interaction occurs through the network using protocol-independent technology.
One of the key features of modern business is dynamism. Whoever entered the market first gets a competitive advantage. The quicker to make the necessary changes and implement improvements will gain a larger market share. All this leads to the fact that it is necessary to look for ways to speed up work, including software products. Moving from a monolithic architecture to modules makes the business more mobile and flexible. The company gets at its disposal an app that can quickly adapt to the needs of the business.