When was the last time that you used Netflix or Uber or Spotify or Amazon or Twitter? Most people would have used any of these applications in the last one hour. All these prominent technology companies have widely adopted microservices for their great advantages.
High scalability, ephemerality, agility, faster TTM, development productivity, easier debugging and maintenance – you name it, you got it with microservices. Now, even smaller organizations have also started adopting microservices. According to Statista 2021, 45% of the respondents believe that microservices offer great benefits to the development team and promote better collaboration between the team members.
So, first things first!
What are Microservices?
The term ‘Microservices’ refers to the architectural framework of software development where the application comprises distributed and independently deployable services to perform different business functions and communicate with separate APIs. This architecture allows room for individual development without impacting the entire system and allows companies to evolve their technology stack.
When we talk about microservices development, the first question to consider is – which language is the best to code microservices development? Before we head to that, let us review the criteria of choosing a programming language for it.
How to Choose a Language for Microservices Development?
There are no fixed rules for choosing a framework or programming language for microservices development. Practically speaking, you can use any programming language to develop microservices architecture, but the preferences and experiences vary greatly. Here are a few factors to consider before getting started with microservices integration.
- Consumer-first approach
- Decentralized components
- Culture of Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD)
- Developed around the business domain
- Automation culture
- Independent deployment
- Hidden implementation details
Along with these criteria, an ideal microservices development language should:
- Have simplified coding (avoid C languages)
- Not be a VM-based language
- Change along with the speed requirements
- Preferably allow you to create static binaries
With this fair understanding of microservices and considerations behind choosing the best programming language, what is the most preferred language for microservices development? Four of the most common choices are:
Let us now weigh in on their pros and cons!
Java is one of the most popular coding languages with developers, and rightfully so – it offers plenty of benefits like easier maintainability, and code readability with annotation syntax. There are numerous microservices Java frameworks like Spark Java, Swagger, Play!, Spring Boot, DropWizard, and Jersey. The top Java frameworks are:
- Spring Boot: Spring Boot enables a solid infrastructure for all kinds of applications, from Big Data to enhanced security. It also works for Inversion Control, Aspect-Oriented Programming, and other such vital factors.
- DropWizard: DropWizard includes Java libraries, reducing the development time considerably. It is known for developing high-performing RESTful web services alongside Java microservices.
- Jersey: Jersey is an open-source framework that supports JAX-RS APIs in Java. It offers easy routing and faster speed.
- Swagger: Swagger offers a development portal to test your APIs while documenting the APIs too.
Additionally, many cloud providers can scale up Java-based microservices. It also allows developers to experiment with other frameworks and languages without investing much in the process and allows for a hassle-free shift from one system to the other.
Java is indeed a stable and mature tool for microservices development, but it is not the apt language for every project. The Java code tends to be complex, it requires more memory, and it is also relatively slower. So, one should compare it with other programming languages as per your specific requirements too.
Golang is a comparatively newer programming language (released by Google, 2009) and has a logical and simple syntax, making it conveniently understandable for most developers. Golang provides improved support for concurrency, better speed, and a microservices architecture with independent components. Golang also allows developing microservices for complex and huge applications.
Golang also supports powerful frameworks like:
- · Gizmo: This microservice framework can help with its advanced building components like configs and has server implementation capabilities.
- Go Kit: This framework is optimized for Domain-driven design (DDD), declarative compositions, and explicit dependencies. This library is designed to be imported to a binary package.
- Go Micro: This RPC framework offers advantages like message encoding, load balancing, PRC client and server packages.
However, as Golang is still a young language, there are several challenges with it too. It is difficult to make the most of their libraries. Also, there is no manual memory management, and the runtime safety is poor.
Overall, Golang inclines more towards a speedy production than security.
According to the TIOBE Programming Community Index for August 2021, Python is the second-most popular programming language. Developers use it to write clean indented codes and can modify them easily too. As the code is easier to maintain, the cost of product maintenance decreases significantly. Python has solid unit testing frameworks, great control capabilities to increase the speed and performance, strong process integration features, and zero chances of segmentation fault due to a bug. Python is an advantageous choice to write microservices because:
- It is compatible with legacy languages like PHP
- Accessible substitutes to heavy implementations like Django
- It is easier and faster to prototype in Python than other programming languages and frameworks
However, Python has several design limitations and requires higher testing time. It lacks security and has a high memory consumption, but apart from these limitations, Python is a well-rounded, approachable programming language for easier maintenance and high productivity.
One can consider Node.js for microservices development for the following reasons:
- It can handle a significant processing load with minimal response time
- Node.js, backed by millions of programmers and hosts over 4 million ready-to-use modules for faster app development and easy scalability
- It offers simple code maintenance and updating options
- It can save plenty of development time by supporting both front-end and back-end with the same language
- Ideal for microservices as developers can focus on individual services rather than interrupting the entire application
The combination of Node.js and microservices works great even for complex and high-traffic applications. However, this choice can differ from project to project.
We now head back to a Red Hat study on microservices which reveals that 45% of their respondents believe in choosing the ‘right tool for the right task’ instead of sweating over the apt framework or programming language.
You can go for any language that you are comfortable with or base your choice on the type of project that you are handling. So, choose either Java, Golang, Python, Node.js, or something entirely different, but have your tools in place to ensure that you support and execute the microservices development successfully.