Building Microservice-based Applications using Orkes Conductor

Riza Farheen
Developer Advocate
April 28, 2023
Reading Time: 8 mins

Adapting to market trends and customer demands in today's fast-paced digital world requires businesses to be agile and responsive. Recent studies on the microservice adoption rate in building applications reveal that the microservice industry is set to experience a growth of around 22% in the coming five years. The adoption of microservices has become a critical enabler of digital transformation, empowering enterprises to swiftly adapt to changing customer needs and market conditions. With flexibility, scalability, and agility being the essential attributes for thriving in the digital era, microservice adoption has revolutionized the development and deployment of distributed applications.

In this blog post, you’ll learn about building your applications using Orkes Conductor. Orkes Conductor is a cloud-based platform built on the battle-tested Netflix Conductor that can build distributed applications at lightning speed empowering your businesses to thrive in the modern digital world.

From Monoliths to Microservices

Let’s look at the age of monoliths, where applications were built using the traditional approach of monolithic architecture.

Monolithic architecture can be imagined as a huge container where all the components of an application are tightly coupled together. The term “monolith” is defined as a large structure that is indivisible and slow to change. The case of applications built with this architecture is also the same. The entire application code is encapsulated within a single code base, making it difficult to scale and manage. This is a generic approach in app development, and almost all the developers might have started their app development with this architecture.

The most prominent challenges posed by the monolithic applications include:

  • Code Complexity - As and when your application grows, it becomes difficult to manage a single codebase. Whenever a change is to be made, the entire stack is to be accessed and updated, which increases the complexity of handling the code. The failure of a single component may result in taking down the entire application.
  • Slow Development Cycle - Since the application code is maintained in a single container, it takes more time, thus slowing down the development process.
  • Scalability - Monolithic applications are difficult to scale because if you need to update an individual component, you cannot do so; instead, you need to scale the entire application, which further increases the complexity.
  • Reliability - It's difficult to debug the application because the entire code needs to be debugged if an error occurs, which reduces the reliability of the application.
  • Difficulty in Adapting to Latest Technologies - Any changes with the technology, such as the languages or frameworks, requires updating the entire code of the application.

What do we do to overcome these challenges? That’s where a microservice architecture comes into play.

In a microservice architecture, applications are built as individual services, where each component has its own database and business logic. For example, consider the case of a food delivery application. The different processes, such as registration, payment, shipment, notifications, etc., can be handled using individual microservices. These services communicate with each other through APIs or message brokers to complete their scope. Each service can be updated, tested, scaled, and deployed independently. This makes it easier for different teams to collaborate and work together on the application.

Streamlining App Development using Orkes Conductor

Generally, the applications are built by writing code in any programming language, designing and implementing functions, integrating with databases and queues, and more. Each of these flows can be considered as individual services that come together to complete the application. Conductor helps to wire these services together easily. An orchestration engine like Conductor enables you to monitor these services and ensure that each service works seamlessly.

Applications are built as workflows in Orkes Conductor. Several individual building blocks are combined together to create a workflow. These building blocks represent individual microservices that can be scaled and deployed individually. They are represented as tasks in Conductor. The workflows can be defined in such a way as to orchestrate these tasks to align with your business requirements.

The tasks are of two types: System tasks which are the pre-build tasks such as calling an HTTP service. The other type is the Operators, which are the basic programming language constructs such as conditional statements, while loops, etc. You can mix and match these tasks to complete your application as per your requirements.

Build Application 10x faster - How?

Developers spend most of their time handling errors, scaling, resiliency, etc. Orkes Conductor lets you concentrate on your business's specific requirements for your applications, and our platform automatically takes care of things like error handling and resiliency. This allows you to devote all the time you would typically spend scaling the system or making it error-proof to building meaningful business features. As a result, you will get a greater return on your investment. Developing your application with Conductor saves all of these efforts, resulting in a 10-fold increase in productivity.

Now let’s have a look at the core features in Conductor that helps accelerate your app development:

  • Scalability - The applications can be effortlessly adjusted with the varying business needs, allowing modifications to specific sections of your application without adversely impacting the entire application.
  • Reliability - With the native error-handling capabilities, the applications built using Conductor can achieve greater resilience. With the inbuilt functionalities such as retries, time out, rate limits, etc., the application can be configured to handle the encountered errors automatically.
  • Language Agnostic - Be it Java, Python, Golang, CSharp, Javascript, or Clojure, it’s your application, so you can code in your preferred language. In addition, you can also set up your application in a hybrid language environment, which allows you to code specific sections of your application in different languages.
  • Hybrid Cloud Environment - Your application can be run on any cloud infrastructure, which gives organizations greater flexibility in choosing their preferred cloud platform. In addition, you can also set up a multi-cloud environment where you can mix and match the different providers for various segments of your application.
  • Stateful Serverless - A possible challenge faced by a microservice-based application is maintaining the state of each service, especially when they need to interact with one another. This can be tackled using Conductor, which provides a way to execute applications by defining the sequence of microservices.
  • Visibility - One of the greatest features of Conductor is the ability to view your applications. From Conductor’s UI, you can quickly build applications using blocks that limit your application to low-code configuration. The visual representation aids in quickly iterating applications based on evolving business needs. You can also easily debug issues while looking into the application flow.
  • Long Running Workflows - Depending on the use cases, some applications may be required to be run for a prolonged duration. You can automate your applications to run at a regular cadence. This can be achieved by designing your application to run repeatedly using various Conductor functionalities, such as running the application in a loop using the start workflow concept.
  • Scheduler - Yet another way to run your application at regular intervals is by utilizing the scheduler functionality. It allows you to run your application at regular schedules, such as every hour/month/year, depending on your requirement, using the crontab expression.
  • Workflow Versioning - The applications (workflows) can be designed to run different versions depending on your requirements.

Getting Started with Orkes Conductor

Now you know how applications can be built using Conductor and the core features that aid in accelerating your app development. Let’s see the different ways to set up Orkes Conductor.

Setting up Conductor can be handled in different ways, such as locally using Docker, Orkes Cloud, or you can even try out Conductor for free using Orkes Playground.

Why Microservice-based Applications Are the Future?

With several factors that make app development faster with a microservice-based approach, it's high time for you to rethink your app development strategy. A microservice-based application is easier and quicker to develop than traditional monolithic applications, thus providing less time to market.

Implementing this model in your business can help developers to build applications quickly. They have the freedom over their part of the application rather than the entire code. It’s up to their choice to choose the language or frameworks for developing their part of the application. Also, they gain more freedom in tackling the issues as their application portion is independent of the rest. The benefits list goes on!!!!

With a tool like Orkes Conductor, you can seamlessly build and deploy your enterprise applications using the microservice approach.

Why don’t you give a try on Orkes Conductor? We offer a cloud version - Orkes Cloud in all major cloud platforms, including AWS, Azure, and GCP.

Have more queries? Reach us via the Slack community.

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