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5 tips that will supercharge your Node.js microservices development

Lee Brandt - 2022-10-25

Many companies are moving from a single application code base to a microservices-based approach to software development. Getting started can be a daunting task and using some of the following tools can make that move a lot more manageable.

1. Manually test your Node.js APIs with Postman

Postman has been around for quite a while and is an indispensable tool for manually testing APIs. You can create “collections” of API endpoints that make it easier to test APIs by saving and sharing) a collection, you don’t have to remember what the endpoint is called or what parameters need to be passed to it. You can just pull up the endpoint, fill in the parameters, make the call, and inspect the results. This makes it an excellent tool for manually testing APIs

2. Build a Node.js API with NestJS

NestJS is a server-side framework for building APIs with JavaScript or TypeScript. It’s built on top of Express, which is arguably the most popular server-side framework for Node.js. But NestJS adds an ease of use that makes it ideal for creating complicated APIs without complicating the codebase. Even though NestJS is built with TypeScript, the team made sure to preserve the compatibility with pure JavaScript, so it works well with either.

3. Build Kubernetes clusters for your Node.js microservices

Kubernetes (often abbreviated as K8s) is a system for managing containerized applications. It manages the lifecycle, health, and load-balancing of those containers. This makes it perfect for deploying larger microservice-based applications. It arranges containers, called pods, and groups them into “clusters”. Being able to quickly add, remove, and replace containers in a cluster allows Kubernetes to easily scale up and scale down. Kubernetes is the most used container management tool and an essential tool for managing microservice applications.

4. Use Docker to containerize your Node.js microservices

Docker is a container runtime that allows developers to create an entire portable application environment by packaging up the entire machine-like environment and making it easy to create, move, destroy, and duplicate that environment. 

Docker is one of the container runtimes that Kubernetes uses and is possibly the most popular. Docker has been in the container game since the beginning and allows developers to create images, that are blueprints for creating containers that they can then upload and share with their team, or even the world. There are also lots of premade images on Docker Hub, an image repository, or you can host your own image repository. In fact, on Docker Hub, there is an image that allows developers to containerize their image repository. That’s some Inception-type stuff.

5. Always design automated tests

Automated testing is one of the most useful tools in microservice development, really any kind of development. It allows developers to have a greater sense of confidence in the code they deploy, reducing the cost of fixing bugs by discovering them as early as possible. All this while having the added benefit of allowing developers to refactor with confidence, ensuring that code changes don’t cause unforeseen bugs. 

While manually testing Node.js APIs is easy using Postman, automated testing in Node.js microservices is a bit murkier. There are unit tests, integration tests, E2E (end-to-end) testing, and the list goes on. For unit testing frameworks, I prefer something like Mocha and Chai for unit testing, and Sinon or Nock for mocking functionality not being tested by the current unit test. E2E testing has its own set of tools, like Cypress and Jest.

Bonus: Try Architect.io to make deploying your Node.js microservices painless!

Architect.io can make the deployment of microservice-based applications easier by using the Yet Another Markup Language (YAML) syntax to describe the entire microservices application. You can specify dependencies and packages needed for deployment and Architect.io can use that information to cleanly roll things back in case of deployment issues. 

Architect.io also allows developers to easily spin-up preview environments. In fact, if you attach your deployment to your Git code repository, Architect.io can create preview environments for every pull request, making it easier to check the changes before merging into the main branch.

Learn more about Node.js microservices and Architect.io!

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