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Tech Tim (@TechTim42)
Tech Tim (@TechTim42)

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at Medium

Learn to build a Hexagonal Architecture Micro Service

Micro Services became very popular, with the trending NodeJs, MERN Stacks. People started to give up their old monolith project and started to build more and more services to scale horizontally.

There is a new coming problem in this trend,

What is a good practice or a good pattern to make micro services flexible to talk to each other?

Question to ask what is a good practice for micro services

This is why Hexagonal Architecture becomes popular (aka Ports & Adapters Pattern/Architecture).

From Theory

Create your application to work without either a UI or a database so you can run automated regression-tests against the application, work when the database becomes unavailable, and link applications together without any user involvement.

Alistair Cockburn, Humans and Technology, arc@acm.org, HaT TR 2005.02, Sept. 04, 2005, Alistair Cockburn (v 0.9 to be updated after reader comments)

This is how hexagonal architecture was defined, and the purpose to have it.

How it works

Ports Adapters Hexagonal Architecture General Diagram

Ports

Ports are the interface for the Business Domain, to interact with the data outside of the domain.

A good practice to build ports is to build the interfaces.

  • Inbound Port/Driving Port: the interface expose the functionality out of the domain.
  • Outbound Port/Driven Port: to invoke/trigger things out of the domain. For example, CRUD on a database, consume a 3rd Party API etc.

Adapters

  • Primary/Driving/Inbound Adapter. An adapter to use the implementation of the inbound port. It could be a RESTful API controller, a MVC web controller, they are triggers in the services.

  • Secondary/Driven/Outbound Adapter. An adapter that trigger the other outbound services through Outbound Adapters. It could be a connection to a database, or a client to connect to another RESTful API etc.

Example - A Hexagonal Architecture Ticket System

Still not clear enough?

Talk is cheap, show me the codes. 🀣

I made an example in NestJs. (NestJS (not NextJS) is a powerful back-end node framework)

Ports Adapters Hexagonal Architecture Diagram with ticket as an example

https://github.com/tim-hub/nestjs-hexagonal-example

In the example, the domain here is ticketing.

  • It allow other services create and findAll tickets, this is the INBOUND
  • And it allow create and find records from DB (TicketInMemory). Which is the OUTBOUND.

The Hexagonal Architecture made it easy to switch to another Data Store, for example, PostgresDB, DynamoDB etc, simply implement the ITicketRepository without any domain logic change.

Summary

Pros

  • Flexibility. Hexagonal architecture is very useful for organizing Micro Services to make them easier to communicate to each other.
  • Decoupling. At the same time, In the patter, different services are decoupled to easily build small domain service with boundaries.

Cons

  • It could possibly increase code duplication, to re-use adapters and different but similar model codes.

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