From the Editor

Modules, Not Monoliths

Cloud-native development puts modular app development first.

By Tom Haunert

March/April 2017

Back in the 1990s, I attended a lot of developer-focused presentations and events that started with the premise that monolithic applications are not the wave of the future. One big emphasis at the time was that a monolithic, single-tier architecture of data access and UI code was a poor choice for an always-changing world.


Self-contained monolithic applications continue to challenge developers and businesses, but for different reasons. The good news in these modern times is that cloud-native development delivers the architectures and processes that make it easy to move from the monolithic past to the dynamic and modular future.

A knock against twenty-first-century one-piece monolithic applications is their independence. That’s right—this is a case where independence can be a negative. A modern monolithic app may include everything it needs to function without having to call any other apps, services, or app modules, but it’s also unlikely to open itself for use by other apps, services, and app modules. And the other side of that monolithic app independence is a complex internal interdependence of all its application components, making any change to the application a complicated process.

Technical innovations drive change, and of course those innovations drive app changes. Cloud apps are changing more quickly than the on-premises apps they are replacing, and while monolithic apps can and do change, modular apps can be updated more quickly, with rapid changes only to the modules that are delivering the latest innovations.

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Add to this mix the fact that today’s modular cloud applications don’t need to do everything themselves. If your modular app can use the latest payment and messaging services, for example, that’s better for your modular app development processes and your app users. But those changes aren’t easy with monolithic apps.

In this issue’s interview, “Future-Focused Development,” Amit Zavery, senior vice president of integration products at Oracle, talks about the benefits of modular development, APIs, and microservices. Beyond the agility that modular development provides, Zavery points to the importance of APIs and microservices in cloud-native development. APIs and microservices let you do more than consume application capabilities and make your own services available to other apps. “The API is really your contract with the rest of the developer community and the rest of the world,” he says.

In “Oracle Code: What We Learned,” Alexandra Weber Morales describes what went down at the inaugural Oracle Code event on March 1 in San Francisco, California. Oracle President Thomas Kurian’s event-opening keynote set the tone, and the keynotes, hands-on labs, and other sessions that followed paid off the Kurian keynote. Read more on what Oracle delivered at the event, and what’s next in the Oracle Code 20-city event series.

Tom Haunert, Editor in Chief
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