Mike’s Tech Talk: Microservices in Retail

Hi I’m Mike Baxter head of
Infinity product here at Triquestra. This is the first in my technical series about APIs in which i’ll share some of my thoughts on the use of APIs in retail. Specifically
how we’re building Infinity APIs to enable innovation and help you deliver
better and better customer experiences in our increasingly on-demand world. First
up, microservices and why soon enough isn’t good enough in retail. Microservices are a new and emerging design pattern and gaining momentum as
businesses want to innovate more, connect with other businesses and wider channels. Traditionally those were achieved via a singular web API that was all
encompassing so one service is encapsulating everything that you wanted
to share and expose. What that meant it was a monolithic service and it meant
that a simple change would require an update to the entire entity. Microservices perform a singular function or group of functions specific to a
business area for example products, customers, inventory. Within that there is
a design pattern that enables the data to be consistent across those individual
services. What that means is that there is a condition where microservices have
points in time where the data is not consistent across those services. It’s a
natural design consideration and there is a phrase you’ll hear called ‘eventual
consistency’, which means by design that there will be points in time where those services
do not have the same data, but they will eventually become consistent. That’s why
in retail we think that eventual consistency is not always good enough.
With our Infinity API design strategy we’re embracing microservice and
working with eventual consistency, but, in order to ensure the fast
transactional experience, transactional integrity, and the consistency of
information when dealing with those customers, we’re using larger macro type
services where there are specific transaction behaviour. So we’re using a
combination of small microservices with the eventual consistency and larger
macro transactional services for the fast and accurate retail transaction.
Microservices and the macroservices still give us the speed of innovation,
the speed to adapt to business change and adapting to the ever-changing retail
world. I hope you found this useful, I’d love to hear your thoughts, and if you’d
like to know more please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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