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Definition

micro app

A micro app is a small, mobile application that is designed to perform one, simple task. Micro apps are similar to desktop utility programs. In a microapp architecture, the user interacts with application functionality that runs inside an application container. Each app can function by itself or be combined with other micro apps to create a more complex program. When the complex program invokes a micro-app, it will carry out its specific task.

Focusing on the workflow and encapsulating the workflow into a reusable component promotes reuse during runtimes and ensuresthe end user experiences a consistent workflow between sessions. Because the workflow for a micro app focuses on a specific, self-contained event, the architecture helps address many common technical issues found in larger, monolithic mobile apps -- including improving performance and reducing power consumption and storage.

Beneficial features of micro apps include:

Low cost: Because micro apps have lean functionality, they take less time to build, use very little development resources and require less money for improvements and upkeep.

Independent: Micro apps are designed with a microservice architecture. Each app can function independently and is typically supported by a dedicated database.

Compact and customized: Micro apps are modular, flexible and minimal. The tasks they perform are tailored to improve user experience.

Cross-functional: The simplicity of micro apps makes it possible to deploy them on all types of devices and platforms without the need for separate coding, features or versions.

HTML/HTML5 compliant: Micro apps can be embedded into existing applications or websites.

Supportive of larger apps: Major social media sites have also begun implementing micro apps to perform certain tasks outside of the main platform. Examples of this would be Facebook Messenger or Google Hangouts.

This was last updated in May 2019

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