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A Guide to Component Driven Development (CDD)

Introduction

The creation of evolutionary applications with future-proof architectures is a challenging task. Given the number of organizations relying on modern frontend trends to develop and ship software products globally to millions of users, the need to choose an architecture that can scale and speed up development processes has become essential. More than creating a complex app with innovative features, building an app with a simple and decoupled codebase is the priority today. Why do you ask?

The primary reason is that a quality application is imminent to obtain user growth. After a certain period, scaling up the app in terms of features, server capacity, and so on would be inevitable. However, due to budgetary limitations or ignorance through the attitude of “we will scale later”, most organizations build apps with tightly coupled architectures where scaling becomes impossible in the future.

For example, around 2008, Netflix faced one too many problems in handling their server capacity and user billing cycles because of their architecture’s inability to scale. So until 2010, they took a series of decisions to create a loosely coupled architecture that supports AWS, NoSQL-based databases, and Component Driven Development (CDD) to improve their design system. The result of Netflix’s growth today is history. CDD is one of the tops most frontend trends followed today due to its ability to allow autonomous teams to focus on core features and specified codebase for incremental evolution of a software application. 

Similar to Netflix, if you are looking for an opportunity to create a component-specific application, then CDD is the solution for you. In this article, you will find an overview of the CDD approach and why it is beneficial for your project.

Introduction to CDD: What Is It?

Component-driven development is an approach that solely relies on building apps around components as the primary focus. Its key feature and process involve building the UI of an application from scratch from the level of components. This approach works based on the principle of providing benefits such as reusability and composability to the components. 

Top tech giants like Hubspot, Airbnb, and IBM have identified that following CDD dramatically accelerates the development process. Furthermore, it helps maintain consistency in the application quality via smooth integration, code maintenance, consistency in UI interface-based, and so much more. Most of all, scaling up an application with CDD is highly possible since components are built separately and independent from one another. Hence, development teams can incrementally update, test, and debug specific components without influencing their respective dependencies.

Benefits: Why Should You Leverage CDD?

Much similar to micro frontend or microservices, CDD relies on decoupling significant components into smaller ones that improve the efficiency of back-end development. Following CDD with frameworks such as React, Angular, Vue, etc., provide a wide range of possibilities in building a highly scalable and performing app. Following are some of the valuable benefits of undertaking the CDD methodology:

1. Component Reusability

CDD offers high flexibility for creating a frontend of an application with extensible features. Here, flexibility indicates the ability to reuse the same component in different places. This component can be interlinked to different data based on the requirement.

2. Component Libraries

Component libraries are convenient, especially during the time of need to scale an app. It offers an open-source repository to product-ready components that are accessible, customizable, and reusable. In addition to that component, libraries reduce incompatibility problems between the frontend and the components used.

3. Code Maintenance

Instead of modifying an entire application when a particular section of an app has to be updated, CDD allows extending the specific components. This helps to avoid unnecessary refactoring of codes during software evolution or building a new app.

4. UI-Centric

CDD approach provides a framework with the modern trends of modularization of UI incrementally. It follows a style guide-driven development that allows customization of UI components such as buttons, drop-down and more.

In a Nutshell

CDD indeed offers a way to speed up the development process and is reliable too. It provides critical approaches to even create complex interfaces without compromising the quality. However, the full potential of using CDD can be achieved only if external tools that use this methodology are leveraged. Some of those tools include Bit, StoryBook, and Styleguidist. 

This highlights the learning curve that though CDD is easy to understand, it might require constant effort from the developer team to identify ways to use tools and libraries to reap all the benefits.

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