18 Jan 2022

Advinser Microservices: creation and validation of online invoices.

Reading time: 5 minutes

When we talk about microservices, we refer to a particular type of approach to the construction of an application's architecture during its development. This architectural process arises from the need to overcome the traditional "monolithic" development methods, structured as a single block. By contrast, microservices are able to carry out a single specific operation articulated within a broader system. In practice, they are small, distinct and specialised applications. It is the most advanced style of architecture today, whose main feature lies in its versatility, able to streamline many aspects of the work.

Advinser's features

Advinser's development team immediately grasped the full potential of the microservices approach, identifying a series of lines and sectors that could be affected by this new type of architecture. In particular, by observing the critical issues of our current customers and speculating those that could arise over time, we focused on the field of e-commerce and on making the work on our online trading platforms as streamlined and efficient as possible.

Of all the aspects taken into consideration, we put a special focus on invoicing: specifically, we thought about how to improve the feature relating to the validation and creation of electronic invoices.

Advinser's billing microservice shows the same typical strengths of this type of architecture:

  • Wide reusability of the code: we want to make the feature as shareable as possible between different applications;
  • Immediate updates: at any time and simultaneously in real time, you can make updates, solve any problems and add new features on multiple applications, without having to take direct action on each app;
  • Reduced time to market: the feature's time to market decreases significantly.

The microservice is designed following the now consolidated SaaS approach ("software as a service"): this application service model means that the programme is not purchased directly by customers, rather a subscription is paid to authorise its use. In this way, costs for companies choosing the Advinser microservice are significantly reduced.

Tools and specifications

In the conception and development phase, our developers wanted to take into account all possible critical issues, trying to predict and anticipate every scenario: the microservice is therefore scalable and its deployment has been made on Kubernetes, the portable, extensible and open-source platform designed for workload and containerised service management. The choice to rely on K8s stems from the desire to keep the feature as light and agile as possible, allowing for targeted and rapid interventions. Despite the fact that the architecture was designed to be simple, we also chose to base it on containers in order to have more room for manoeuvre in the future should interventions be needed and to lighten the workload as much as possible.

Even for storage, our team has created a solution able to guarantee a safety and stability standard well above average. Indeed, we use a PostgreSQL cluster as a database, so as to have constant control over the microservice and thus be able to access and intervene in a timely manner. The cluster used is both scalable and supported by a redundancy apparatus: these measures make the entire system reliable and protected from any risk of data loss.

A microservice to meet your needs

Advinser's microservice for electronic billing has been designed and built to be integrated into all our e-commerce platforms: this allows us to avoid having to install the specific code relating to the validation and creation of invoices within each individual program, rather we simply have to connect it with the external service and then activate and use it through its interfaces. If a malfunction of the feature is detected, we simply take action by directly correcting the microservice; simultaneously, all connected applications can benefit from this intervention.

Our development team opted to carefully assess every possibility during the creation of the billing microservice for two main reasons: the first is to obtain an efficient, agile and light tool, which is easy to use and activate; the second concerns the desire to make the best possible technology available to our customers, ensuring reliability and safety. Precisely for this reason, we have set up our microservice in such a way that it does not retain any sensitive data, neither of the companies that use it in their e-commerce, nor of their customers who make purchases on the online store. The feature is limited to acting as a bridge between the various services, guaranteeing the highest level of privacy.

Microservices: present and future.

State-of-the-art technology, safety and reliability: the key words around which Advinser builds its work and carries out projects, in synergy with our customers and with the firm commitment to listening to their needs. With this precise objective, the development team began work on a new feature: designed to integrate seamlessly with all the services offered by the "Cloud Billing" online software, the new microservice allows the generation of an electronic invoice and its subsequent sending directly to the account of the customer who issued it, acting in real time on the database referred to in the master data. A further step forward, to make everything the microservices architectural system has to offer available to those who entrust their business to Advinser and its staff.