Integrating microfrontend tooling into OpenMRS SDK?

@grace I have no idea since I have not yet dipped my toes, into it it yet, so was just a suggestion.

@tendomart 2 SDKs are a no-go area. What is so special about MFE/OCL that requires a new different SDK. Remember the lifetime of these front-end technologies is 2-3 years, so it will be replaced soon with something else

FYI - Server side rendering is back in vogue with new paradigms like HotWire and now React has some implementation

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years or just months :grinning: ??

I agree with @ibacher’s points, though since you called it out over the others @grace I think SDK goals that facilitate creating a new microfrontend (eg. create-project) are less valuable than those responsible for installing and updating artifacts into a server (eg. the deploy goal), whether this is a new install or an update of an existing install, and whether this is an individual artifact or all of the components that make up a broader distribution.

At PIH, we rarely if ever use the openmrs-sdk:create-project goal. We very often use goals like “setup” and “deploy” against a server that is configured with an file as a part of a distribution.

The typical workflow would be to:

  1. Install a distribution into a new server with openmrs-sdk:setup, where -Ddistro points to a maven project that has an file on the classpath.

  2. Update this server to the latest version of the distribution over time, using openmrs-sdk:deploy -Ddistro points to an updated file with new versions

  3. Update this server to run a new or update an existing artifact, but running openmrs-sdk:deploy while in the top-level directory (with pom.xml) for a given project.

It would be great if we could start:

  1. Specifying the microfrontends that are part of our distribution in a structured configuration file (expanding on the current, or evolving this in some way)

  2. Have the SDK goals responsible for installing/updating artifacts into an SDK server able to do so in a manner consistent with how it supports modules, war, and owas.

(Note: supporting config packages would be the other component we’d want to support in a similar fashion)



Agree with not creating a second SDK. Devs working primarily in frontend technologies already have tooling like npm, nvm, etc.

Enhancing our SDK to facilitate the packaging, deployment, and running of OpenMRS instances with new frontend artifacts makes sense.

Put simply, our SDK should make development, packaging, & deployment easier while focusing on simplifying & standardizing the OpenMRS-specific steps that devs otherwise need to do manually and the fewer OpenMRS-specific aspects of development we have, the better.

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Noted all ,thanks

I’d like to work on this in the next couple weeks. Not the generator part (sorry @ibacher ) but rather the integration with setup, deploy, and run.

What we have presently is IMO a second SDK, npx openmrs, which is a very good thing and was definitely the right decision. The task now is to integrate that with the maven SDK.

I agree with @mseaton 's proposals. As @ibacher suggests, I think we should implement this by having the maven SDK delegate to the openmrs frontend tool as much as possible.

So I suggest that should support the following sorts of properties:

# Microfrontends to include, a la microfrontends.json

# The base application path and SPA path

# Paths to config files to build in

# Additional import map lines
    # becomes the line "config-file"="assets/another-config.json"

# Additional assets to bundle with the application

Where we have files config-json, config-site.json, and assets/another-config.json all in the distro folder.

This will build the specified frontend application to frontend/ in the application data directory, both in development and when building the distribution. This will work out of the box with openmrs-module-spa.

I don’t know how the SDK should support builds where the frontend is being served from outside the application data directory. We should figure this out. @mksrom , @mksd ?

I realize this seems like a lot of new stuff in Other ideas are welcome. But these are all application build parameters and that seemed like the natural place for them to go.

CC @jdick , @corneliouzbett , @dkayiwa

EDIT: Changed spa.@xyz to spa.microfrontends.@xyz


This is great! I might start working on MFs.

IMO: with the assumption that the individual who wants to serve frontend assets outside the application directory already has a pipeline of building those assets. So maybe adding a prompt to decide whether to serve from a remote URL, If yes ask for the URL and skip building the frontend assets, then use the information to set the GPs; spa.remote.enabed=true and spa.remote.url=<provided-URL>. Dunno how SDK is architecture but a simple insert for the GPs will do the trick.


As far as I know that doesn’t matter too much.

And otherwise I am really excited to see this work being moved forward @bistenes! That will be really useful for the ICRC as we start embracing O3 in the next few months (hopefully).

Cc @frederic.deniger


Thanks for working on this @bistenes ! With a quick review, this makes sense to me!

Take care, Mark

@bistenes Thanks for this, this looks great!

Are these actually necessary to create a distro bundle? They look to me like more of runtime considerations than distribution-time, but I suppose these are embedded in the actual SPA page?

The SDK doesn’t really have a role in the actual instance running nor do we want to make that a requirement. So having the SDK directly create GPs is probably not the best idea (the SDK at best loads a skeleton of the OMRS DB schema that’s then modified by the Liquibase scripts).


Yeah, that is the case exactly. Not sure there’s a good way around it that wouldn’t introduce a bunch more server-client coupling.

Yeah, that definitely makes sense.

@mksd & @mksrom, will @bistenes’ approach work with the folder layout convention proposed in RefApp 3.x? I mean, I know it can work, but do we see a way to make this the default/assumed convention that “just works”?

@burke isn’t that a question for @bistenes?

Maybe I’m missing something but what the SDK does usually is build the distro and then do its thing. Building the distro means relying on the build of the distro Maven project. In other words the SDK acts downstream of the distro project.

But if anything needs to be changed in the distro project to make the SDK tooling easier, let’s do it. It’s not too late since we haven’t released anything yet.

Actually, I’m just realizing that the RefApp 3.x layout doesn’t have an file. It seems like the modules are just listed in the POM.

So it seems completely orthogonal to what I’m working on here. But maybe the RefApp 3.x layout should instead be built around an openmrs-distro file?

The old Ref App (so to say) requires to maintain the file LHS keys in sync with the POM dependencies. That was always “ok” but obviously requires some additional attention.

Having some tooling that generates that file from the POM file would be ideal. Whilst writing this I realise that this piece of O3-minded tooling could be somewhere in the SDK?

Would this mean that we’d also want to define the microfrontends in the POM?

I do think it’s worthwhile to discuss whether the file is secondary, and generated from information in a distribution POM, or whether it is a primary artifact that is maintained and complementary to the distribution POM (or could stand alone and not require a distribution POM).

Maybe the answer is that both are valid options, as long as we build common standards in our distribution packaging.

The assumption I’ve been making is the the file (and / or some new openmrs-distro.yml file) would continue to evolve as a means to define an OpenMRS distribution in full, and that SDK and other tooling would be able to install a fully defined and operational OpenMRS instance with war, modules, owas, config, and microfrontends with just the configuration present in this file.

Interested in discussion more and hearing others thoughts.


Thanks @mseaton for sharing your thoughts. I realised that I had a draft response for @bistenes that I had left hanging… and now rather that posting it I’d suggest that we take this to a good ol’ TAC.

Cc @grace

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Roger that @mksd, I’ve added this to the top priority list for next week’s TAC.