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Developing microfrontends

What is a microfrontend (mfe)?

  • Single-spa allows us to connect independently-running applications into our root IA app and display them as pieces of our app. They can be developed and deployed separately from our root app while still being integrated and displayed as needed.

  • Once a mfe insertion point has been set up within IA, develop your mfe and enter your mfe’s URL using IA’s UI at the desired insertion point.

    Example: This is the insertion point for dashboard microfrontend URLs

Developing your microfrontend

  • Single-spa is built so you can write your mfe and host it wherever you’d like (e.g., GitHub, Bitbucket, etc.) We recommend using the following because we have tested this approach, and you can benefit from our shared utility functions, which are written in TypeScript:

    • Webpack

    • React TypeScript

    • Hosted on GitHub (unless you provide a link to your code’s compiled JavaScript entry file).

  • Follow the instructions for create-single-spa to set up your app. When asked to select the type to generate, choose single-spa application/parcel and React TypeScript.

  • Build your app.

Imports and utils

  • We have included a handful of packages in the import-map of our root app. They are available to be shared by your mfe without compiling them. You still need to install any of these packages you’d like to use to find their TypeScript types. Here are the versions you need to install to match the version within IA:

npm install react@^17.0.2;
npm install react-dom@^17.0.2;
npm install single-spa@^5.9.4;
npm install react-query@^3.34.7;
npm install @material-ui/core@4.12.4;
npm install @material-ui/icons@4.11.3;
npm install @material-ui/lab@4.0.0-alpha.61;
npm install react-router-dom@^6.3.0;
npm install @clearblade/ia-mfe-core@latest; // This contains our exposed utility functions and types
npm install @clearblade/ia-mfe-react@latest; // This contains our exposed utility functions and types that depend on react
  • If you use any of these packages, add them to your external configuration within your webpack.config to avoid compiling them. Single-spa automatically includes react, react-dom, and single-spa in your externals.

// within webpack.config.js

return merge(defaultConfig, {
    externals: [

Helpful tips for development

Here is a list of useful libraries we currently use in our root application, but do not include in our import map, in case you need help achieving similar features in your microfrontend

IA local development

  • Run your mfe locally.

  • At the IA insertion point, point your plugin URL to your local mfe (e.g., //localhost:8081/my-mfe-entry-point.js).

  • When you’re happy with your local code, publish a new version and point the plugin URL to that new version (see deploying instructions below).

Deploying and updating your mfe

  • Provide a URL that points to your application’s JavaScript entry file. Here is an example of how to do this if you have hosted your code on GitHub:

  • Edit your URL in IA so that it contains the new release.

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