Onion vs Clean vs Hexagonal Architecture by Eric Damtoft

Onion vs Clean vs Hexagonal Architecture by Eric Damtoft

There are a ton of docs across the internet, however, if you use onion as much close to core principles as you can, then you feel much less pain at the end of the day.

onion architecture vs layered architecture

They asked themselves what patterns make software systems successful and allow us to evolve systems without developing a big ball of mud. Their knowledge was published in a book called Pattern-oriented Software Architecture – A System of Patterns. Latency and lag time plague web applications that run JavaScript in the browser. The new API is faster and cheaper than the previous ChatGPT interface, and users can opt out of submitting their data to it, … There are other similar architectures that uses some of the same principles. This anti pattern has a lot of problems which are well described in Fowler’s article.

We will explain why this is important in the next section. The main premise of this architecture is that it controls coupling. We’ve chosen MediatR to implement CQRS in the project. Having created a domain model and a web API, we needed to seamlessly connect them. In addition, the onion architecture itself introduced certain problems. It took us some time to distribute functional parts between appropriate layers.

Benefits of Onion Architecture

Personally, I want to remove the ‘Infrastructure’ from that view to emphasize the idea that Domain Model matters and everything else is not that relevant. As an alternative, I think it’s better to show the Onion from a side. The criticism often levied against the hexagonal layered architectural style is that it doesn’t elucidate the inherent difference between the services that provide data and the services that consume it. More recently, some developers also complain that it doesn’t fully encapsulate the importance of the user interface, which is the primary driver of the cloud portion of hybrid applications today. In layered architecture, the UI is the first interaction point and triggers processes in the Service layer, which gets its data from the database .

onion architecture vs layered architecture

At least this approach could be achieved by using relaxed layering. Standardized interfaces between layers usually confine the effect of code changes to the layer that is changed. In Onion Architecture, dependencies flow from the outer layers toward the innermost core layer. This means the core layer is entirely decoupled from the outside world and can be tested independently of other components.

The former are rules that are executed to implement a use case of your application. The latter are rules that belong to the business itself. Domain-driven design is the concept that developers and domain experts should use the same names both in code and business domain. “If I have seen so far it is only because I have stood on the shoulders of giants” Isaac Newton. There are few things that aren’t really some other thing, just with something else added or removed.

Layers of the Onion Architecture following DDD

Because the application has this coupling, when data access, web services, etc. change, the business logic layer will have to change. The world view difference is how to handle infrastructure. Traditional layered architecture couples directly to it. Onion Architecture pushes it off to the side and defines abstractions to depend on.

You can implement it in basically any language that supports dependency injection. It’s easier to maintain an application that has a good separation of concerns. You can change things in the Infrastructure Layer without having to worry about breaking a business rule. A Repository is a pattern for a collection of domain objects. The Infrastructure Layer should not implement any business logic, as well as any use case flow.

However, it’s not just for the sake of loser coupling. It might help to think of it as “protecting the parts of your code that are least likely to change, from parts that are more likely to change”. So, for your case, would changes “below” the facade require changes to your “domain” code? Would a change to, say, a database object, trickle into changes to an object used in the facade and then into your “domain” code?

Start by modeling the database

Therefore the sample adheres the strict layering principles. Other books or articles may name it differently but we will stick to that definition. We have the presentation or client layer, the process or service layer, the domain or business logic layer, the data access or infrastructure layer. Sometimes you see the layers above extended with another layer sitting on the left side spawning all layers. This layer is often called crosscutting layer which handles tracing, logging and more. The hexagonal architectural style splits applications into three layers, similar to the N-layer model.

onion architecture vs layered architecture

Based on the DDD model, we’ve created onion architecture . Bounded context is a good fit for a microservices architecture. It is much easier to build a microservice around a bounded context. Various technologies — microservices within a project can be written in various programming languages and technologies.

Onion Architecture VS Three Layer

Get to know the onion architecture and its merits with simple and practical examples. Combined with code structuring by feature your software is easy to understand, changeable and extendable. For a very long time the standard answer to the question how components and classes should be organized in the software architecture was layers. Before we explore the promised benefits of layers and how they represent themselves in software architecture, we need to get rid of a common misconception regarding layers vs. tiers. Onion Architecture is a software design pattern that Jeffrey Palermo introduced in 2008 in the post. It is based on the concept of layers, each representing a distinct set of responsibilities.

  • Example main()So, the only place in your application that actually creates objects that are capable of doing IO is the application’s entrypoint.
  • It is well compatible with CQRS due to pipeline behaviors.
  • This layer consists of the data access pattern, which is a more loosely coupled approach to data access.
  • I just want to emphasize that the database is external.
  • In this architecture, the outer cores shall only be dependent on inner cores.
  • The popularity of microservices is growing due to the range of benefits they offer to developers and businesses.
  • At the center part of the Onion Architecture, the domain layer exists; this layer represents the business and behavior objects.

That’s why it was difficult to immediately divide the functionality into the necessary microservices. DDD implies that you distinguish a certain bounded context, which is a set of entities tightly connected with each other but minimally connected with other entities in your system. Our customer needed a software system compatible with their hardware so that clients could buy equipment, install software and create and manage content. Network protocols — microservices interact with each other via network protocols such as HTTP and HTTPS. Small size — smaller microservices are easier to work with.

The Forgotten Rule In Software Development: Why Fundamentals Never Change

Then the infrastructure code also depends on these abstractions . Depending on abstractions is an old principle, but the Onion Architecture puts that concepts right up front. The application is built around an independent object model.

Presentation project will be the Presentation layer implementation. The flow of dependencies dictates what a certain layer in the Onion architecture can do. Because it depends on the layers below it in the hierarchy, it can only call the methods that are exposed by the lower layers. The Domain layer does not have any direct dependencies on the outside layers. The outer layers are all allowed to reference the layers that are directly below them in the hierarchy.

I like to learn, explore and understand but always taking into account the benefits of any new trend, principle or whatever. That’s the reason why I am not going to explain software architectures as a war, trying to convince you which one is the best and why you should use it alone. We can understand how this is being used in the application to follow DDD.

Constructing the Onion

@amon Personally I’ve never once seen a layered architecture that could actually replace its database layer with a different technology after the fact without large amounts of effort and refactoring. Turns out having a direct reference to the DB specific code virtually guarantees that someone is going to rely on a leaky abstraction. But yeah might be doable for small applications with maybe 100k LOC. Could you perhaps elaborate a bit more on the issues concerning testing? My classes still just specify their dependencies through interfaces in their constructors.

We do not have to worry about how it will be implemented. The higher layers of the Onion will take care of implementing that interface transparently. This onion architecture is the more important over these architectures, then if for onion the object for coordinate from user interface input to infrastructure, domain etc..

If this type changes, it causes changes at all levels. The Entity Framework partially solves this problem, but it supports a limited number of database types. Now you can ‘replant the onion to a better soil’ when needed. If an individual layer embodies a well-defined abstraction and has a well-defined and documented interface, the layer can be reused in multiple contexts.