Web application architecture describes the relationship between web app components (i.e. - user interfaces, databases, and middleware systems) and the way they interact with each other. In other words, it provides a structure for how the client and server are connected. Properly designed web application architecture ensures that all of your components interact properly and serves as a strong foundation for expanding the app in later rounds of development.
There are two subprograms, or sets of code, that are common for any web application: client-side code and server-side code. These programs run separately, yet concurrently, with the shared goal of delivering a seamless web experience for users.
When developing a web application, the developer is responsible for deciding which code should go on the server and what they should do in relation to the client-side code. Any code that is capable of responding to HTTP requests can run on a server, and languages like PHP, Java, Python, C#, and Ruby on Rails are widely used for server-side coding. The server-side code is also responsible for creating any page requested by users as well as storing various types of data like user profiles and inputs.
We classify the different types of web application architectures based on the way the app logic is distributed between the client and server. The most common types of web architectures, along with examples of each, can be found below:
Multi-Page applications are very common on the web since all web applications used MPA architecture in the past. This architecture type reloads web pages for sending from/to the server through the user's browser, and developers generally opt for MPA architecture if the application is pretty large.
Microservices are a kind of service-oriented architecture (SOA) used to build distributed software systems. With this style of architecture, developers build web apps using a collection of loosely coupled services which can be independently deployed. In turn, this functionality fragmentation makes it easier to build, expand, and scale an application.
With this type of application architecture, developers no longer have to configure or manage servers using server management software. However, that does not signify a complete lack of servers—third-party cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft offer virtual servers that dynamically handle the allocation of machine resources.
RAD stack is a relatively new player and is a combination of React Native, APIs, and Django. It allows developers to assemble applications of any size quickly and deploy them in critical contexts. Moreover, it's the default stack of the Crowdbotics App Builder!
Choosing the appropriate application architecture sets the foundation for your entire application's development. Therefore, it's essential to consider the whole development process and its future expansion when selecting it. After all, the application architecture is not something that can be easily changed later! It's definitely worth your time to do a little research in order to determine that you're making the right decision for your needs.
Multi-page applications are a strong option if you have to deliver a lot of content. They may not be well-suited for real-time responsive applications, but they work well as an enterprise application architecture. Large companies with a wide range of services and products will benefit more using the traditional MPA structure. Online stores, company websites, catalog sites, and marketplaces are a few examples of large businesses that should consider taking this route.
In contrast, single-page applications are well matched for dynamic applications with small volumes of data. They are also a great option if you are planning to create a mobile app down the road. While the main downside of this architecture is SEO, it is well suited for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms, social networks, and closed communities since they don’t need to be search engine optimized.
Microservices architecture is suitable for large and complex projects, as each service can be modified without having a detrimental effect on any other existing blocks or modules. For instance, if you have to update payment logic, there's no need to shut down the whole website during that time. However, if you need a fast solution like a prototype, small application, or an app with a tight deadline, a microservices architecture may not be the right solution for you.
If you don't want to manage or support the servers or hardware infrastructure required for the application, a serverless architecture is going to be your best bet.
If you want maximum scalability and performance across all platforms, RAD stack is the way to go. Rather than being specialized for a few niche use cases, RAD is built to support a huge range of business types and app requirements.
As technology evolves at a rapid pace, so does web application architecture. One popular trend you'll see is the use of service-oriented architecture. With this architecture type, most of the code for the application remains as services, and each service has its own HTTP API. This allows one segment of code to make requests to another segment of code that may be running on a different server.
With the above two trends, web applications have become more sophisticated and capable of proving an optimal view on multiple platforms and devices. While most of the code for the application remains the same, it can still be viewed comfortably on smaller screens.
In order to provide users with a great web experience, you should go beyond just having a functional web application. Here are some best practices that you should keep in mind:
Consistency: The architecture you select should provide a uniform approach for solving all of your development problems, and you should analyze the application requirements to pick a solution that covers most of your development goals.
Fast performance: It's better to keep the architecture as lightweight and responsive as possible. Analyze some of the best web apps in the industry—measure their page speed and responsiveness in order to set up standards for your product.
Simplicity: If you can build your app with a minimalistic architecture, choose the simplest option possible. While it's essential to consider the possible scaling options, there's no need to overcomplicate things in advance.
Self-maintenance: The application architecture should be able to identify issues and repair them on its own.
Automation: Try to automate as much development, testing, and deployment as possible. This will be useful when you decide to scale your app!
Convenient and error-free data management: Consider your data storing and processing practices and pick the easiest ways to manage databases while avoiding unnecessary costs.
Application architecture is the foundation of all web application development. Whatever application architecture you choose determines all of the following logic for developing the application, the interaction between its elements, and the functionality. Therefore, it is critical to identify the peculiarities of each architecture type and select the right one for you prior to developing your application.
Not sure which application architecture is the right one for you? Crowdbotics provides expert PMs and devs to ensure that your applications are properly built and continuously maintained. Get in touch with us today for a detailed quote and build timeline!
April 21, 2021