Slow-loading websites and static web pages have become things of the past. Over the last few years, with the advancements in the web development arena, user engagement has been improved for all sorts of development projects. Whether it is a website, web app, or mobile app, user experience plays a huge role in success.
Web applications have become a trend as many businesses opt for them because of several attributes and benefits like visual appeal and robust architecture. Web applications are different from websites and mobile apps. These possess functionalities like a mobile app or software, but users can explore or use these in a web browser.
While developing a web application, there are certain aspects that need to be picked up and worked upon efficiently. Among these, the web application architecture and its components hold the most significant importance for the success of the web app. The term ‘architecture’ was not in the software and web development world, but modern web applications have reached the next level of innovation today. Developing a reliable, efficient, and functional web app from zero levels is similar to developing a multi-storied building.
Let’s discuss and understand the architecture of a modern web application, its components, working, and related things important for the success of a web app.
A modern web application or MWA is simply a web-based app that runs in a browser. The unique thing about MWA is that it follows modern web development standards. For instance, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are a fine example of modern web apps, providing users with an app-like experience in web browsers along with the ability to browse in an offline mode.
The demand for modern web applications has increased because the end-users expect a mobile app-like experience from websites in web browsers. They want their experience to be secure, fast, and smooth regardless of the operating system or browser they use. In addition, they also want to save data and storage space. These are a few crucial things that are difficult to achieve with traditional websites and apps. This is where the role of MWAs comes into play.
The majority of modern web apps run on cloud services, like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud. The native experience offered by platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Gmail, etc. in browsers is an example of the modern web application.
A web app architecture is simply a blueprint or layout that establishes communication between the various components, databases, user interfaces, middleware systems, and servers of a web application.
The logical interaction between the server-side code and client-side code is also defined by the web app architecture to enable a seamless web app experience.
The web apps run on primarily two types of code or components that run simultaneously. One is client-side code or the front-end. This is where the user interacts with the web app in the browser. The client-side code is written in HTML, CSS, or JS.
The second type of code is the server-side or the back-end. This code lies on the server at the back end of your app. The code here is written in PHP, Python, Java, etc. Both the code work together to serve the user and provide a seamless experience.
Let’s learn the concept with an easy example. When you open your preferred web browser and enter a URL to browse the website or web app, your browser sends a request to your web server for fetching required files. The server responds to the request and sends the page files. The web page opens and you can browse the content on it.
All these things take only a few seconds to be done; else users would simply abandon the site. The thing to note in the process is the code that the browser has parsed. This code may or may not come up with certain instructions that trigger your web browser to react specifically to the different types of inputs. Hence, the web app architecture has several components like UX/UX design components, server components, structural components, etc., for the entire web app.
This architecture is created in an optimized way to meet the end-users’ expectations in terms of scalability, speed, efficiency, and security.
The web app architecture plays a significant role in the performance and operation of the web app. The decisions made in the initial phase have an impact on the long term.
There are primarily three types of web application architecture. It is crucial to opt for the right architecture on the basis of a number of aspects, like app logic, functionalities, requirements, required features, etc. When you choose the right architecture type, it will become easier to fulfil the purpose of the project.
1. Single Page App (SPA) Architecture
For instance, if you use Gmail in a browser, you won’t need to reload the page to see new emails. It will automatically update it while the rest of the page remains as it is. These apps offer an intuitive user experience and smooth performance.
2 Microservice Architecture
Microservice architecture is deployed to organize a web app as a set of services. These services will be loosely coupled, can be maintained and tested easily, can be deployed independently, and structured according to the business capabilities.
Every service in this type of architecture will have a unique codebase. Since the services are to be deployed with no dependency on each other, the developers can roll out updates to a service without rebuilding or redeploying the entire app. All the services can interact with each other using APIs.
Over the last few years, microservices are taking over monolithic architecture and service-oriented architecture. There are several other benefits of this architecture like agile development, the ability to isolate faults as services have a different codebase, use multiple technologies, etc. Amazon, eBay, Netflix, SoundCloud are some top examples of tech giants implementing microservices.
3 Serverless Architecture
Serverless architecture is another trending term and way to develop and run apps today. It is called serverless because you don’t have to manage any infrastructure to build and run your application. The app is hosted on servers, but the responsibility of managing every aspect of the app like provisioning, scalability, maintenance, etc., is on the shoulders of the cloud service providers. You don’t have to worry about the management of the database, storage, and other aspects of the app.
Organizations prefer serverless architecture so that they can reduce the additional burden on their developers and IT teams. Since the cloud provider handles the management, the developers can keep the web app or other products in focus.
The top cloud providers offering serverless computing include Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM Cloud, and Google Cloud Platform.
A modern web app has several components, but these components are segregated into two categories- UI components and Structural web components.
UI components comprise the visual part of a web app and the way users interact with it. These components don’t have any link with the web application architecture or the development.
The user interface components in the web app include the layout and look for pages, activity logs, dashboards, widgets, notifications, stats, configuration, and more. The role of all the components is to improve the UX.
List of crucial UI components in a web app:
The structural web components are used to enable functionalities in the web app. When the end-users interact with the app and its UI components, the structural components trigger the functionalities to operate by calling out database, server, etc.
There are both client-side and server-side components. The client-side or the web browser side is where the end-users communicate and engage with the functionalities of the app. This is the front-end component built using HTML, CSS, and JS.
Whereas, the server-side components play the role of assisting business logic. It is kind of the back-end part of the server and database, which is built using PHP, Python, Java, Ruby, etc.
There can be three kinds of models for a web app. Which one is right for a specific web app depends on the number of servers and databases required in the web app. Let’s understand all the three kinds of models of a web-based app component:
As the title suggests, this type of model uses only one server and one database to host the web app. It is an easy-to-use model but is not a great option when it comes to reliability. It is because if the server faces any issues, the web app will face downtimes because there is no other server for the application to rely on.
Therefore, it is generally the least preferred model. Businesses often use it to run test projects and for trials.
In this type of web app model, there are at least two web servers and one database. The aim of having more than one server is to prevent app failure in case a server faces downtime.
During the failures, the other server can handle the operations and keep the web app running. The requests made at the client-side will be fulfilled by the active server. Therefore, it is a reliable option for hosting modern web applications.
You might have already got the idea about this model. It simply has more than one web server and more than one database. There are multiple benefits of adopting this web application model. For instance, you can distribute the data into multiple databases. This can help in preventing the data from being unavailable if a database crashes.
Moreover, having multiple servers means the app can be prevented from failure and facing downtime when a web server stops working.
The architecture and components play a huge role in the success of a web app. Some businesses find it challenging to adapt to the changing landscape, but there are several benefits of web applications. If you want to get a modern web app developed, it is important to hire a professional team for it. This is a complex task involving architecture, components, as well as models.
For any questions related to modern web app architecture, components, or models, connect with our experts or write in the comments below.