Web development has evolved a lot since its early age. Initially, developers saw it as a means to provide information regarding a specific company or entity and help it connect to its target audience over the internet.
However, with time and due to the Google algorithm updates, user experience became a primary concern for the developers. It became essential to incorporate new ways of enhancing the consumer experience and getting an edge over their competitors. The increasing competition in the development industry led to the invention of web applications.
A web application is a program delivered to the internet via a browser interface. It reduces device storage requirements to support an application and provides a flawless experience to visitors. Its purpose was to provide an app-like experience for website visitors.
How do web applications differ from mobile applications?
Mobile applications are native to specific devices. A developer has to create various versions of a mobile application to enable its access on different devices. Mobile applications consume a big chunk of device resources, slowing it down and hindering consumer experience. On the other hand, loading heavy design elements worsen the consumer experience.
It is where web applications come into play. Web applications were launched as an upgrade over mobile applications. They are stored on a remote server and provide an app-like experience to website visitors. A web application does not require a big chunk of device resources to function as well. It is one of the best ways to enhance consumer experience and receive tons of engagement on the internet.
What is the structure of web applications?
Applications usually comprise logical chunks called ‘tiers’ by developers, where every tier serves a specific function. Mobile applications consist of only one tier that resides on the client device. Contrary to this, web applications take an N-tiered approach, usually a three-tiered application. These three tiers are presentation application and storage.
A web application uses a browser interface for presentation, a browser code base or dynamic web technology for application and processing, and finally, cloud storage for its database. As a user provides input into the browser interface, the middle tier fetches relevant information from the database and presents a user interface.
However, a three-tier approach is not suitable for complex web applications. It is where the n-tier method comes into play. It enables developers to break the business logic that resides in the application tier and build a fine-grained solution. The N-tier structure of web applications provides room for scalability and allows businesses to add complex features to their business website and ensure consumer convenience.
What are the different types of web applications?
There are two types of web applications: single-page and multi-page applications. Both of them are popular among businesses and serve specific purposes. A multi-page application is a complex web application that runs on an n-tier structure. Multinational companies with advanced functionality requirements prefer multi-page applications.
On the other hand, a single-page application is a simple program that uses only one page to display information. In this, the basic structure, and the design elements of a website remain the same, while the content gets updated as per user requirements. Let us discuss them in detail:
Multiple-page applications work very much like mobile applications. They improvise the traditional way of transferring data back and forth between the server and browser and having different pages for different website functions.
Pros of multi-page applications:-
Multi-page application has multiple pages with varying SEO requirements. One can adhere separately to their specific SEO requirements and make them SEO compatible. It is the easiest way to generate organic traffic from Google and outrank your competitors.
A multi-page website architecture offers ample opportunities for scaling and customization. Developers can create as many pages for a specific product or service as they please. It facilitates developers to customize them to ensure a better experience for their website visitors.
Famous analytical tools such as Google Analytics can easily integrate multi-page applications. It enables you to ensure advanced analytical capabilities for your website. One can easily track and measure the progress of their website over search engines and take constructive measures for its betterment.
It is a perfect option for users who require a visual map of all web pages. They can find the exact location they want to go to on a website. Its navigational compatibility makes it easier for visitors to surf the website. It helps increase consumer engagement and provides a better user experience.
Cons of multi-page application:-
A multi-page application is a complex approach to web development. Developers create a different page for every website function, product or service. It requires a lot of time to develop a multi-page application project. Due to its complex nature, Multi-page applications require extra resources as well.
Single page applications:-
Single-page applications emerged as an upgrade to multi-page and mobile applications. As the name suggests, single-page applications use a single page to display information. It updates the same page every time a user provides input instead of loading a new page. It aims to ensure dynamic user transactions for a better consumer experience.
In a single-page application, website elements and design remain the same while the content is uploaded every time a user provides the input. It only loads the information requested by the user and avoids unnecessary information. This practice significantly increases website speed and adds to quality consumer interaction.
Pros of single-page application:-
In single-page applications, all web page elements are loaded during users’ first interaction with the website. After that, only the essential information is loaded as the consumer interacts with the website. It helps fast loading of website elements and improves its performance.
Improved user experience:-
Single-page applications facilitate the development of a flexible and responsive web application. It adjusts itself according to the screen dimensions of a device and minimizes consumer inconvenience. With single-page applications, users can enjoy an understandable and linear experience. On top of that, it amazes users with fast-loading website elements.
The server loads all the essential data for the website functioning at users’ first interaction. It enables a website to function offline and decreases the cache requirement to boost website speed. The single-page applications ensure a seamless user experience and add value to user interactions.
The development process for single-page applications is quite simple. It requires fewer resources and less time. Developers test fewer website elements and reuse parts of the stored code.
Cons of Single page application:-
Problems with SEO:-
Single-page applications can sometimes have issues with SEO compatibility. There are no different pages for different website functions. Every time the information is updated on the same web page. It is why there are no distinguished URLs, optimized for search engines, and search engines do not see the content. Exclusively developers use server-side rendering to solve the problem.
Compared to traditional applications, SPA is less secure. At times, there have been signs of memory leakage in single-page applications.
Single-page applications or multi-page applications, which is better?
The answer to this question is subjective. The end purpose of a website is to deliver high-quality content, adhering to consumer requirements. SPA and MPA are just two formats used to present a website interface.
Single-page applications are best for businesses requiring a dynamic website with a lot of content. It is one of the best options for niche-focused businesses with a narrow product inventory and a narrow group target audience. SPA is suitable for companies that do not require heavy data processing tasks and many pages with different designs. It is also better for creating mobile applications.
Reasons to prefer single-page applications:
- It facilitates a smooth delivery of a guided story about a specific product or service and takes customers through the sales funnel.
- Businesses with a low development budget as the single-page application require fewer resources and less budget.
- Developing a SPA to fulfil temporary business requirements while your developers work on a complex solution that fits all your business requirements.
- Businesses that do not rely heavily on SEO.
Multi-page applications are more suitable for businesses with an enormous product inventory or various services. It is best for companies from IT background that require a lot of user interaction and technical features in their app. MPA is a better choice for large eCommerce businesses as they usually have a massive product inventory. MPA makes it easier for firms to manage a vivid data inventory and reduce complications.
Reasons to prefer multi-page applications:
- It is best for organizing a huge product inventory by categories for a business manufacturing various types of products.
- MPA is better for companies with an enormous development budget as MPA development requires various resources and a lot of time.
- It is best for firms that require advanced functionality in their web applications to support their business process.
- MPA is better for Businesses that rely mainly on organic traffic from search engines.
What is a progressive web application (PWA), and how is it related to single-page applications?
A progressive web application is similar to a single-page application. A single-page application is a new way of web development which does not load a new page when the user clicks on a specific link. Instead, it updates the same page making it seem like the user has navigated away. Developers usually use a framework and a library to build a single-page application.
A progressive web application is a term coined by Google and is more of a thought than a technique. The most significant thing widely spoken about in progressive web applications is the usage of service workers that enable a web application to work offline. A single-page application can be a PWA, but a PWA need not be a single-page application.
Progressive web applications load instantly and increase consumer experience by working offline. It immediately responds to user interaction and ensures an app-like experience with lower storage requirements.
Are web applications the future of applications?
The app development industry has been evolving towards less complicated solutions. One of which is diminishing the need for on-device storage, and the other is enhancing the consumer experience. Both of them are codependent. Native applications consume a big chunk of device resources, slowing the device down and hindering the consumer experience.
Developers identified this problem and web applications came into existence. Web applications use cloud storage, enabling user devices to function properly and ensure quality interaction. No doubt, native applications still dominate the app development industry, and businesses are beginning to understand the scope of web applications.
The moderating and user-friendly nature of web applications frames a bright future for this web development trend.
Are there any security threats to web applications?
Every technology has loopholes, and web applications are no different. Certain web app vulnerabilities, such as SQLI and XSS, are almost ubiquitous. Each year attackers develop inventive web application security threats to benefit from these vulnerabilities and access their targets’ data. Similarly, security experts take measures to learn from cyber attacks and strengthen their systems for higher security standards.
However, web applications are still in an evolution phase where developers identify security threats and vulnerabilities to take constructive measures against their elimination. Businesses must incorporate security considerations during the development phase.
Some of the prevalent security threats to web applications are as follows:
- Injection attacks
- Broken authentication
- Cross-site scripting
- Insecure direct object reference
- Security misconfiguration
- Unauthenticated redirects and forwards
Measures against web application security threats:-
- Frequently maintain and update your web applications and all their elements, including servers, databases, extensions, etc.
- Do not allow untrusted inputs, commands, or queries.
- Encode user data and whitelist inputs to disallow unauthentic access attempts.
- Customize error messages do not reveal critical user information.
Businesses must ensure the expertise of the web development agency handling their development project. We at Mandy Web Design aim to provide concrete web application solutions to businesses worldwide. Consult with one of our web development agency to better understand web applications.
Businesses prioritize consumer experience more than anything when it comes to web development. Traditional applications require a big chunk of device resources to function that mitigates consumer experience. It is where web applications come into play. They require a small chunk of device resources and ensure its smooth functioning. However, there are different web applications suitable for specific business requirements. The most prominent among them are single-page and multi-page applications.
A single-page application is best for niche-specific businesses with limited product inventory. It enables sequential conveying of brand stories and helps companies connect to their target audience. On the other hand, multi-page applications are complex. It is best for businesses with an enormous product inventory and advanced functionality requirements.
Businesses must study their target audience and business model to understand their development requirements to determine the most suitable web application development structure for their specific project.
Manoj Shukla serves Mandy Web Design as the Designing head and guides his team in designing eye-catching websites. Apart from the valuable updates he shares through his blog, he is passionate about teaching. Being an exemplary learner, he inspires his team with perspectives like these.