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The Fundamentals of Web Application Architecture 

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The Internet is no longer about simple web pages and longer waiting periods. Over time, the Internet has shifted to a functionally enhanced functionality with a visually pleasing and powerful web application with an active user connection.

A web application is similar to a typical computer application, except that it works on the Internet. As everyone is on the web nowadays, most developers want to take advantage of web applications and attract more and more users through decent offers.

Before proceeding with a web application development project, it is important to choose the type of web application architecture and the model of the web application components. It is important to make the right choice for the success of a web application.

We will discuss how web application structure works, its components, models, and types, and tips to get the most out of a web application development project. But before that, let’s start with the definition of web application architecture.

What is web application architecture?

The web development architecture describes the interactions between applications, databases, and middleware systems on the web. This ensures that multiple applications work together. Let’s understand this with a simple example of opening a webpage.

After typing the URL in the web browser’s address bar, the user presses the go button and requests a specific web address. The server sends files to the browser in response to the request, and the browser then executes the files to show the requested page.

Finally, the user can interact with the website. The most important thing to note here is the code analyzed by the web browser and the web app works the same way. This code may or may not contain specific instructions that tell the browser how to respond to different types of user input.

Therefore, the web application architecture should include all the sub-components and the external application interchange for the entire software application, in the above case, which is the website.

Web application architecture is essential in the modern world because a large portion of the global network traffic and most applications and devices use web-based communications. The web development architecture has to work with functionality and reliability, scalability, security, and robustness.

How does this work?

Like any typical web application, two different codes (sub-programs) run side by side. These are:

  • Client-side code – code that occurs in the browser and responds to some user input
  • Server-side code – The code that is on the server and responds to HTTP requests

The web developer (team) who develops a web application decides what the code on the server will do concerning the code in the browser. C #, Java, JavaScript, Python, PHP, Ruby, etc., are used to write server-side code.

Any code that is capable of responding to HTTP requests can run on the server. Server-side code is responsible for creating user-requested pages and storing various data, including user profiles and user input. The end-user never sees it.

A combination of CSS, HTML, and JavaScript is used to write client-side code. A web browser analyses this code. Unlike server-side code, the user can view and modify client-side code, and it responds to user input. Client-side code communicates only through HTTP requests and is not able to read files directly from the server.

Types of web application architectures

Now you completely understand how the web application works, it’s time to know its different variants which help you to make an informed decision. 

1. A single-page application (SPA)

Think of apps with a fixed sidebar that stays the same and allows you to view different information within a single page. Single-page applications rely on this principle. The main idea behind these types of web applications is to update the required content. This is wonderfully convenient for developers and easy for users as it eliminates the need to reload all the components on the page, improves application functionality, and simplifies the code.

2. Serverless architecture

In these apps, developers rely on third parties to configure and manage the servers needed to run the application. Serverless architectures provide the necessary infrastructure, allowing developers to focus on application functionality rather than managing the back-end.

3. Microservices

Microservices architecture adopts a service-oriented approach. In this model, the application comes as a collection of services that interact over the network. These services are extremely lightweight, allowing developers to release the app quickly. These components can also be written in a variety of programming languages, providing greater functionality and flexibility.

4. Components of web application architecture

For an uninterrupted web application, you need to understand the following components: 

5. User interface component

UI elements are not directly related to the performance of the application. Instead of contributing to the development process, these elements form a core part of the user experience, bringing customers a beautiful and comfortable interface. User interface components are generally responsible for the appearance of dashboards, notifications, logs, configuration settings, menus, and other components that enable users to interact with the application.

6. Structural components

Unlike UI components, structural components define the performance of a web application. This category includes browsers, web application servers, and database servers.

Users need a browser to interact with the application. It is usually written with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. The browser is required to send queries to the user and display the results of the process. When a web server generates feedback, the browser receives it in the form of an HTML page customized for the user to view according to a defined UI format.

Application servers are often developed with PHP, Java, .NET, Node.js, Python, or Ruby. It supports application logic and makes it possible to create multi-layer apps. When the user interacts with the application, requests are sent to the server for processing, and the results are then transmitted back through the browser.

The database server contains relevant data and enables users and processes to retrieve store, and manipulate information to ensure proper operation of the application.

Best practices for the flawless web application architecture development

It is not enough to have a working web application, best practices must be followed to ensure the best experience for the users:

1. Security

If the source code is not secure, the web app may be vulnerable. This increases the risk of malicious code manipulation. In addition, a web application must protect a user’s private information, as required by US privacy laws, including HIPAA for medical apps. There is also the EU General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR for EU citizens – wherever they live.

2. Scalability

Make sure your architecture can scale horizontally, across regions, and across multiple servers to accommodate potentially large fluctuations in traffic. Today, this often means relying on cloud services. One advantage of the cloud is that in many cases you only pay in proportion to your bandwidth usage.

3. Separation of concerns

Applications should be modular, self-contained components. This makes adding features and troubleshooting a lot easier. The web app architecture should also be simple, provide quick responses, resolve persistent issues, and ideally have more than 99.9% uptime. Additionally, it should support analytics, automated deployment, and A/B testing.

Web app vs Native and Cross-platform mobile app

Whether you need a web app or an Android app, an iOS app or a cross-platform app should be a less technical question than a marketing question – one that is highly tied to your target market. Which do your customers use the most? It requires research and an honest due diligence effort that will ultimately help align your product to the market. Luckily, in addition to the technical pros and cons of Web, Native, and cross-platform apps, we’ve explored a number of marketing questions.

How do web applications enhance architecture development?

Web applications use server-client architectures that make them easy to install, maintain, and use. These apps can run on any device with a compatible browser, and as a result, development costs and time are reduced.

Web technology also makes data more efficient and secure. The web development fundamentals eliminate the need to pull data from different locations for processing or synchronize it across the system. When using a web application, a person can access and modify the information needed to improve the integrity and organization of their files, regardless of the device they are using.

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