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What is Web Application Architecture: Best Practices And Guides

Nowadays, the Internet has become a critical part of every person’s life in most progressive countries. Over the past ten years, the audience using the benefits of the Internet on a daily basis has exceeded 50 million users and continues to grow.

Modern software applications and information systems have reached such a level of development that the term “architecture” applied to them no longer seems out of place. Creating an effectively and reliably functioning information system from scratch is no easier than to construct and build a modern multifunctional building. Hence the term web application architecture.

Whilst plenty of modern developers strive to learn how to design a web application that will be more appealing and profitable than others, it is crucial to highlight the main advantages of such applications:

  • Web applications are more affordable and easier to install. By using such applications, enterprises can lower the cost of maintaining IT departments that are responsible for the installation of software and its maintenance. 
  • Web app updates are less complicated and less expensive. The cost of software maintenance is always an essential article of expenditure for any company. A web application must be updated on the server only, whence everyone will be able to work with the new version immediately.
  • Web applications are more versatile and practical for the end user. The only requirement is to install the web app on a server supporting any modern OS (Mac OS, Windows, Linux, etc.), and it will be possible to use it over the Internet on any computer or mobile device. 
  • Web applications enhance the organization of data storage. If there is a need to operate with the same data from different locations, it is much simpler to organize its storage in one particular place. It eliminates the need for synchronization and increases the security of valuable information. 

With all these advantages in mind, avid developers face only one challenge regarding construction of web apps – what type and component of the web app architecture to use.

What Is Web Application Architecture?

Before proceeding to give out web architecture definitions, it is essential to understand what exactly a web application is.  

A web application is a select type of program built on the client-server architecture. Its peculiarity lies in the fact that the web app itself is located and executed on the server, while the client receives only the results of its operation. The work of such an application is based on receiving requests from the user, their processing, and delivery of the results. The transfer of requests and the consequences of their processing are carried out via the Internet. One of the pluses of this method is the fact that clients do not depend on a particular user’s operating system, thus, making web applications cross-platform services. 

A specific application – the browser (Google Chrome, Safari, Opera, etc.) – is usually engaged in displaying the results of clients' requests, as well as receiving data from him/her and sending it to the server. One of the primary functions of the browser is to display data collected from the Internet in the form of a page described in HTML. Therefore, the result transmitted by the server to the client should be presented in this language. The web application of the server-side performs, with the help of special software (web-server) which receives users' requests, processes them, generates a response in the form of a page described in HTML and sends it to the client.

So, what is application architecture? 

It represents a particular interaction model between the vital “participants” of the web app, both internal and external.

Web Application Architecture Diagram

The scheme of the user-server process can explain the essence of the web application architecture:

  1. The client types in a particular URL.
  2. The browser receives the request, defines the location of the needed website (provided by a computer with Internet access) and requests access to that webpage.
  3. The server transmits the information to the browser.
  4. The browser “translates” the sent data, so that the user will be able to display his/her request’s result on their computer. 

Architectural solutions lie in the core of any web application, including those with high loads. It is critical to understand that the web app architecture determines 95% of the success of its operation, including the ability to cope with high loads.

Photo resource: Wikipedia.org 

How Web Application Architecture Works

As was previously stated, web apps work on the principle of client-server interaction, entailing two programs operating simultaneously. One of them processes the requests of the user through the web-browser, showing them the search results. Another, based on the server, handles the HTTP request that was sent out. 

Since both browser (client) and respondent (server) operate with specific codes, the choice of the programming language must be based on the interaction of these codes – will the server code successfully interact with the browser code? Specialists working in this field tend to use the following languages on the server side:

As for the user side code, the most common computer languages are:

  • HTML
  • JavaScript
  • CSS.

It is noteworthy that the “browser” code can be opened and changed by the client, unlike the “server” scripts. The browser works only with the HTTP request, responding to the data entered by the user.

Why Do You Need Web Application Architecture?

Web architecture design is a significant part of the creation of even the smallest web projects. Without this, it is almost inconceivable to build a decent representative of a stable, working software model with satisfactory performance. 

Reliable web apps can be created only through a high-quality layout. If the application can be used on various devices, if both server and user scripts can successfully cooperate with each other, such an app will always be in high demand. Because programs built with the use of proper modern web architecture can securely operate with the client’s information, offering additional options (user’s authorization, update, and elimination of data), every reliable enterprise should pay special attention to this matter. 

Web Application Architecture: Components

This feature of web application construction includes a few aspects that ensure its digital performance. Such components can be divided into two categories: internal (client interface) and construction elements. 

  • The design of the user interface focuses mainly on the aesthetic and pragmatic needs of the client. The comfortable experience cannot be obtained without a convenient authentication option and other useful settings. More significant web application components are represented by: 
  • The server of databases. The database server keeps all the necessary information that will be further processed by the application server.
  • The browser used by the client. This program controls the communication between the client and the web app. 
  • The web app, on which the server is based. This implements rules and restrictions on automated operations and provides data persistence. 

Types

What modern web architecture types are widely applied by today’s developers? They are as follows:

  1. Microservices are a type of service-oriented architecture (SOA) applied to form distributed software systems. Component models in this type of web app architecture interact over the network while fulfilling a common goal. It is vital to understand that microservices are the fragmentation of functionality so that it is available to other parts of the system. Moreover, this fragmentation of the functional is so thorough that a minimal number of functions are implemented within each microservice. 
  2. Single page applications or SPA are somewhat reminiscent of desktop applications. This type of web architecture design is organized in such a way that when a user proceeds to a new page, only part of the content is updated. Hence, the client does not have to reload the same components. It is incredibly convenient for both developers and users. One of the most popular programming languages – JavaScript – is used for SPA development.
  3. Serverless architectures. Such a kind of web app architecture means that developers no longer need to configure and administer servers running management software. However, it does not imply a complete lack of servers. In essence, third-party providers support the entire infrastructure, while the necessary functionality is offered in the form of services responsible for the authorization processes, message transmission, etc. 

Web Application Architecture Best Practices

A top-notch architecture is generally a profitable architecture that makes the process of developing and maintaining the program more efficient and straightforward. A program with a high-end architecture is easier to extend and modify, as well as to test, debug, and understand. Here is a list of universal criteria for reliable web application architecture:

  • Efficiency;
  • Flexibility;
  • Extensibility;
  • Compliance with the open-closed principle; 
  • Scalability of the development process;
  • Easy testability;
  • Reusability;
  • Well-structured and understandable code.

Conclusion

Precise web application architecture enhances the chances of rapid and secure web-based communication for users. It continually grows and introduces new types and methods of accurate web app construction that will undoubtedly add to the overall experience of clients. 

If you are seeking expert-level assistance in the matter of web architecture execution, we are ready to provide you with all required information. Our knowledgeable developers will do their best to meet your highest expectations!

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