As you plan to develop and launch your product, you’ll eventually run into the concept of web application architecture. Software developers use this term to describe the internal structure of a web app and the components that make it work. Choosing the right web development architecture for your product can impact its security, performance, and reliability. So in this post, we’re going to explain to you what web application architecture is, why it matters, and what are some of the most common app architecture types you can choose for your future product.

What is web application architecture

Internet technology is often about client-server relationships. Each time you visit a website, your device sends a connection request to the server. Web applications operate using the same idea. There is a back-end that handles requests, and there’s the front-end that represents the result. 

Web application architecture is a layout that describes how different structural components interact and function together. 

How does a web application work?

A web application architecture lets you hook several different apps, middleware systems, and databases to ensure a working web experience. When you type some URL in your browser, it sends the request to the server (or servers) using a secure web protocol such as HTTPS to access the resources or business logic corresponding to that address.

If the web application were a restaurant, the back-end would be a kitchen, whereas the front-end would be your dining table.

The roles of web application architecture components 

The server components are represented by web app servers that handle business logic and a database that stores data. Popular frameworks for building server components are PHP, JAVA, .NET, Node.js, Ruby on Rails, and Python. Client components are executed within the user’s browser, and their purpose is to interact with the functionality of web applications. Client components are commonly built with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, TypeScript, and popular frameworks like React, Vue, and Angular.

There are also the user interface parts, which make up the visual representation of a web application. They are limited to a web page display and include configuration settings, dashboards, activity logs, stats, notifications, widgets, etc.

What you’ve just read is a super basic explanation of web app architecture. There’s more to it than the client sending requests and the server processing them. Modern web application architecture utilizes new technologies that enable greater functionality, faster time to market, and a much better user experience.

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Web application architecture layers

Typically, modern web apps follow a layered architecture

>  Presentation Layer enables the communication between the browser and interface. The goal of this layer is to facilitate user interaction. 

>  Business Layer defines the business logic and rules. This layer processes browser requests executes the corresponding business logic and sends it back to the presentation layer.

>  Persistence Layer or Data Access Layer is responsible for data persistence. This layer is closely integrated with the business layer and has a database server that retrieves data from the required servers.

>  Database Layer provides secure data storage.

The number of layers may vary depending on the size of an application. Small applications can have three layers, whereas more complex applications may require five or six layers. 

Each layer works independently. For instance, components in the presentation layer have no access to business logic. Such arrangement ensures that the web application can be easily modified in the future since modifications to one layer will not affect the others. 

Examples of front-end and back-end web architecture

The best practice is to select an appropriate architecture by considering multiple factors, such as app logic, features, functionalities, and business requirements. Your architecture defines what your product is all about. Here are a few examples of popular types of web application architecture.

Single page web app architecture 

Single-page applications (SPAs) have been developed to overcome the limitations of traditional multi-page applications and provide a smooth, intuitive, and interactive user experience

SPAs do not require full-page rendering to update the UI; they use AJAX calls. So instead of returning a full-page HTML, the server returns only data in JSON format. This data is used to re-render only certain page parts while the rest remains intact on the client side. The entire logic of SPAs is shifted to the front-end, so they are developed on the client-side using JavaScript frameworks.

Microservices architecture

Microservices have gained plenty of popularity due to their straightforwardness and have become a competitive alternative to Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA). It’s essentially a combination of small, autonomous services. The functionality of each service is self-contained and implemented within a bounded context. The services are loosely coupled so they can be developed, tested, maintained, and deployed independently. They can also solve complex business problems by communicating with other services. A few tech giants that use microservices are Netflix, eBay, and Amazon.

Serverless architecture

In this architecture, cloud service providers handle the entire execution of code. The applications and services still run on servers, but you don’t have to manage infrastructure. Everything is taken care of by third-party cloud service providers like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google.

Such applications are highly scalable and reliable, meaning that the developers can focus on the product’s logic and quality while the cloud provider will handle the rest. There are two common models for serverless web app architecture: Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) and Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS).

On a final note… 

The success of an app is largely dependent on its architecture. Whether you’re having trouble choosing the right web app architecture or looking for a top-notch web application development team, we can help. Just contact us, together we will create an incredible product! 

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