Types of Web Application Architecture: A Concise Summary

Types of Web Application Architecture: A Concise Summary

March 10, 2021

What is a good web application? There is no universal answer to this question since various people dealing with it have their own requirements to cater to. A customer would like it to be a problem-solving product that is simple to use and attractive-looking. An entrepreneur wants it to find a proper market niche. A developer aims to create the one that will be functional, capable to operate under high traffic loads, and having scalability potential. To have all these aspects implemented in one product, software engineers can choose between several types of web application architecture.

What is Web Application Architecture?

In the digital world of the 21st century, many existing words have acquired new meanings. Clouds aren't weather phenomena anymore, cookies have nothing to do with pastry, and the platform isn't a thing to be looked for at a railway station. The same is true about architecture that has ceased to be related to the construction industry only. When we talk of web app architecture we mean an arrangement of various elements and their connection within this software product that guarantee its web experience. How does it happen?

When a user enters an URL into an address bar of a browser, the latter treats it like a request and asks for access from the site after locating it. The server where it is hosted asks the browser for some data. The browser in its turn translates it and displays it for the user to see as a website. Being quite simple to explain, this process is rather complicated in operating, as can be seen from the following web application architecture diagram.


What are the principal components of web applications?

  • Database. As the name suggests, it is the storage of data for the application. Typically, it is kept on a database server. The most widely-used of them employ SQL and enable storage of high volumes of data in the form of tables and rows (as MySQL and PostgreSQL do) or making use of collections and documents (as is the case with MongoDB).   
  • Server infrastructure. This is an entirety of resources (both physical and virtual) that  receive and process browsers’ requests providing data analysis along the way. Other responsibilities of the server infrastructure include running and processing business logic and storing data - both files and databases. The most popular infrastructure examples comprising hardware, software and networks are AWS, Azure, DigitalOcean, and some others.  
  • Back-end. It is the code in the form of the procedures stored on the server whose responsibility lies in handling business logic. It is meant to react properly to HTTP requests and send the required data back to the client’s browser. 
  • Front-end. This aspect encompasses UI/UX elements that the end user sees and interacts with while operating the app. Such visual features include layouts, notifications, activity tracking, third-part services, etc.
  • API. This is a bridge used for data transference between architecture components (back end, front end, and the server). Today, IT experts recommend two APIs as most efficient. RestAPI forwards a set of rules that developers follow to create their API. GraphQL is even better since it furnishes a comprehensive data description in the API you use, streamlines API evolvement over time, and empowers leveraging robust developer tools. 
  • Third-party services. These are services that aren’t provided by the app owners. Conventionally, such services are various marketing tools and social networks. Essential services for business apps comprise card payment gateways or video conferencing functionality. 

These components can be related in three basic ways.

Three Types of Web App Architecture

Despite the seeming plethora of existing models, all of them can be classified into three broad categories.


1. Legacy HTML Web App

This is the most widespread type that is grounded on a user receiving the entire HTML on request. Known also as server-side or Web 1.0, this scheme requires the web page to reload to which page logic and general business logic react. Being extremely SEO-friendly, secure, and fast to develop, this model of web app organization has serious shortcomings as well, including low responsiveness, problematic offline functioning, and non-existent potential for conversion into mobile or desktop apps. Besides, this static pattern model can’t be used for building dynamic projects. 

2. Widget Web App

Being more suitable for mobile apps, this type presents the next step in web app evolution since it doesn’t need a request to load a page. Instead, widgets employ AJAX queries to receive portions of data in JSON and HTML. It is more responsive and quicker in performance than the legacy type, yet its downsides are penetration vulnerability and a long time of development.

3. Single Page App

In this scheme often referred to as Web 2.0, some functionality is shifted to the customers, who employ it in creating such products as blogs and social networks, to name a few. In essence, it is a complex JavaScript-reliant application that reproduces the page’s HTML content. This type of organization logic generates excellent performance and responsiveness as well as offline work. Such web apps are easy to scale up and transform into other app types. 

The successful functioning of a web app depends not only on its own architecture but on the architecture of the server as well.

A Few Examples of Web Server Architecture

The choice of the server architecture to be employed in app building is determined by the expected performance parameters (speed, storage, processing power, etc.). Having accumulated considerable experience in web app creation the specialists of Axisbits recommend the following server architecture types.

  • PHP web application architecture. PHP is considered a web development language with universal acclaim. This popularity is conditioned by its simplicity and high functionality. Consequently, web apps built with it are secure, swift to develop, and simple to maintain. Besides, friendly support from a sizeable community guarantees timely assistance in case issues arise.
  • Laravel web application architecture. The syntax of this PHP-based framework is graceful and expressive. Having the Model-View-Controller architecture at its core, it abounds in features making seamless and prompt development a breeze. The architecture of complex web applications with examples in Laravel PHP sports modular packaging scheme, improved authentication, sessions, and caching. Routing in Laravel deserves a special mentioning, since it enables building multiple routes whose names can be accessed via individual URLs. All of these allow developers to make the most of the web app performance and enhance traffic. 
  • Azure reference architecture web application. Introduced and supported by Microsoft, this architecture is devised to act as a bridge between good old tools and cloud solutions. Moreover, the specialized cloud platform by Azure makes use of the best web app practices as well.

Conclusion

As you see, the variety of web app architecture types (as well as the app server organization patterns) is so great that it is easy for a layman to get lost among them. If you want to receive a top-notch product, it is wise to address experts in the field. Our company can tackle any software development project, impressing you with the first-rate quality of the output and reasonable pricing policy.

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