Web applications have become a rage among users and developers these days. Gone are the days, when we used to consider native applications better, with the advent of web app development technologies the mobile app development scenario has been transformed completely.
The popularity of web development trends is rising, and organizations are looking for new methodologies to enhance their web application architecture to offer niche user experiences.
When we initiate a new web application project, the first and foremost thing is to determine the web architecture and technologies we may use.
It helps us to build the business logic of the app, its functionality, and an interface between different components. Therefore, it is vital for us to select the right components of web architecture to build a successful project.
Web applications offer numerous advantages to every business and industry. The global progressive web application market value was $1.13 Billion a few years back, but now it has started gaining massive momentum and by 2027 it could reach $10.44 billion, with an astonishing CAGR of 31.9%.
According to Statista, we had 4.66 billion internet users in January 2021. What’s more, 4.32 billion people were using mobile devices and other handheld gadgets to surf the internet and access web applications.
In this blog, we will help you explore the web application architecture, its essential components – including types and models – and the best practices to develop web applications.
Table of Contents
What is Web Application Architecture?
Web application architecture outlines the high-level components of a web system and the relationship between those components, and conditions that can impact the web application’s performance and scalability.
At the very basic level, we can say that Web application architecture governs the interaction between applications, databases, and middleware systems so that all these components can work together to provide an acceptable user experience.
When a user keys in an URL into a browser and presses the ‘enter’ button, it sends a to a server. Here’s what happens on the server-side:
- The browser makes the necessary adjustments and prepares the necessary web pages for the user. Here the qualitative web application server architecture defines the method of displaying these files back to the user.
- The files are processed by the browser to show the search query.
- The web solutions get ready for user interaction.
Why Web Architecture is important for us?
With the advent of web technologies and smartphone availability, consumer expectations have been skyrocketing, especially for their online experience (both web and mobile).
Users are highly influenced by how usable, accessible, credible, useful, desirable, and valuable their online interactions and experiences are.
While the user cannot see the web application architecture, the choices made at the architecture level can certainly impact the user experience.
The web app architecture is comprised of various application components, and it determines how the application will function including:
- User experience
- Speed and reliability
- Analytics and testing
- Error logging
How does Web Application Architecture function?
In a web application, usually, two separate buckets of codes run simultaneously:
The backend code isn’t visible to the user, but it manages the business logic. It is responsible for accepting the HTTP requests and returning the responses to the client, storing and fetching various types of data to and from the datastore. Server-side code can be written in languages including Java, Ruby, PHP, C#, Python, Node.js, etc.
Here the architects decide how the front-end and back-end must interact with each other.
However, these are very high-level decisions. Designing a Web application architecture is certainly not about making code-level decisions, that come under the scope of software development.
Read Also: Choosing a Technology Stack for Web Application Development
Web Application Architecture Components
We broadly have two distinct categories of Web Application Architecture components:
User Interface (UI) Components
These app components comprise anything that impacts the User Interface (UI) or User Experience (UX). It includes layout, design, dashboards, notifications, settings, activity logs, and many more.
Structural Web Components
These components are not visible to the end-user, but these components are responsible for the execution of business logic at the backend. It includes the server, business logic, database, and the functioning of the web application.
Layers of Web App Architecture
Web application architecture consists of four distinct layers, where each layer contains the components of the progressive web application and performs a precise function.
The four layers of a web application architecture are:
Presentation layer (PL)
It displays the user interface and ensures the user interaction happens effortlessly. Presentation Layer provides the required data to the client-side, it offers the User Interface components that process and exhibit data for users. It also contains the process components which establish all the user interactions.
The primary objective of the Presentation Layer is to fetch input data, process the end user’s request, send the request to the data service, and fetch the results. It’s available via a browser and encompasses numerous UI elements that collaborate with the system layer.
Business logic layer (BLL)
It defines the logic used for business operations and rules to perform effective data exchange. This layer is also known as the Application Layer and Domain Logic Layer, and it is responsible for fetching the user’s queries from the browser and directing the methods to access this data.
The directions through which the backend system acquires the client queries and data are programmed in a business layer.
Data service layer (DSL)
This layer transmits the data processed by the BLL to the presentation layer. Data Services Layer shields the information of app web architecture by insulating business logic from the client-side.
Data access layer (DAL)
It provides very simplified access to data kept in persistent storage like XML and binary files. It also manages various CRUD functions, such as create, read, delete, and update. It is also known as storage or persistence, which is combined with the business logic layer.
This way, the system is very much aware of the database it needs to apply the business logic, and accordingly, it optimizes the data fetched.
Models of Web Application Components
Regardless of the underlying web application architecture, every web application must have at least one server and one database at the backend. However, applications may need more Servers or Databases based on the business requirements.
Here we must lay down a process to define the web application components. We must follow the below-given models of web app components :
One Web Server, One Database
In this model, we must use a single server and database. However, it poses a great risk, as If your server fails, the entire web application will also go down; in event of a database failure, you will lose all your data. This model is appropriate for a very small-scale web application.
Multiple Web Servers, One Database
In this model, the application is safeguarded against a server crash, as another server can perform failover or scale if more workloads come in.
However, the risk of data loss exists due to a single database, and most of the time it becomes a grave bottleneck to scaling.
This model is also known as “serverless”. Here we leverage the capabilities of distributed SaaS solutions that handle all aspects such as configurations, tasks, scaling worries, and maintenance issues as they arise.
Multiple Web Server, Multiple Databases
This is undoubtedly the most dependable model due to the degree of redundancy it offers. It requires at least 2 servers and 2 databases to function; it ensures work is adequately distributed across all the databases while keeping the backup for all systems.
However, we must keep in mind that with the use of multiple databases, we may encounter various issues of data integrity and complexity around access.
Types of Web Application Architecture
We have distinct approaches to web application architecture based on where the business logic transpires or is shared between the server (back-end) and client (front-end).
Some common examples include:
A Single Page Application (SPA)
It is a single page that dynamically updates the information the moment users interact with it. The most famous examples are Gmail and Facebook.
Monolith architecture is a single application developed up of three components: the front-end, the back-end, and the database. Monolithic applications are very simple to build but become difficult to manage as they become large.
It is a multilayer architecture that broadly has 3 formal tiers: presentation, application logic, and database. Each tier can be autonomously developed, deployed, and managed.
It is again a multilayer architecture with only two distinct layers: application and database. Here we don’t have any logic layer between these two.
Server-Side Rendering (SSR)
In this architecture, the server compiles and delivers the data in the form of a populated HTML page to the client side. While we used to experience load delays, now SSR has improved a lot by implementing dynamic routing to deliver only the required data for subsequent pages. This is the approach utilized by the highly popular React.
Client-Side Rendering (CSR)
It decouples the front-end and back-end of architecture while linking the front end with numerous independent services in the back end (microservices) using API. This approach offers flexibility to select and scale best-of-breed services when needed.
This architecture pulls managed infrastructure such as Azure, AWS, or Google Cloud to support the development of scalable and high-performance web applications without having to maintain or provision servers and other computing resources that run the applications or databases.
Multilayer Architecture (n-tier Architecture)
This architecture model uses tiers as well as layers and manages them independently (on-premises or cloud). This architecture offers unmatched resiliency and enables each service to perform and scale optimally.
In an n-tier architecture system, you may have multiple tiers for user interfaces for mobile, web, or desktop.
Isomorphic Web Apps
Popular Web Server Architecture
While we have discussed most of the aspects of web servers, there are various fundamental decisions you must take to ensure your web application architecture offers superior performance, power, scalability, and storage.
You can use the popular web application architectures for your digital product :
PHP Web Application Architecture
PHP Web Application Architecture is very simple to build and maintain. It offers amazing performance, which makes it among the most popular choices for web server and app development.
.NET Web Application Architecture
It offers end-to-end support for microservice and cross-platform capabilities, which eliminates the requirement of a persistence layer in your web application architecture design.
Angular Web Application Architecture
It is based on TypeScript and offers data binding to eliminate code-related issues. It streamlines the app development process and is most suitable for building complex and customized web applications.
Read Also: Angular vs. AngularJS – Best Framework for App Development
Python Web Application Architecture
Python is a simple, versatile, and well established language for web app development. Here you can leverage various Python frameworks to integrate scalability and machine learning capabilities for your proposed web application architecture.
Cloud Architecture for Web Application Development
As most organizations are undergoing digital transformations, cloud-based web app development is gaining massive traction among them. Cloud services can easily support one or more components or layers of the web application architecture.
We have the following popular cloud services that could be used :
AWS Web Application Architecture
Amazon’s AWS is known for its tremendous capability of taking over routine infrastructure tasks, so that application developers can remain focused on the presentation and business logic layers.
AWS commands the largest share of the global cloud market with its wide variety of pricing tiers, database options, and a huge partner ecosystem.
Azure Web Application Architecture
Microsoft’s Azure is another cloud architecture for web application development, which is gaining popularity among startups and scaled organizations.
Azure supports the development of scalable web applications; it ensures high performance and adequate support for a hybrid cloud deployment.
Read Also: Amazon vs. Azure for Mobile Application Development
Web App Architecture – Best Practices
Designing a web application architecture is just the initial step, the success of your web app largely depends on the architectural patterns you select.
Always keep in mind, that replicating strategies of popular web applications could be counter-productive for you.
It is always recommended to assess and complement your business needs to prevent any issues later. You can follow the few best practices while choosing the web application architecture for your organization.
Please ensure that your web app’s architecture contains the following :
A web app architecture operation encompasses assessing the actual and projected performance of an app, conceivable optimization, and productivity pursuing, which contains various indicators. It enables you to determine the instrument for evaluating these metrics and their success or failure easily.
It is a web app architecture concept that enables you to advance and expand the solution. Extensibility is an important indicator of an application’s capacity to evolve and the efforts it may require. Extensions could be implemented by expanding the existing functionalities or by implementing new ones.
Acquiescence with the Open-Closed Principle (OCP)
The Open-Closed Principle in web app architecture design outlines that a functionality part can be prolonged yet can’t be updated, implying integrating improvements but not editing them.
Thus, a service, process, or microservices are saved, and additional capabilities are added to enhance the software competencies.
Flexibility and Scaling
The flexibility and scalability of a web application depend on the underlying architecture along with the potential for scaling caused by the enhancement of the workload. This is important to consider this point during the design stage of web application development.
Enhanced scalability is certainly the most important best practice your web app architecture must be developed with.
Ease of testing
Evaluating and fixing the system architecture web app code architecture is an important part of quality assurance when it comes to your overall development process.
The manual code review phase is an important stage, where the testers must complete the review of the code and minimize the time to market.
A testable web app architecture design enables you to perform adequate tests effectively while saving time and effort.
Nowadays software solutions are moving ahead in leaps and bounds and need to be regularly modified, this is where the role of reusability comes into the picture.
Code reusability is the capability to use the readymade code to develop a new web solution based on given web app architecture.
The existing code can be used to fulfill a similar function or maybe repurposed to execute another function. This best practice reduced the expenses and enables you to build high-level architecture for web apps.
Web Application Architecture – Popular tools
Here we have some tools that can help you deliver the exceptional web app experience to your end-users:
- IDE: NetBeans, AWS Cloud9, WebStorm, and Github’s Atom.
- UI/UX Builder tools: Figma, Invision, and Sketch.
- Integration tools: Cleo, MuliSoft, Automate.io, and JitterBit.
- Libraries and Frameworks: Angular, React, Vue, Python, Django, and Express.
Building an efficient web application architecture plays a key role in the development and success of your digital product.
If any mistakes are committed at this very stage, then it can lead to various issues like code reworking for system components, significant delays in the release, and budget over-run for your web application.
This comprehensive web application architecture guide has been laid out to describe how user experience and application performance are indeed an outcome of the decisions we have made earlier.
We are pretty much sure that guide would have provided a top-level interpretation of the several decision paths that can be taken while developing a web application.
If you still have any doubts about your web app architecture, you want to ensure its high performance, optimize it for the best user experience, and cater to your needs for the future, then you can be in touch with seasoned professionals at Arka Softwares. We can certainly help you kick off your successful web application journey.