WEB APPLICATION ARCHITECTURE: THE BASICS

November 1, 2018

 

Our general guide to web application development briefly covers the basics of the topic. We will explore what is web application architecture, its main components, the types of web application architecture, as well as web server architecture types.

Get a basic understanding of web application architecture with our 5-minute guide.

What is Web Application Architecture

Web application architecture is a framework connecting different elements to enable a web experience. It is the backbone of our daily internet browsing: typing in a URL and viewing and interacting with the website while the browser communicates with the server is one of the ways to describe what is web application architecture.

Attributes of a well-built web application architecture:

  • Solves business problems
  • Supports visual aesthetic
  • Enables A/B testing and analytics
  • Ensures fast user experience
  • Provides security
  • Sustainable and self-regulating
  • Scales out and logs errors in an easy way
  • Guarantees a high level of automation

Components of Web Application Architecture

Web application architectures consist of application components, middleware systems, and databases. They can be divided into two groups:

  • UI/UX components
  • Structural components

UI/UX components include dashboards, statistical data, notification elements, layouts, activity tracking, and other elements. These components create the visuals of a web page and lay the foundation for user experience.

Meanwhile, structural components include the web application server and the database server.The knowledge of HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, as well as  Python, PHP, Java, Ruby, .NET and Node.js are required to create them.

When it comes to building the components, there are several models to choose from:

  • 1 web server and 1 database
  • 2 web servers and 2 databases
  • More than 2 web servers and databases

One web server with one database is the simplest model. With this web server architecture, the successful operation of an application depends on server stability. In other words, if there is a problem with the server, the app will not work. Still, the model is sufficient for testing and private sessions.

Using one database for two web servers is a more reliable model, as there is a backup server. On the other hand, ensuring the database is secure and always running is important.

Having more than two databases and web servers is the most dependable option. Due to its ability to manage and process large amounts of data, this model is a solide the basis for an enterprise web application architecture.

Types of Web Application Architecture  

There are three web application architecture types. Each has its upsides and downsides and serves different purposes:

  • Legacy HTML web app
  • Widget web app
  • Single-page web app architecture  

Legacy HTML web app is established on the very basic logic: a user receives the whole HTML on request. In terms of web server architecture, it means that all the elements (namely, web page logic and overarching business logic) react to the full reload of the web page. This type of web application architecture is suitable for static pages, but not for dynamic web apps.

As a more sophisticated type, a widget web app allows for loading data without requesting the page reload. In this web application architecture type, widgets send AJAX queries and receive chunks of data in HTML and JSON. The widget web app type is more suitable for mobile apps. The downsides of widget app is cybersecurity issues and long development time.    

With a single-page web app architecture, a user simply needs to request the page. This web application architecture type relies on server requests in JavaScript or HTML instead of exchanging data in JSON.

Web Server Architecture

As web servers play a key part in successful operation of web apps, the concept of web server architecture deserves special attention within the web application architecture topic. The servers are chosen by performance indicators like processing power, storage, speed, and app tiers (the number and quality of connections established with various applications, operating systems, and networks).  

Now, let’s look at the types of web server architecture.

Java Web Application Architecture

Within Java based web application architecture, it is possible to achieve the highest level of versatility, meaning its it can be used to create simple and sophisticated pages alike. More so, Java web application architecture allows for building a reliable app for a long-term perspective, which is important for web application architecture of any scale.

The versatility is enabled by a wide array of Java-based tools for web application architecture, so Java web application architecture developers and businesses also get flexibility in how to reach their goal.

Cloud based Web Application Architecture

The trend of moving operations to cloud inevitably led to the development of cloud based web application architecture. A big benefit of this type is data decoupling: a cloud based app runs and is stored on both on a local server and in the cloud. As for security, cloud based web application architecture enables access and identity management to protect app data.

Node.js Web Application Architecture

Node.js web application architecture relies on model-view patterns, including MVC (model-view-controller), MVVM (model-view-viewmodel), and MVP (model-view-presenter). The patterns allow for identifying code elements and a proper way to route and configure them. Node.js enables the creation of proper directory and design patterns.

Node.js web application architecture uses an entity-relationship diagram for data systematization, dividing the code, breaking logic into modules, and processing valuable insights from logs to ensure the application runs smoothly. In addition, Node.js web application architecture allows for building scalable web apps.

.NET Web Application Architecture  

In essence, .NET web application architecture deals with cross-platform support, microservices, Docker containers, and side-by-side versioning. The framework’s Data Access Layer allows using stored data without applying specific database code. Today, this type of web application architecture includes ASP.NET Core and .NET Core, which significantly enhances the functionality of this language when it comes to optimization and support.   

PHP Web Application Architecture

Being one of the most popular web development languages, PHP is also one of the simplest and the most functional ones. Thus, an architecture of PHP web application guarantees rapid development, better security, clear maintenance, dedicated teamwork, and support from a big community.

Azure Web Application Architecture

Microsoft Azure web application architecture allows for designing a solution that would serve as a bridge between traditional tools and the cloud. The Azure cloud platform also adopts the best web application architecture practices.

AngularJS Web Application Architecture

Finally, AngularJS web application architecture serves both as a platform and a framework for HTML and TypeScript. This type of web architecture relies on building blocks called NgModules. Among its key benefits is lazy loading, which improves user experience and reduces code size.

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