What is Web Application Architecture?

Web Application  Architecture is a framework that is comprised of the relationships and  interactions between application components, such as middleware systems,  user interfaces, and databases. The general concept of Web Application  Architecture is in line with the concept of a browser user who triggers  an application that is capable of running in multiple websites.

In essence, Web Application Architectures can be defined with the depiction of this process:

  • A user browses for a specific URL, which the browser locates and requests.
  • Over  the network, data is sent from the server to the browser, then executed  by the browser so that it is able to display the requested page.
  • The user views and interacts with the page.

As explained by DZone,  Web Application Architecture includes all sub-components and external  application interchanges for an entire software application.

As  the tech world continues to evolve, applications are considered a  spearhead in this transformational process. Modern application  architecture and its development are continuously improving in both of  its frontend and backend capabilities.

Specifically, on the  backend or server side, there are numerous application development  architecture approaches that are emerging to cope with and solve current  development needs such as microservices, serverless architectures, and  single page applications. In an upcoming section, we will provide more  details about the different types of  Web Application Architectures.

Over  the last few years, the preferred platform to deliver content and  services has been the web. Thus, companies of all shapes and sizes  needed to be online and present for their prospects and regular clients.

Nowadays,  having an online presence also means being mobile as more and more web  access originates with mobile devices. Mobile application architecture  plays a key role in how developers approach client requirements to  ensure there are consistency and availability across all platforms. As  more complexity is added to applications, developers, in turn, become  less specialized in covering multiple development skills. Full stack  development architecture embodies a significant volume of information  and tools that piece together a web application. As the lines blur  between frontend and backend development, full stack development  architecture works with both. It’s noteworthy to mention that REST API  helps numerous platforms work with backend development.

Components of Web Applications Architectures

As previously stated, Web application architectures are comprised of several components that help build its digital makeup.

These components can be categorized into two areas: user interface app components and structural components.

User  interface app components refer to web pages displaying dashboards,  logs, notifications, configuration settings, and more. They are not  relevant to the structural development of the application and are more  user interface/experience oriented.

The structural components, which are the real meat of the app development process, are:

  • The web browser or client.
  • The web application server.
  • The database server.

The  web browser or client is the interface rendition of a web app  functionality, with which the user interacts with. This content  delivered to the client can be developed using HTML, JavaScript, and CSS  and doesn’t require operating system related adaptations. In essence,  the web browser or client manages how end users interact with the  application.

The web application server manages business logic and  data persistence and can be built using PHP, Python, Java, Ruby, .NET,  Node.js, among other languages. It’s comprised of at least a centralized  hub or control center to support multi-layer applications.

The  database server provides and stores relevant data for the application.  Additionally, it may also supply the business logic and other  information that is managed by the web application server.

Types of Web Application Architecture

There are three, well-known Web Application Architecture types available in the modern tech landscape.

These types of Web Application Architectures are:

  • Single Page Applications (SPA):  Modern, efficient applications are designed to only request the most  necessary elements of content and information to generate an intuitive  and interactive user experience. Single page web applications interact  with the user in a more dynamic fashion by providing updated content  within the current page, rather than loading entirely new pages from the  server with each action from the user. This helps prevent interruptions  in the user experience, transforming the behavior of the application  such that it resembles a traditional desktop application. The most  heavyweight player is AJAX, short for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML,  which is the foundation for page communications making SPAs possible.
  • Microservices: Microservices are small, lightweight services that execute a specific,  single functionality. The Microservices Architecture framework offers a  comprehensive set of advantages that help developers be more productive  and speed up the deployment process of bespoke software applications.  Since the components in the application are not directly dependent on  each other they do not need to be developed in the same coding language;  developers have free range to work with the technology stack of their  choice that works best for the needs of the service and in the desired  timeframe.
  • Serverless Architectures: This  approach leverages third-party cloud infrastructure services to  outsource server and infrastructure management allowing applications to  execute required or custom logic without concerning themselves with the  infrastructure related tasks While it is somewhat similar to  Microservices, the development entity does not own or manage the backend  servers, which makes it simpler when the development company does not  want to manage or support the servers and the hardware they run in.

Web Server Architecture

The Techopedia definition of the Web Server Architecture states that it is the logical  layout or design of a web server, based on which a web server is  designed, developed and deployed.

The essential purpose of a web  server architecture is to complete requests made by clients for a  website. The clients are typically browsers and mobile apps that make  requests using secure HTTPs protocol, either for page resources or a  REST API.

The web server architecture structure is comprised of: a  physical capacity of the server in terms of computing power, storage,  and memory, performance, and app tiers which include the different types  of apps within the server, operating systems, and network connectivity.

Java Web Application Architecture

The  Java Web Application Architecture has traditionally been a favorite in  the enterprise development environment due to its versatility.  Currently, Java is the undisputed top-player among the most favored  programming languages.

The complexity of a web application  architecture depends solely on the requirements of the desired solution.  Whether it’s a simple, informative web application or a robust,  multi-tiered web application, Java Web Application Architecture  technologies can help achieve successful results.

The Java Web  Application Architecture can combine and work with a number of Java  native tools to build a web application. You can pick and choose from a  wide array of available Java products and frameworks to create  everything from simple web applications to full-fledged enterprise-wide  systems.

Mobile Application Architecture

Mobile  Application Architecture is the framework of tools, techniques, and  technologies needed to build a mobile application. This specific  framework takes into careful consideration the procedures that are  needed to ensure an application works properly and efficiently in a  mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet.

In a Mobile  Application Architecture, the device, navigation, bandwidth and user  interface must be thoroughly taken into account to design an adequate  solution for the mobile app architecture.

Device.  Device-specific components that ensure the app is supported, covering  aspects such as operating systems (iOS, Android), screen size, CPU  details, resolution, storage space, and more.
Navigation.  This design element analyzes and employs specific details that may be  required of a mobile application such as view, navigation bar, scroll  views, search capabilities, and more.
Bandwidth.  Mobile applications rely heavily on connectivity to perform to their  full extent. Software and hardware must be considered to handle caching,  intermittent connectivity, batch communications, and more.
User Interface. Ultimately, this is what the client sees, uses, and interacts with.

The design flow of the Mobile Application Architecture is comprised of these building blocks:

  • Presentation  layer: User interface components that address how an application is  viewed by the end user. It also deals with the user interface process  components.
  • Business layer: This layer focuses on the behaviors  available to the end users. It includes workflows and entities that  deliver the functionality of the application.
  • Data layer: At the  heart of the mobile application, data powers a secure application  structure and cognitive environment for the application. All data  functionalities should be able to scale for future requirements.

Node.js Web Application Architecture

Node.js  Web Application Architecture has become a strong candidate to develop  web applications. More and more developers feel comfortable with the  Node.js framework to solve design and structural requirements in  application development architecture. Node.js is written using  JavaScript and is the same technology as frontend components, which  makes it easier for the same developers to program backend services and  frontend user interfaces.

Node.js Web Application Architecture  provides speed and efficiency to the development environment, making it a  key player in the industry. At its heart, Node.js was designed with  integrations in mind, which comes as no surprise since more and more  enterprises are leveraging this framework to integrate numerous services  and systems through a single user interface.

The Node.js Web  Application architecture provides coherence, code sharing and  reusability, simple knowledge-transfer, and a large number of free  tools.

These benefits bring flexibility and efficiency when building a reliable web application.

Ruby on Rails Web Application Development

Identified  as one of the most notable contenders in app development, the Ruby on  Rails Web Application Development framework is an easy to use,  open-source software that places top importance on the developers'  happiness.

Additionally, the Ruby on Rails Web Application  Development framework focuses heavily on productivity and rapid web  development. To achieve this productive, fast-paced environment, Ruby on  Rails relies on the “Convention over Configuration” concept. In  essence, conventions are assumptions that are considered the best  solution to complete a specific task. This simplifies the developer’s  life because conventions are used to deliberate and make decisions where  necessary, unloading the developer’s plate.

Web Application Architecture Diagram

This Wikipedia Web Application Architecture diagram depicts how the framework works:

Web Application Architecture

Expertise for Web Application Architecture

Modern  application architecture works better on multiple platforms and  multiple devices. This is a result of a well-developed architecture that  is the foundation of a successful operability.

In essence, a  healthy Web Application Architecture must be easy to use, solve  problems, offer a fast response time, use the latest and most secure  standards, avoid failures with self-healing capabilities, allow growth,  and ultimately, provide an effortless user experience.

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