Web Application Architecture Guide: How it works? Types, Components, Best Practices, and More

A book has a manuscript.
A car has a design.
A building has a structure.
A human body has a skeleton.
In the same way, a web application has a web application architecture.

Introduction

We are surrounded by web applications right from the start of our day to its end. It’s so simple and easy to click, navigate and select whatever you want on such web apps. But have you ever imagined how much it takes to develop these apps?

Web app development has progressed exponentially for a few decades. The days of the static pages are bygone. Over time, the dynamicity of web apps has impressed the users and increased user interactions as well. But, do you know before starting with web app development, it is primary to explore web app architecture?

This detailed guide will discuss web application architecture, working, components, types, models, and best practices. The foremost lesson to be kept in mind is: Building web applications is not just coding! The development can be done when architecture is done and dusted. So, let’s start with the definition of web application architecture.

What is Web Application Architecture?

Web application architecture is a skeleton of a web application. It describes different interactions taking place between components, middleware, databases, and user interfaces. Due to such interactions, applications work together. Web application architecture deals with the flow and communication of the entire application and handles the major aspects and components of the product.

Web application architecture consists of components having a logical description. It determines the future design of the application, user experience, infrastructure, and software modules. Therefore, working on the architecture is the foremost step for developing a product.

Now, you might wonder how web application architecture works? Your answer is in the next section.

How does Web Application Architecture work?

To understand better here’s a basic working example of web app architecture.

Web Application Architecture work

We all know that web applications have two sides- front-end and back-end.

The front-end of a web application is said to be client-side, which interacts with users. The front-end is written in HTML, CSS, and Javascript. So when you open a web application, whatever you see and interact with comes under the front-end part.

Whereas the back-end is on the server-side and inaccessible by the users. On the server-side, the data is stored that can be accessed and manipulated easily.
The HTTP requests of the back-end use the data received by the users in the form of images, text, and files. Back-end can be easily developed using JS, Java, Python, PHP, Rails, etc.

Whenever the user visits a web page, the web server fetches the data and sends the response to the browser based on the user’s requests. Once the browser receives the response, the interaction begins. This whole process includes various components and models, which we will explore in the next section.

Placing the web app architecture correctly

  • reduces bugs, poor user experience, and response time
  • increases the application’s efficiency

So, be careful and precise when it comes to dealing with web application architecture.

Here are few attributes of the architecture:

  • Offers security
  • Solves business issues
  • Enhances visual aesthetics
  • Guarantees fast and better user experience
  • Enables A/B testing
  • Ensures higher automation level
  • Sustainable

Web Server Architecture Diagram

This is how the scheme of user-server procedure in web application architecture diagram can be explained:

Web Application Architecture Diagram

Web Application Architecture Components

Components are the core part of web application architecture. It determines the functionalities of your application and the quality of the user experience offered to the users. The web application architecture is categorized into two types:

1. UI/UX components (client-side):

It includes the interface elements, input controls, navigational components, dashboards, statics and analytical elements, admin panel, activity tracking, tools, design layouts, and many more.

2. Structural components (server-side):

It includes database storage and server control. As the name suggests, it focuses on the structural part of the web app. It mainly comprises of:

  • Web (client) browser
  • Web application server
  • Database server

While building components, we need to figure out the appropriate and suitable model. So, let’s proceed to our next section.

Web Application Architecture Models

The model is selected based on architecture and databases. Thus, for choosing the right architecture model, you need to know these three types of models.

One database, One Web Server

One database, one web server is the most basic and simple model used in web application architecture models. As the name suggests, developers use only a single database and web server to develop the application.

This is one of the most used models for mobile application architecture. But, it has one limitation: if the server is down, then the whole application will be down. Therefore, the model is less preferred for web applications because of its limitation.

One database, Multiple Web Servers

One database, a multiple web servers model, is best for those applications where data storage is not done using web servers. Instead, the data is processed by the web server and stored over the database.

This is a stateless architecture that consists of at least two web servers. It is used for avoiding impromptu issues causing failures. For example, whenever one server fails due to some reason, the second server would take its place and executes the requests.

Multiple databases, Multiple Web Servers

Multiple databases and multiple web servers model is the most efficient model that ensures no point of failure, neither for web servers nor databases. The models contain two kinds of database models that store identical data and are distributed evenly.

Web Application Architecture Types

In this section, we will discuss the types of web app architecture classified based on front-end and back-end.

Web Application Architecture Types

Front-end

Single Page Applications (SPAs)

Single Page Apps are more famous in this minimalism era. A web page takes time to load entirely, which kills user experience. But, SPAs don’t allow loading the web pages completely. Thus, it provides great and dynamic user interaction.

Server Side Rendered Apps (SSR)

SSR is used to render the client-side Javascript framework to HTML and CSS on the server-side. Due to SSR, the delivery of the most important assets is done quickly and thus renders the page as soon as possible.

On every request, the server compiles the information and serves a new HTML document to the client-side. When the CSS is received, the UI is designed accordingly, with no need of waiting for JS to load.

Back-end

Microservices

Microservice is one of the service-oriented architecture. Generally, microservices are lightweight and small functionalities that execute a single service. Also, there’s no boundation of working with technology or programming language. It means that developers can pick language as per their will. There’s no inter-dependency as they have their individual tasks to deal with.

Serverless Architecture

Serverless architecture lets you outsource certain operations and services using cloud-based services.

The entire infrastructure of the architecture is backboned by third-party providers. The provider offers infrastructure management and outsourcing servers.

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Web Application Architecture Best Practices

A properly planned and opted web application architecture minimizes many impromptu issues and bugs, saving a heck of development time and resources. High-level architecture planning is indeed the best way to get started with the product.

Here are few parameters which one should consider for evaluating an app structure:

  • Component flexibility
  • System flexibility
  • Easy detection of bugs
  • Performance level
  • Scalability
  • Reliability
  • Stability
  • Clear code structure
  • Reusability
  • Fast response time
  • Doesn’t crush
  • No point of failure
  • Secure

Conclusion

Web application architecture is certainly the backbone of applications. However, the miscalculations and inaccuracy at this stage are very costly; the product release date could delay, or the budget/resource losses could be encountered.
So, wisely put all the pieces together, considering technical requirements, users, and product goals.

The blog post has covered key parameters and criteria which should be taken care of and evaluated thoroughly for a viable architecture. If you still have any doubts or want a helping hand for better web application architecture, contact Top-Grade Custom Software Development Company.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why does Web Application Architecture matter?

Web Application Architecture matters because of the following reasons:

  • It is the foundation of the web application on which you will keep the product components.
  • Negligence while designing architecture can postpone the release date.
  • Bad decisions made while designing architecture can lead to expensive app maintenance.
  • Keeping basic rules of the working of architecture in mind can save your efforts and time.
What is the difference between Software design and software architecture?

As I said before, software architecture is the skeleton of a web app. It provided high-level components and deals with interactions and communication between these components. Therefore, it can be said as a blueprint of application.

Software design comes at code-level designing. It comes after the architecture part when software engineers start the development process. After that, it’s the software developer’s responsibility to take care of functions, interfaces, classes, a

What are layers of Web App Architecture?

In general, there are four layers of web app architecture:

  • Presentation layer (PL): It has the responsibility of taking input data, processing it, and then displaying the response sent by the server to the browser.
  • Business Logic Layer (BLL): It has the responsibility of exchanging data. It includes messaging, the logging-in process, online orders, and many more forms of interactions.
  • Data Service Layer (DCL): It takes care of transmitting data from the business layer to the presentation layer and secures business logic from the client-side.
  • Data Access Layer (DAL): It takes care of accessing the data saved in the persistent storage, for example, XML or binary files. It also looks into CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) operations.
What features of Web Application Architecture should be considered?

The best user experience can be provided if your web application has these features:

  • Scalability: The horizontal scaling of apps is also considered in the architecture. It comprises various servers for managing traffic or any type of fluctuations.
  • Security: Application can sometimes be vulnerable, so securing the data is the most important thing to be followed. Moreover, manipulating malicious code is a prominent concern as well.
  • Extensible: One should always keep the application lifecycle in mind. The app should be extensible and flexible to adapt new features as per the requirements and market trends.
  • Separation of concerns: The application should be self-contained & modular to decrease the internal dependencies. This type of feature can result in a faster and independent development process.
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