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SF AppWorks Nov 12, 2019 4:42:00 AM 6 min read

What is Web Application Architecture? | SF AppWorks

Almost everything we do today somehow touches the Internet. From browsing for information on the web to checking the mail or shopping on Amazon, you can do pretty much everything online. This is all possible because of digital infrastructure called web apps.


Web application architecture allows websites to respond to user requests and commands by interacting with a web server to relay requested information. At SF AppWorks, we believe you can improve your business by taking advantage of constantly developing technologies. With this in mind, here’s a guide to understanding web application architecture.


version_control as a concept of what is web application architecture


Web application architecture defined


Web application architecture describes interactions between databases, application systems and middleware systems on the Internet. Web application architecture may sound like complex, but its basic operations can be simplified. Anyone using the web will interact with web architecture on a daily basis, so it’s helpful to understand what it means.


Let’s unpack a typical web browsing scenario. When you type a URL and press the enter button, you instruct your browser to search for that specific web address you’re navigating to. The web browser sends a request to the server. The server responds by accessing the requested files. After the server sends the requested files to the browser, the browser displays the information on the page to the user.


In order to understand web application architecture, you should pay attention to the web browser’s code. This code usually contains specific instructions that inform a browser on how to interact with varied types of inputs by the user.


For that to happen efficiently and reliably, the global network traffic largely depends on the web application architecture to facilitate interchange between sub-components and the external application interchanges of the software application. 


Related: When to Build an App Vs. a Mobile Responsive Website


Developing web application architecture


 web_development as a concept of web application architecture

Skilled tech individuals or tech companies develop web applications, which play an integral role in web application architecture. The web technologies usually involve:

-Javascript (and Node.JS)
-Access and MySQL
-SQL server 
-Ruby on Rails

It’s fundamental to understand that web applications run through web browsers like Google Chrome, which are part of the Google Web Server infrastructure and architecture. Web applications do not run through a PC.

Commercial based web applications often utilize a storage database for permanent information. For instance, most online stores store data including product descriptions, customer orders and product costs in a database.


A web application architecture for an online store can help the owners run the business more efficiently. Web application architecture makes vital information and statistics easily accessible and more efficient. That includes:

-Displaying reports in graphical form
-Ordering goods through online catalogs
-Forecasting by gaining valuable information from visiting customers by learning what they are looking for
-Analyzing campaign data from distribution offices all over the world
-Providing task information to workers on site through mobile devices


Today’s web application architecture typically involves SaaS or software services. That makes web applications accessible and affordable in building one’s web application architecture. With the help of SaaS, customers operating a web application have little to worry about when it comes to hardware, support, and software compatibility. Developers and vendors control operation and software hosting, making it easier on users. This aspect offsets a huge overhead cost for large corporations.


Advantages of web applications



Web applications are the heart of a web application architecture. Some of their advantages include the following:

-Reducing the cost of doing business
-Eliminating the need to install additional software
-Simplifying the update process
-Securing and centralizing the data.
-Increasing the reach of the application
-Increasing availability of the application
-Decreasing the need for powerful or high end mobile or PCs to process, since processing can be done on the server
-Improving communication windows in online training


Even with the previously listed upsides for using a web application, it’s important to note that efficient web application architecture must be compatible with different web browsers and versions.

Related: How to Speed up Your Websites Load Time


How web applications interact within the architecture


To determine architecture, web engineers consider how application logic functions on the server side and the client side. A web engineer develops a given web application architecture in CSS, JS, or HTML. They integrate these components with the user’s browser, requiring no device-related or OS adjustment. This is what the end-user interacts with.


Some of the common languages used to develop the server component are Python, PHP, Ruby on Rails, Java and NodeJS. Although server components may consist of more than two parts, database and application logic are the two most important ones. The database stores data and the app logic acts as the control center for the app.


The server-side and the client-side are the two major structural components of a web application. The user experience, abbreviated UX, of a web page has little to do with the operational aspect of the architectural framework. Instead, it relates to the interface layout plan. This utilizes dashboards, notifications, statistics and activity logs to enhance a user’s experience. 


A web application model is based on the overall number of databases and servers to be utilized for the web application. There are three web application models, namely:

-Multiple web servers, one database
-Multiple web server, numerous databases
-One web server, one database


As mentioned above, the distribution of app logic on server and client sides determines the type of architecture to be used.


Types of web application architecture 

There are three types of web application infrastructures:


1. Microservices


This architectural framework is more popular with developers seeking a free range of customization along with different time frames for getting the job done. Microservices allow a developer to utilize varied technology stacks of their own choosing.


Given that application components are not interdependent, the developer can opt to use different coding languages on components. 


Microservices execute specific single functions and create the framework for lightweight and small services. As a result, developers enjoy more flexibility in creating and deploying a web app much faster.


2. SPA's 


SPA is an abbreviation for Single Page Application. AJAX, a concise form of XML and JavaScript, makes SPA possible. They deliver an interactive and intuitive UX and provide the most relevant content of a user request. They do so by availing updated content to the current page.


3. Serverless architecture


Outsourcing the server and the infrastructure of a web page makes serverless frameworks possible. That usually involves a third-party cloud infrastructure service like AWS. This works best when a development company does not want to be involved in dealing with the required hardware or support servers. 


If the developers outsource hardware management and support, they create a major advantage. The application can execute logic without interfering with infrastructure-related duties. 


What is a good web application?


Depending on the services a web app provides, one can determine which web application architecture is right. For optimal web app performance, there are several aspects it needs to get right.

-Simplicity in usage
-Ability to scale it up up and down depending on prevailing needs at the time
-Does not frequently crash
-Compatible with the latest technologies and standards
-Ironclad security that protects against intrusion
-Solves queries in a consistent fashion
-Delivers on high UX



 design_components, web application

Evolution is part of growth, and web application infrastructure will keep evolving to become even more efficient, reliable, robust, and scalable. 


Web applications have already come a long way from a decade ago - remember when most web pages were static? The new age of the Web has come through dynamic interfaces and real-time processing of information in revolutionary new ways. Come learn about our services and resources at SF AppWorks and modernize your business capabilities today. 


Related: How to Hire a Mobile App Developer