Aug 20, 21  |  Irfan Raza

Single Page Application Architecture: An Overview

Single Page Applications (SPAs) are a fantastic way to create very engaging and distinctive user experiences. Gmail, Google Maps, Airbnb, Netflix, Pinterest, Paypal, and many other Single Page Application examples use Single Page Application Architecture Design to create a fluid, scalable experience.

In the past, though, SPAs have left marketers in the dark when it came to content management. Fortunately, you can now link your SPA with the correct CMS to give both developers and marketers the control they require. Single Page Applications (SPAs) are a fantastic way to create very engaging and distinctive user experiences.

What is a Single-Page Application?

A single-page application, as the name implies, is a single page on which the majority of the content remains the same and only small portions of the information must be changed at a time. A good example of this can be the inbox of your email account where most options remain the same, like the heading and the sidebars. This is different from a traditional loading of a page when the browser refreshes the whole page to render new information.

This piece-by-piece transfer of information is a lot more efficient and easier at the client-end and is very cost-efficient at the server end as well. 

How Does Single Page Application Architecture Work? 

Instead of loading complete new pages from the server, a single page application architecture interacts with the user by dynamically altering the existing page. This method eliminates interruptions in the user's experience between pages, making the app more like a desktop application. The content on websites is repeated a lot of time and remains consistent across the board( on footers, headers, logos, navigation bars, etc). This consistency makes it easier to load pages and does not hamper server load time. 

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Advantages of Single Page Application Architectures

Single Page Application Architectures have numerous advantages, including enhanced application performance and consistency, as well as decreased development time and infrastructure expenses. Development teams can operate at different rates while yet being integrated for the overall solution by isolating the presentation from the content and data. Single Page Application Architectures are used for creating mobile, desktop, and tablet responsive designs.

Single Time File Load Each HTML, CSS, JS

After the initial page load, the server does not send any additional HTML to you; you must download everything from the beginning. Your browser renders the user interface when the server sends you a shell page (UI). The SPA then sends back requests for data and markup as you click about, the server provides back the raw materials needed, and your browser takes it and produces an updated UI - all without having to reload the entire page. Single Page Application Architectures are especially beneficial on heavily browsed pages with recurring templates because of their easy interchangeability.

Fast and Responsive Front-End Built 

Along with the above-mentioned improved performance, Single Page Application Architecture Design also allow developers to design the front-end much more quickly. The decoupled design of SPAs, or the separation of back-end services and front-end display, is the reason behind this. On the backend, many business-critical functions don't alter all that much.

While the “look” or presentation of how your consumers log in, register, purchase, and follow orders may change from time to time, the logic and data orchestration behind it remain quite consistent - and you don't want to risk messing it up.

Similarly, your fundamental material and data may remain the same, but the way you wish to present it may change. You can transform that back-end logic and data into a "service" by divorcing it from how it's presented, and developers can create a variety of front-end ways to exhibit and use that service. With a detached architecture, developers may build, launch, and test with the front-end independently of the underpinning back-end technology.

They design how they want the user experience to appear and feel, and then use those services to draw in the content, data, and functionality. This is accomplished using APIs, which are a collection of rules that govern how programs organize, exchange, and reassemble data. This API architecture allows developers to work quickly on the user interface while ensuring that business-critical back-end technologies are not jeopardized.

Enhanced User Experiences

It's becoming easier to experiment with how features are displayed and used as more and more are designed as modular services (a microservice architecture) that can be modified independently.

SPA frameworks are excellent for experimenting with these services to develop engaging, dynamic, and even animated user experiences. Also, many individuals choose to create in a specific programming language (many SPA frameworks utilize javascript), and owing to APIs, SPAs written in one language can happily interact with back-end services written in other languages.

Ease in Building Feature-Rich Apps

Adding sophisticated functionality to a web application is simple with a SPA application. SPA development, for example, makes it easy to create a content editing web app with real-time analysis. When using a standard web app, performing content analysis necessitates a complete page reload.

Single Page Application Architecture with Angular Compared with React, Vue, and Ember

Developers utilize frameworks like Angular and React (along with others like Ember and Vue) to create SPAs quickly and elegantly. Simply explained, these frameworks are a collection of reusable components that follow a defined set of building rules and to which many developers have contributed.

You might mix the clay, dry the bricks, mine, and form the steel yourself, or you could utilize ready-made bricks and pipes and concentrate your efforts on what makes your home unique.

In the Single Page Application Diagram below you can clearly see the inner workings of SIngle Page Applications:

Why Single Page Application Architectures and CMSs Were Historically a Difficult Pairing?

When employing Single Page Application Architectures, developers may consider the experience to be an "app," but the visitor will still see it as a webpage, and where there is a webpage, there is a marketing team eager to optimize it. Because SPAs are apps that require development effort to alter the design and delivery of the experience, marketers are forced to return to the digital stone age (aka the 1990s) and request development assistance for every change, resulting in unavoidable bottlenecks.

The 2 main reasons are listed below:

  • Removed the editing tools Marketers are used to

The CMS editing tools that marketing teams rely on (live preview, drag-and-drop, WYSIWYG editing, and so on) are typically related to the CMS's delivery tier.

The content is simply stored in the CMS in a standard way that APIs may read with SPAs, and the SPA determines the delivery. The back-end CMS has no notion what the Single Page Application Architecture should look like because it's generated on the front-end, thus it can't generate a preview. As a result, CMS users are forced to adopt an out-of-date method: fill out a form, cross your fingers, hit publish, and go see how it looks in real-time.

To return to our paint-by-numbers example, the CMS maintains the raw content (paint), while the SPA contains the paint-by-numbers instructions for how that material should appear. Because the preview lacks this instruction, I'm unable to determine what the content should look like.

This is a pure "headless" content delivery (i.e., the CMS delivery tier is not a "head"). It's wonderful for speedy development, but it's a little difficult for marketers who want to make changes to the website without needing to code. Furthermore, marketers are accustomed to thinking in terms of ‘pages,' but because a SPA is, well, a single page, the page construction and editing tools that marketers want are unavailable.

They must contact a developer if they want a new "page" (a "route" in a SPA) or if they want the view to appear different.

  • Made it difficult to reuse content

This problem arises for two main reasons: one is due to outdated CMSs, and the other is due to SPA architecture. For starters, some CMSs do not allow you to separate how your material looks from how it is kept.

The SPA can't use the content in the API-based fashion it expects since the content isn't stored in a standard, presentation-neutral format. Of course, this isn't just an issue with SPAs; this type of CMS setup makes it impossible to reuse content across channels in general.

The FAQs you post on your website can't just be tapped for someone to flick through on their smartwatch since the material is related to how it's displayed (a page-based system). You'd have to save the same content in two distinct ways. To function effectively, SPAs require a content-based CMS that can pull raw content and present it as desired.

On the SPA front, the challenge arises from the fact that many websites will be hybrid. While certain parts may be put up as a SPA, others may be set up in the traditional method (which is frequently better for SEO), and there must be a consistent feel between them. That cohesion will be broken if you have two buckets of material, pieces for the regular site and pieces for the SPA. You'll need content that works on all platforms.

The Single Page Application Architecture Diagram below illustrates the browser and server relationship:

Final Thoughts 

A SPA is a must if you want a rich interaction between the user and your application. This strategy is often used in applications like Google Maps to deliver real-time view changes when you scroll from one location to another or click on place markers to view photographs of a specific location.

Second, you'll almost likely need to use this strategy if you want to give real-time updates on the page; notifications, data streaming, and real-time visualizations all demand it. If your content is simply static, implementing a SPA slows down the user's experience by requiring them to download and execute the JavaScript payload before viewing any content.

Third, by merely showing static HTML material upon request, one can increase accessibility for users with older browsers or slower internet connections. Finally, if bots are unable to access any of the headers or content, neglecting to display any HTML information can affect SEO rankings.

The above-mentioned server-side rendering solution can help with load times and give some basic readability for visitors who don't have JavaScript enabled. We recommend that viewers who don't have JavaScript enabled to see the basic functionality of your content so that they can decide whether or not to enable JavaScript based on what they see on the first-page load.

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