The Impact of Single-Page Applications (SPAs)
When building a website application, you have two options to choose from, namely single-page (SPA) or multi-page (MPA) applications. There are not as many single-page apps on the web compared to multi-page apps. Their modern nature and improved usability, on the other hand, offer an entirely new outlook that promises increased popularity in the years to come.
Before we start to discuss more regarding single-page applications, let us first have a brief background of what these applications are.
An Overview of Single-Page Applications
For a long period of time, people were aware only with the idea of multi-page applications (MPAs) that processed different requests among clients and the server. This was until Ajax technology was introduced. The technology allowed updates of the web page without reloading it, which gave developers a concept of what a single page app must look like. The SPA we know is the outcome of a long journey from the release of jQuery and Knockout.js to Backbone.js and other frameworks to Angular’s release.
Now, you may be asking, what is a single-page application at present?
The Definition of a Single-Page Application
A single-page app, or SPA, is a web application that takes a single HTML page. Since a SPA provides dynamic updates, it enables interacting with the page without the need to refresh it. Using a single-page app means you can considerably lower the server load and increase loading speed for improved user experience. This is achievable since it only boots data on demand while the whole page has been loaded earlier.
Since it is faster than the regular multi-page application websites, a single-page application may be the ideal solution for your business. Let us take a look at the following features to discover what a SPA is useful for.
The Features of Single-Page Applications
Most competitive single-page apps have essential features that include, but are not limited to:
Templating and routing on the client’s side.
As it is supported by JS-based routers, a single-page application can observe the user’s existing state and location within the entire navigation experience.
No server roundtrip.
SPA can restructure any portion of the user interface easily to restore the whole HTML page. This helps avoid server roundtrip. How can this be fulfilled? Through the Separation of Concerns (SoC) design principle, which establishes a goal for separating the software system into portions so that every part can take on a different problem.
The ability to work offline.
A single-page app can still function offline in case of a lost Internet connection, for instance. As soon as the connection is fixed, the local data will be connected with the webserver.
Single-page apps can work on various operating systems from any browser. While this feature is more beneficial for developers, regular users who use multiple devices can also gain from this.
A lowered throughput.
The connection to the server is established in tiny fragments. Data are crammed into smaller objects, such as JSON data format, which is particularly useful in the instances of slow or limited traffic connection.
The features above and others not mentioned greatly affect single-page application performance; therefore, making it more appealing for startups as well as other online projects. The architecture of single-page apps is great for social media, dynamic apps, Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms, and so much more.
Some Examples of the Single-Page Application Model
While there may not be many SPAs, you may have already come across the most popular ones on a day-to-day basis, such as scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed, going through your emails on Gmail, and even using Google Docs. Yes, you heard that right. Google Drive applications are single-page applications.
Other examples of SPA include Trello, Flickr, WhatsApp Web, as well as other Google web services like Spreadsheet, Maps, and the like.
Now that you have an idea of what a SPA is and what its features are, let us now have a more in-depth look into the advantages and disadvantages of this model.
The Pros of Single-Page Apps
Single-page applications strive to enhance overall website performance and improve conversions. Here are further benefits of a single-page app:
One of the biggest pros of single-page applications is loading speed. Compared to traditional sites, SPAs are much faster since they are capable of loading new information into one page upon request. Furthermore, unlike regular sites, single-page apps do not have to link to other HTML pages within the structure of a site.
A single-page application is simpler to use since the site does not regularly send requests to a server and has to wait for a response and the downloading of a different page. It offers immediate access to every function and feature of the site without any delay. This is a wonderful advantage because quick loading times can mean better business and sales performance.
Another benefit of single-page apps is caching. A SPA only has to ask data from the server once, during the first download. After this, the site can be visited even if the user is not online or if they have a poor Wi-Fi connection.
If you want your site to be mobile-friendly, then using a single-page application is a good idea. SPAs are simple to adapt to mobile device browsers and mobile app design.
SPAs also offer an enhanced overall user experience. A common complaint among a lot of users is having to go through different menus and links to obtain the information they need. With single-page applications, all they will need to do is scroll. This feature makes SPAs particularly ideal for individuals who mainly use their mobile devices.
Furthermore, a single-page application offers access to the page with a bad internet connection or without connection at all. Next, the interactivity on a SPA is much higher compared to multi-page applications. Additionally, the UX design of this model is more appealing to users than an MPA.
Ease in Developing Feature-Rich Applications
Single-page apps make adding advanced features to a web application easy. For instance, it is simpler to create a content editing web application that offers real-time analysis through a SPA. Doing this with a regular web app needs a complete page reload to do a content analysis.
The Cons of Single-Page Applications
While single-page applications offer numerous benefits, they are not the solution for every business. For example, there are a number of organizations that choose to use regular multi-page applications for their sites because of the challenges of SPAs.
From a technical point of view, here are some of the cons of single-page apps:
You have to bear in mind how a single-page app will impact your website stats. You will not be able to identify which content or page is most popular since your site only has one page. For example, Google Analytics registers data from different pages being downloaded on a website. So if you want to monitor activity on a SPA, you will have to come up with your own analytics solution.
Search Engine Optimization
Compared to multi-page applications, it is much more complicated to implement SEO strategies on a single-page application. Since search engine optimization relies on HTML content, the fewer pages a site has with unique keywords, headings, and URLs, the lower it will rank in search engines. Having only one single page harms your SEO.
Needless to say, if your application or site is a private or company-intranet type that is entered through a personal login, then search engine optimization does not really matter and a single-page application could still benefit you.
Uses Plenty of Browser Resources
A single-page application will need a lot of resources from the browser because the browser does the majority of the tasks for the SPA. Developing a single-page app will typically require users to make use of the most current browsers with support for some modern factors.
Challenges in the Development Process
Since single-page apps are a fairly new technology, they require a lot of effort and significant knowledge to troubleshoot. When looking for a team to develop your SPA, you should consider one that has experience in dealing with a specific framework and tools such as Gulp, Webpack, NPM, and SystemJS. Furthermore, it is difficult to track the code, particularly when you try integrating third-party elements like plugins, modules, and extensions.
There Is No Way Back
Do not forget to consider that the majority of web users are used to clicking the back button when visiting a website. With a single-page app, this would completely bring them out of the app and can result in them becoming annoyed with the site. The users may even stop visiting the site because of this.
These are the main challenges you may encounter when using SPA software. Others may include security issues, higher development prices, and lack of scalability, to name a few. However, there are ways to conquer it. Professional developers, such as the ones in our team at Proweaver, can assist you with this.
Any kind of website architecture has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. When you choose one, you should base it on the type of project or business objective you have. You may want to consider the following:
- The aim and purpose of your site
- The amount of information you are going to share with your users and the kind of information it will be
- The appearance of your site and what its primary elements will be
- The kind of advantages your content will offer to your target market
While using single-page applications has some disadvantages, they are unquestionably a leap in the right direction for web application development in the years to come.
If your start-up business would like to create a product with the main goal of better user engagement, higher visibility, or increased productivity for finishing tasks or interactively going through data, then the solution is to use a single-page application to its fullest potential.
How Proweaver Can Help You and Your Business
If you cannot decide whether your business will benefit from a single-page web application or the more traditional multi-page model, then our team at Proweaver would be glad to help you reach the right decision.
With over 10 years of experience in the industry of custom web design, we are more than capable of providing you with the solution to your online business needs, whether that is single-page or multi-page application development or other digital marketing services. Just let us know about the project you have in mind and our team will recommend and implement the best possible solution for your business.
As an expert web design company, we have stood the test of time because of our adaptability and love for innovation. Our team keeps up with the latest innovations in web design and development to deliver an end product both you and your target market will love. So whether you are starting out in your industry or want to give your current website a complete revamp, you can definitely depend on Proweaver’s expertise.
Reach Out to Us
Let us begin working on your single-page application project now! Please feel free to get in touch with us for further details. One of our friendly representatives would be happy to speak with you.