It’s funny when you realize that, thanks to one man in 1989 who proposed a unique information management system, today we have the World Wide Web. Yes, it was Tim Berners-Lee’s idea to create a network that would enable easy communication and sharing of documents between different computer devices. One thing led to another and so, with the advent of the dynamic web, web applications came to reign.
Average end-users don’t typically put much thought into the web application architecture while they use Gmail, convert their files into a different format, or put products in their shopping carts while engaging in online shopping. But all of the mentioned are indeed carefully designed web applications.
Today, we’ll talk more about the web application architecture and try to explain our principles at Share IT. Given the fact we have many years of development experience under our belt and a variety of web application projects we dealt with, we’ll share or insider tips, so keep on reading.
When users use a certain web application, it interacts with other applications, databases, and middleware systems on the web. A well defined web application architecture makes this happen.
In a nutshell, the quality of the web application architecture dictates whether or not all technical and operational requirements will be met. Both performance and the security of the web application depend on it, too.
Creating the web application architecture has to balance between the needs of the client (i.e. the company or the organization that’s investing in the application), and the needs of developers.
Why developers, you ask? Well, firstly - they are not magicians. Secondly, the job is not done once the web application is finished and published live. It has to be continuously properly maintained for the best user experience.
You can say that the web application architecture is one of the most important elements of app development. It’s the foundation of every line of code that will be produced, which is why it has to be firm and stable.
More importantly, once you set the foundation - you cannot change it later on in the process; well, at least not without causing other elements to fall apart. This brings other problems to the fore such as additional expenses, broken project deadlines, or worse - damaged reputation due to the poor functionality of an already live application.
Whether the specific use case will require a simple client-server architecture (e.g. most websites), a peer-to-peer network (e.g. applications for financial institutions), MVC, a hexagonal structure or something else - depends on many different factors. We take them all in mind to minimize the risk of any inconveniences and to build a business case. That’s what our business analyst is for.
At Share IT, we stick with the ‘measure twice, cut once’ principle, meaning we always take the time to create the web application architecture that will not backfire in the future. Sure, web development is an iterative process and there are many variables that influence it. But when the right architecture is chosen, everything is a lot easier.
Depending on the type of web application (e.g. will it receive high amounts of traffic and user requests), developers should pick either horizontal or vertical scaling.
The first requires a distributed environment, meaning multiple servers or cloud resources offer a way to prevent downtime and respond to spikes in requests. The latter implies a foresably stable amount of traffic and therefore - doesn’t account for the risk of needing additional resources in the future. In most cases, this applies to internal web applications.
At Share IT, we always observe project specifications and ask our clients strategic questions before making a decision about the type of technology and the way we’ll design the web application architecture.
The type of project also dictates the choice of the database. Whether or not an SQL base is the better option compared to NoSQL base depends on the use case. When we choose one over the other, we always bear in mind how important data consistency is in that specific use case, what would be the average number of read-write operations, does the project require relational databases, etc.
Designing the right web application architecture for us at Share IT comes down to gathering essential information in order to make the right decisions. The input from the client is extremely important.
For instance, a monolithic architecture may be a better choice when the web application is simple and isn’t expected to attract many users in the future (e.g. internal web application for document management accessible only by authorized employees).
In contrast to this, microservice architecture is a far better choice for more complex applications that are intended for the public because this means the user base will grow as time goes by. Web applications that consist of many different elements require a higher level of maintenance and care. That’s where microservices step into the picture.
Microservices allow developers to isolate a specific element they want to work on and do so without affecting the rest of the web application. That way, the risk of downtime is minimized while users can enjoy an amplified experience.
The good news is, it’s possible to move from a monolithic architecture to microservices. Many decide to do so when monolithic systems become too large to deal with.
However, this can be a very difficult and complicated process that requires both organizational changes and application changes. From adding the anti-corruption layer and decoupling capabilities to parallel development and creating the roadmap for the future - there’s a lot of work; not to mention the additional costs.
In 2020, companies around the world are competing with their tech solutions, looking to exceed their customers’ expectations and bring them closer to their brands. Technology has penetrated each industry and providing instant-gratification to your customers has become the norm. To stay competitive, businesses need to meet their customers where they are - not where it’d be convenient for them.
In addition, web applications serve as a great internal tool for organizations looking to improve efficiency and security, which is paramount - especially for enterprise-level companies. If the web application architecture is designed right, the web app in question will also be scalable, high-performing, and easy to use.
Don’t risk trusting your web application development to someone with little experience. At Share IT, we follow best industry practices from project’s day one to best meet your needs and ensure technical excellence. Contact us today to discuss details of your project.