Web application architecture – Everything you need to know

web application architecture
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Over the years, web has become the preferred mode to deliver content and services. All the business (be they small or large) have understood the need to be present online for their prospects and regular clients.

But what is actually happening behind the scenes? Well, let us discuss everything you need to know about the web application architecture before you starting building yours. 

What does web application architecture mean? 

The term web application architecture can be used to determine the interactions between applications, middleware systems, and databases to ensure multiple applications go well along together. Let us understand this in a simple language. We can say the flow of processes start with the user entering the URL and the browser triggering a search.

Consequent to the search, the server sends the data to the browser, and the requested page is displayed on the screen. The applications are getting more and more complex and so developers are switching to python web development to build the projects.

Now, that you have a rough idea about web application architecture, let us dig deeper into its working. We will also discuss serverless architecture and python web development.

Working of Web Application Architecture

I hope you know with web applications you have the server-side and the client-side. Basically, we have two programs running concurrently:

  1. The code on the client-side that responds to the user input
  2. And the code on the server-side that responds to the HTTP request

While designing the web application, it is up to the web developer to decide how the server-side and client-side will interact with each other. 

The languages for programming the server-side are:

  • Ruby on Rails
  • PHP
  • JavaScript
  • C# (C Sharp)
  • Python
  • Java

Python web development is becoming famous in the IT industry and web application architecture. A point to note here is that the server-side code is never visible to the user (of course, we are excluding the malfunctions here!). 

As far as the client-side coding is concerned, we use the following languages:

  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • And HTML (Hypertext Mark-Up Language)

These three languages are then parsed at the client-side. The user can see this code and also edit it. To communicate with the server-side, it can communicate only through HTTP requests. 

The web application architecture comprises of different components that make web browsing easy and interactive. Let us move on to the different components of web application architecture.

What makes up the Web Application Architecture?

Web application architecture components are segregated into 2 categories – user interface components and structural components. Let us read more about each of them.

  •  UI/UX Components

Users want to get the best experience without spending too much of their time and effort. That is why technology firms turn towards applications’ User Interface (UI) and User Experience Design (UX). Generally, people get confused between the terms UI and UX. So, here is the explanation.

UI, or User Interface, is the process of enhancing the presentation and interactivity of your application. Its prime focus is on the visual elements such as screen, page or buttons that the user sees while using the web application.

User Experience Design (UX), on the other hand, is the process of improving the overall user experience while using the web application. This component of web application architecture focuses on wireframing an application and structuring all its components to create a user flow.

How important is User Interface Design?

UI is one of the reasons that your website will see an influx of traffic. It draws people’s attention and keeps them there. When people have a good experience using your web application, the conversion rates are higher. 

If your website is difficult to use, the customer would prefer spending 30 seconds to open a new one rather than meddling around on yours. If you are a business depending on internet traffic, you must ensure that your UI/UX is up to par. Through python web development, the developers can create good UI/UX.

  • Structural components

The structural components of a web application architecture basically define the functionality of the web application with which a user interacts along with the control and the database storage.

As the name clearly indicates, the structural component has got more to do with the structural aspects of the web application. They can be further broken down into three parts:

  • The web browser or client allows the users to interact with the functions of the web application. This content can be developed by using HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, and does not demand operating system related adaptations.
  • The web application server handles the business logic along with data persistence. This part can be build using python web development, PHP, Java, Ruby, .NET, Node.js or any similar language. It consists of at least a centralized hub or control center so as to support the multi-layer applications.
  • Lastly, we have the database server that provides and stores the necessary data for the web application. Along with that, it may also supply the business logic and other data that is managed by the web application server.

With the evolution of the digital era, web application architecture has grown a lot and the model has changed many times depending on the technology. Let us see the different kinds of models present for web application architecture.

Different models for web application architecture

  • One-Tier Architecture

In one – tier architecture, we put all the required components of the web application on a single platform. This model makes the development of web applications simple, but also makes them vulnerable. 

As the entire structure is stored on a single layer, the failure of one component may lead to the failure of the entire web application. This is no less than a nightmare for a developer.

  • Two-Tier Architecture

Two-tier architecture comprises of two layers – a presentation layer that runs on the client-side and a data layer that run on the server-side. This implies that the failure of one component in a layer will not be affecting the other.

It is comparatively faster than the previous model as the client request is directly executed with both the layers being tightly connected. It also makes the maintenance and understanding of web applications easier. However, this model may not be successful in the case of a complex web application.

  • Three-Tier Architecture

A three-tier web architecture is made up of three layers – client-side, middleware and a server-side layer. These three layers are logical (not physical) and they may or may not run on the same physical server. Let us understand all three of them in detail.

  • Presentation layer

This layer is built using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and primarily focuses on the UI. This layer can be deployed through a web browser or a web-based application. To make this layer interact with the other two layers, we make use of the application program interface (API) calls.

  • Application layer or Logic Layer

We can also refer to the application layer as the logic layer because it holds the business logic that supports the core functionality of the web application. They layer can be programmed using Java. 

We can either host this layer on the distributed servers in the cloud or on a dedicated in-house server. This depends on how much processing power the web application demands.

  • Data layer

Lastly, we have the data layer that consists of a database and a program to manage the data. We can also call this layer as the storage layer. The data layer can be either be hosted on-premises or in the cloud. Some of the famous database management systems are MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, MongoDB, etc.

Using a three-tier application helps improve scalability, performance as well as availability. As we can make changes to one layer without affecting the other one, it gets easier for a software packager to continually evolve an application as new needs arise. 

Sometimes, a three-tier web application architecture is also referred to as n-tier architecture where n is the number of tiers. 

Now that we are familiar with the different models of web application architecture, let us move on to the different types of web architecture that are available in the market.

What are the different types of web application architecture?

  • Single page web application

A single page web application (SPA) is a method where the content is generated dynamically through JavaScript’s ability to use the DOM elements on the current page itself.

SPA allows the users to continuously interact with the current page while new elements are being updated or fetched, resulting in faster interactions. The application dynamically fetches the data from the server through the AJAX requests or web sockets. If you want a rich interaction between your web application and the user, a SPA is almost a necessity. 

  • Microservices

Microservices are an architectural style that allows the development of one complex web application as a set of small services. Each service then runs in its process and communicates with the clients using lightweight protocols such as HTTP.

One prime benefit of microservices is that it gives the developer the choice to code in the language they are most familiar with. This way they can work faster and more efficiently. Microservices also enhance the scalability of your web application.  As more and more companies embrace the cloud, microservices are a great way to get there.

  • Serverless Architecture

In serverless architecture, the web application significantly depends on third-party services. Serverless architecture is a way to build and run web applications without maintaining the infrastructure. A popular example for this is AWS (Amazon Web Services) where your application runs on servers but the server management is done by AWS.

By using serverless architecture in your web application, you can help your developers focus on their core product instead of worrying about operating servers or runtimes. The developers can spend their energy on building great products that are reliable.

Serverless architecture makes it possible to quickly update, patch, fix or even add a new feature to the current web application. To update a section in a web application, there is no need to makes changes to the whole application available on serverless architecture.

So far, we have discussed the various aspects of web application architecture and functionality. I hope you are clear with each one of them. We will now be reading about an aspect of a web application architecture in detail – the web server architecture.

What are web server architectures?

Web server architecture in a web application architecture is the logical layout based on which the developers design, develop and deploy the webserver. It is essential for delivering the required web server-based operations. 

The different types of web server architecture are as follows:

  • Java web application architecture

Java is one of the most versatile languages and developers prefer this architecture as they can rely on the java native tools and frameworks to create web applications.

  • Python web frameworks

Python web development makes the coding part easily readable and maintainable. More and more developers are switching to python web development and use python as a server-side scripting language. 

Python web development is achieved with the help of multiple python web frameworks including the full stack. One big advantage of using python web development is that it is highly flexible and integrates well with other languages.

  • Other web server architectures 

Some other web server architectures are cloud-based, node.js, .NET, PHP, AngularJS, and Laravel.

To sum up

If you are planning to build a website for your business or for somebody else, you should know all the above-mentioned concepts. To get high traffic on your website, you should make sure the following factors:

  • it is easy to use
  • has a faster response time
  • embeds the latest and most secure standards
  • avoid failures 
  • and ultimately, an enhanced user experience.

Now you are all set to build your own web application using the latest methods and technologies.  

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