Single Page Apps: The future of the web?

We are so used to being online everywhere we go that we hardly think about the latest innovations making this possible. In most cases, this isn’t an issue – after all, we don’t often think of the electricity powering the light without it going out. However, when considering how applications can benefit your business, it’s important to stay on top of the latest developments in technology which will ultimately help you serve customers better. This isn’t something you can tinker with at the end of your development process – your best bet is to seriously consider these types of features early on in order to make a well-received product!


What is a SPA And Why Do We Need It

Single-page applications help make the internet faster by not needing to reload the entire page on each action. They are apps that work inside a browser environment, like Google Docs and GitHub. All of these apps use the SPA concept. One of the best things about a SPA is the UX. This helps in engaging quickly and taking care of many issues a user might encounter like navigating in an efficient manner with pages loading fast. Having good performance correlates directly to how well a user will rate your site’s quality and it even impacts their perception and overall satisfaction of your website once said tasks are complete.

Single-page applications are fast. The first time someone opens a SPA, the browser preloads most of the assets in the background so when a user clicks on a link to another page in your app, there is less delay before the new content is shown. In SPAs, pages are made up mostly of HTML and JS (or JSON) delivered via APIs instead of full-page loads from your server.

Numerous studies by Google and Amazon have shown that if a page takes more than 200 milliseconds to load, it has the potential to make or break a business. That’s why speed is important when developing applications!

From a developer’s point of view, developing a SPA is streamlined and optimized. You don’t need to write code for your server to render a page. There is not even really a need for a server in the development process itself. Besides, the developer can completely reuse the same backend code for native mobile applications too!


The downsides of a SPA

Despite all the advantages of a single page app, there are still occasions when it’s better to not build an entire web application as a single page. Let’s check out those instances! SPAs are heavy on the browser. For example, if a user has an older device (such as your favourite old phone from 7 years ago), the app experience will be sludgy and will not be that nice to look at.

Additional problems can arise in tasks related to JavaScript because programmers have to be sure they don’t create a memory leak, otherwise, users will experience painfully long waiting times. Single Page Applications (SPAs) also tend to last much longer on visitors’ devices than more standard web pages such as Multiple Page Apps (MPAs), which usually remain open for a matter of minutes.

One downside is that a certain percentage of your users may have JavaScript disabled; including users with some non-traditional browsers. Therefore, it’s important to think of innovative ways that you can deliver the content to these end-users in different formats.

And the biggest downside of SPA’s is that they usually cannot be indexed by crawlers, which can make it tougher to compete with other apps in your niche, as well as limit an app’s ability to attract more users. It may therefore be desirable to use SPAs when you don’t rely heavily on SEO for example when you only need a login-protected app.

Therefore, our advice to you: if you would rather not have to bother with setting up a URL mapping structure, choose a framework that supports server-side rendering (SSR).


When to use what?

Single-page applications have gained immense popularity and are widely adopted, but is this really the best approach in every situation?


When to use a SPA?

When you need a dynamic platform, you can use a SPA. They are useful if your business requires a dynamic platform where data needs to be loaded dynamically. Additionally, they can be used in the generation of mobile apps since the backend API can work on both the website and the app.

The main drawback is the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) therefore it’s mostly suitable for Saas systems like google docs, closed communities like a forum with a required login or social networks. The reason behind this is that these types of websites don’t have to be optimized for Google.

This problem can be solved with a framework that uses SSR, but this will increase the time that it takes to build up your application and make it more difficult to manage.


When to use an MPA?

Big companies with a wide range of products would greatly benefit from a more traditional multi-page application. As this model may involve hundreds of different divisional structures each requiring various products and services, they are well suited to the simplified app reorganisation involved in this process. This is because such an approach helps these platforms rank higher in search engines by making their online presence easier to navigate.

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