What Is SPA in Web Development?

by Anna Khrupa on Mar 10, 2022

SPA stands for Single Page Application. Most likely, you are using SPAs quite often without even being aware of this fact. We are rarely paying attention to the technology we use when browsing web pages, but many common sites in our day-to-day life are actually SPAs. To have a clue about a nice Single Page Application example, think about Gmail, Twitter, Pinterest, or Netflix. This list goes on. Companies often use SPAs instead of MPAs (multi-page apps) because of their benefits, such as enhanced user experience.

What Does Single Page Application Mean?

To put it simply, Single Page Application is one page (which you can guess from its name) that remains the same while you are working with it, and only certain elements refresh and change if needed. When you use your e-mail website, you can click on different messages and folders to open them, but such elements of the page as header, sidebar, scrollbar, etc. do not refresh and remain at their places. SPA registers commands based on your clicks so browsers can receive this info. Such pages are not like classic web pages that fully refresh with every action. This approach is more convenient for users as pages load faster and more seamlessly. It is also more cost-effective for businesses as smaller portions of information are processed by their servers.

Basics of Single Page Application (SPA) Architecture

SPA is a web app or website that reacts to the user by refreshing only necessary parts of the page, as opposed to loading totally new pages. Thanks to this strategy, web applications are very user-friendly and feel similar to regular mobile and computer apps. The change between pages is seamless and quick. As there is a ton of repetitive content on many web pages, it is more efficient to reload only certain parts. For blogs, social media platforms, e-mail websites, etc., layout often remains the same or with slight changes, which calls for SPA.

Single Page Applications utilize elements already present on your screen and only send in or take away some parts based on your request. For example, if you want to open a certain e-mail, the server sends you the full info about this mail on top of other previews already loaded on the screen. It does not take away all other e-mails to show you a specific one and then load them back. This is how SPAs work faster and more conveniently for the user.

Main Advantages of Single Page Apps

Numerous benefits of SPA features make this approach so popular for modern businesses. Apps demonstrate enhanced performance with shorter development time and reduced costs. Responsive solutions of Single Page Applications are suitable for both mobile and desktop devices. Here are some  key advantages of SPAs:

·        Every file loads once – after the page on SPA is loaded, no more full files are sent to the user. Every page is fully loaded from the beginning, and only newly requested data are retrieved from the server. This allows for quicker responses and convenience in use.

·        Servers do not receive additional queries – servers do not need to spend resources on reloading a full page every time when using SPA. This is beneficial for businesses as they can cut costs by lowering the traffic on their servers. Fewer servers can be used as well to accommodate all website visitors.

·        Quicker and easier front-end solutions – when working on Single Page Apps, developers can create front-end solutions much quicker. This is possible thanks to separating front-end from back-end development in SPAs. Not many changes are usually necessary on the back-end part, while front-end requirements change constantly. This freedom allows implementing changes in the front-end functionality of the software to achieve the best results.

·        Improved user experience – the unique build of SPAs allows experimenting with their visual display and functionalities. Single Page Application framework solutions are perfect for designing user experiences with dynamic and engaging features. In addition, even if your framework is developed using a certain programming language, it still can work perfectly with back-end solutions written in a different language.

·        Multi-platform experience – companies can benefit from SPAs greatly when developing mobile solutions. As Single Page Applications are already built much like apps, their back-end data can be used to create mobile applications without applying many changes. This is a great solution for quick mobile development.

While there are so many benefits to using SPAs, it is also important to pay attention to some of their drawbacks. For example, SPAs are reported to provide less effective SEO than other types of web apps. Pay close attention to this issue if you are planning on adopting SPA solutions for your business.

Developing SPAs Using Designated Frameworks

When it comes to SPA development, special frameworks can be utilized to create these applications efficiently. Some of the most popular solutions are Angular, React, and Ember. There are actually more options than those listed, and every business can choose a suitable solution based on its needs and specifics of operations.

These solutions offer special components provided by numerous developers that can be utilized in the creation of SPAs based on specific rules. These components are like building materials that are ready to be used by you to create a Single Page Application.

All these frameworks are great solutions and can be integrated with your SPA thanks to APIs. Angular is one of the earliest frameworks for SPAs introduced by JavaScript. This option is commonly used as there are already numerous companies and developing teams that have experience with this framework. Google is one of the companies that utilize Angular for their Single Page Apps solutions.

Conclusion

Single Page Applications have already gained recognition in the web development industry thanks to their great benefits for companies and users alike. If your project requires a swift and cost-efficient solution with incredible user experience, SPA might be perfect for you. However, thorough planning and professional software development services are required to create a reliable and useful product.

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