Single Page Application (SPA) is a perfect choice for your business if you are planning to build engaging, unique, and seamless experiences for your users.
The most successful businesses in today’s fast-paced, dynamic, and competitive digital era are a testimony to the fact that being customer-centric is the only sustainable way of growing a business. And the rapidly decreasing attention spans of users are pushing businesses to dig newer and better ways of providing seamless experiences to customers.
It is the reason why many organizations have started to build parts of their web applications using an emerging web design referred to as Single Page Application.
Google and Facebook, the two giants whose apps drive your daily dose of the internet and social media activity, have also been built using SPAs.
In this blog, you will explore what is a Single Page Application, its benefits and pitfalls, and how it brings the much-needed business value. But before we go ahead, it is important to mention here that the present web application development landscape is divided into two approaches: Single Page Application and Multi-Page Application.
Single Page Application Vs Multi-Page Application
Although SPAs are prevalent these days, it does not mean it is the perfect web development choice for your next project. Choosing between Single Page Application vs Multi-Page Application depends on your business requirements.
What is a Multi-Page Application?
A Multi-Page Application is the traditional web application where a new page is requested from the server to display each time when data gets exchanged back and forth. The amount of content they carry is enormous, thus they are generally multi-level deep with a considerable number of links and intricate UIs.
What is a Single Page Application?
A SPA application is literally a single page that continuously interacts with the user by dynamically rewriting the current page rather than loading entire new pages from a server. We see Single Page Application examples every day: Trello, Facebook, Gmail, Twitter – are a few SPA examples.
Single Page Application Architecture and How SPA works
When you send a request to visit a web page, the browser sends a request to the server and gets an HTML file in return. With a SPA, the server only sends an HTML file on the first request; it sends data known as JSON on subsequent requests.
Going by the explanation above, a Single Page Application will only rewrite the content on the current page instead of the initial page load in response to user actions. As we discussed, this results in no page reloads and no extra waiting time.
The dynamic loading of content on single page web applications creates a natural, fluid user experience, making the applications feel like native desktop or mobile applications.
Single Page Application Pros and Cons
Just like most other technologies, SPAs have a couple of disadvantages despite having numerous advantages. Here are the drawbacks and benefits of Single Page Application.
Single Page Application Pros
- Quick loading time
- Seamless user experience
- Enables ease in building feature-rich applications
- Uses less Bandwidth
1. Quick Loading Time
A page taking over 200 milliseconds to load can significantly affect your online business and, eventually, sales.
With the SPA approach, your page loads quicker than traditional web applications, as it only has to load a page at the first request. Traditional web apps, on the other hand, have to load pages at every request, taking more time.
2. Seamless User Experience
SPAs deliver an experience like the desktop or mobile app. Users do not have to watch a new page load, as only the content changes and not the page, making the experience an enjoyable one.
3. Ease in Building Feature-rich Apps
SPA application makes it easy to add advanced features to a web application. For example, it is easier to build a content editing web app with real-time analysis using SPA development. Doing this with a traditional web app requires a total page reload to perform content analysis.
4. Uses Less Bandwidth
It is no surprise that SPAs consume less bandwidth since they only load web pages once. Besides that, they can also do well in areas with a slow internet connection. Hence, it is convenient for everyone to use, regardless of internet speed.
Single Page Application Cons
- Doesn’t perform well with SEO
- Uses a lot of browser resources
1. Doesn’t Perform Well With SEO
One of the metrics that search engines use is the number of pages a website has. However, since SPAs only load a single page, it serves as a disadvantage when it comes to ranking on search engines.
2. Uses a Lot of Browser Resources
SPAs require a lot of resources from the browser since the browser is doing most of the tasks for the SPAs. Creating SPAs often need users to use the latest browsers with support for some modern features.
Popular Single Page Application (SPA) Frameworks
However, we are listing the five most popular Single Page Application frameworks that can handle the grand application architectures required for rich web apps.
Use Cases of SPAs
Single Page Application is ideal for building dynamic platforms with small data volumes. Apart from this, a single page web application fits perfectly well for future mobile app development. It is an excellent architecture for SaaS platforms, social networks, and closed communities where search engine optimization doesn’t matter. If a project requires effective SEO, on the other hand, then you should use a multi-page application.
There are numerous use cases of Single Page Applications. You can perform every task with a SPA that a traditional multi-page application can perform; however, the vice-versa is not the case.
Single Page Application Examples
By now you have got familiar with most of the basics of a SPA: How SPA works, single page application advantages and disadvantages, popular SPA frameworks, and its use cases. The following are a few common Single Page Application examples you can relate with:
- Gmail: You can open unread emails, delete, compose, and even send emails.
- Grammarly: You can get insights on a writeup, get grammatical corrections, and do SEO checks.
- Google Maps: You can search for new locations on the map, change places.
You can do all this without having to reload the page. Thereby, it provides a far better experience than having to reload the page.
The benefits of using SPAs are undebatable. While there are new trends in the web applications arena with improvements in SPAs such as Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), SPAs are definitely a step in the right direction towards web application development for the future.
If a startup wants to build a product with an end goal of increased visibility, greater user engagement, and higher productivity for completing tasks or interactively exploring data, the key is to explore the fullest potential of SPAs.