Technology is evolving at a much faster rate than we could have imagined in the past. With the advent of new software applications, we want all services delivered to us at the click of a button. Another change that has been noticed is that people are no longer working on desktops and browser based applications but switching to web applications on the mobile.
So what is a significant change that is taking place on websites? The one significant change seen on websites is that they look more and more like applications with various interaction possibilities rather than static pages. In today’s times, the user wants more and more information available at a single browse rather than clicking various tabs to view it. On the other hand, the website owners want to provide a better interface to the user.
If you are planning to create an application of your choice then you will be presented with two options: multi-page application (traditional way) and single-page application (modern way)
Multiple Page Application (MPA)
A multi-page application consists of many pages with static information such as text, images, etc. They also have links on the page that connects with other pages. For example, if you click on a button ‘Know more...’, the rest of the content will appear on the page but it reload the entire content of the page, including the header and the footer of that page. This will mean that the user will have to wait every time he/she clicks a link.
The technology used for a multi page application is HTML and CSS.
Pros of Multi Page Applications
This type of application allows the user to see the visual map and let them decide what they wish to read on the website. Designing the menu application in detail is one of the most important aspects of MPA.
MPAs can be handled fantastically well with proper SEO management. Different key words can be ranked in order and optimised for one keyword per page.
Cons of Multi Page Applications
The development of MPA is tedious because the frontend and backend development needs to be tightly coupled. Further, it takes longer to develop because the developer has to use frameworks for either the client’s or the server’s side.
Best Approach for Multi Page Applications
Sometimes MPAs can become very complex – at this point of time you can start creating your own framework to maintain the UI on a back end. You need to divide your back end and front end with REST API and they will communicate in a specific language of queries. Now at this stage, one will require front-end solutions. Because of these issues, many companies have realised that they need to keep a source of their project open. Here, they provide a community with the platform and the community accelerates the evolution of the solution. It basically turns into a win-win situation.
Another code base that can be used is the Node Package Manager (NPM), where one finds solutions for almost all the problems. Hence, with the help of the community and its ecosystem, you can create an MPA that is dynamic, easy to fix and which can be integrated into MPA websites.
Single Page Application (SPA)
A single page application consists only of one page where the content is dynamic and keeps changing. Only a chunk of the information that you perform an action on changes, and the rest of the interface remains the same. Due to this reason, the website is much faster than a multi page application.
Generally, when you build a SPA, you need to use a solid mature ecosystem. It is the other way around in a MPA, where you integrate interactive elements in the app. Unlike an MPA, single page applications the front-end and back-end are separated and they don’t interfere with one another.
Some of the examples of SPAs are: Google, Gmail, Facebook, GitLab.
Pros of Single Page Applications
Speed and Responsiveness: With SPAs, a server doesn’t need to reload the content with every interaction. Only the new data is downloaded from the server so they have a lighter server payload. Hence, applications run faster since the data processing is removed from the server to the browser.
Adaptability: The backend code of the SPA can be used from a web based app and be directly integrated in the mobile. This saves a lot of time and effort.
Flexible UI: The front-end of a SPA can be rewritten with no influence to the server except for a few static resource files.
Offline Support and Caching: SPAs can cache local storage – it sends a request to the server and stores all the data it receives. The SPA can operate offline as it can use this data, unlike an MPA where you can’t see the data if you are not connected.
Separation of Data and UI: SPAs can distinguish between data and the UI. This helps to streamline the app – only the data that needs to be added or edited is touched and the rest of the functionalities of the UI would remain the same.
Debugging in Chrome: It is easy to debug SPA in Chrome as it can monitor network operations, investigate page elements and the data associated with it.
Cons of Single Page Applications
Issues with SEO: In SPAs, you can only put one keyword per page which affects the SEO rates.
Memory Leaks: The loss of computer memory happens due to event listeners. Sometimes events can be organized incorrectly. For instance, an HTML element can be bound to an event. The event handler stays in the memory if you modify the HTML content. Hence, you can no longer execute it.
Security: It is easy to attack and exploit a web page with XSS. The attackers can use their own client-side code which delivers a malicious script to a victim’s browser.
Limiting Scalability: It becomes difficult to keep adding new content on a single page application because it takes a longer time to download the page. Sometimes the entire website needs to be redesigned if more content needs to be added to it.
Sharking a Link: When it is a SPA, one cannot share only a part of the information through a link. The user will have to download the entire contents of the page.
Back and Forward Browser Buttons: If the user wishes to use the back and forward browser, the same is not possible. The user will be taken to the previous page that the browser loaded but not to the prior state in the application.
Best Approach for Single Page Applications
You can leverage rich internal anchor text links, tags and meta-descriptions by using SPA. You can turn around the SEO issues by identifying the right word, since search engines give higher scores to domains devoted to one theme.
You can also solve the back and forward button with an HTML5 History API. Many modern SPA frameworks are fitted with this API.
SPA or MPA?
There are a few factors that you need to be sure before you choose between SPA and MPA:
For instance, if you have a website like eBay with multiple products, the most rational decision is to make a multiple page application. On the other hand, a website like Facebook, where the user just wants to see updates, a single page application is the way to go.
Developers have gone into battles of words comparing SPAs with the traditional multiple-page approach. Since both, SPAs and MPAs have their pros and cons, the best way to decide the right kind of application is to look at the type and content of the website and choose accordingly.
App-Scoop mobile app developers can help you identify your need and help you guide and build a Multiple Page Application or Single Page Application based on your type of website.
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