As mentioned in The Comeback of Scrolling & Single Page Websites, Single Page Applications are useful for storytelling. And with storytelling, a company has an opportunity to create a brand persona by uttering their values and beliefs.
Now, we would like to highlight the main advantages and disadvantages of Single Page Applications. Why are SPAs popular? In which cases are they valuable to use instead of traditional web apps?
The core working process
A hybrid approach
An alternative option for Single Page Application is to use a hybrid approach, which provides SPAs with synthetic pages that uses URL anchors. It is a combined solution that includes the functionality of Multi-Page Application (MPA) and convenient navigation of SPA. Simply said, a hybrid approach utilizes the best features of both worlds (MPA and SPA) to reduce the app’s drawbacks. It is a great opportunity to start simple and gradually add more UI interactions.
Benefits of Single Page Applications
Data & UI separation – communication between SPA and server is supported by JSON REST API, which means that Data and UI are uncomplicated to develop, test and deploy.
Readability & Visuality – SPAs are focused on a visually appealing design. This catches users ́ interest and getting conversions to a website. Engaged customers are returning to your website and more likely to purchase a product/service. Many developers use AngularJS with Visual Studio to develop modern UI. Additionally, Angular Command Line Interface (CLI) helps to automate and perform different challenges during the making process.
Functionality & Ability – simplicity and easy navigation are key features of Single Page Applications. Furthermore, SPAs can be easily transited to mobile apps by reusing the same backend code. The only thing you have to do is, to adjust a UI layout to match the screen of mobile devices. Besides that, there are several mobile development frameworks, for example, Sencha Touch, jQuery Mobile or KendoUI Mobile, which help with difficulties.
Drawbacks of SPAs
Speed of initial load – SPAs have a tendency to load the first page a bit longer. It is caused because a used framework and application code come together before reading the required HTML in the browser. And also, whole site content is loaded just once. Luckily, you can insert open-source analytics integrations into the application and track the loading time. A doubt can appear in managing and securing if everything is being measured precisely.
Thinking about using a SPA for your project?
Let’s sum up, why you should go for a single page application, and what makes it valuable for your future project.
Furthermore, SPAs are the right choice, if you need a functional app. It does not require reloading the whole page when users make an action. They are responsive and offer real-time feel. Additionally, SPAs fit right when you plan to build dynamic platforms with small amount of data to work with.
Do you need to tell your brand/product story? SPAs may be a great opportunity to please your customers, who are hungry for visual content and appealing design.
Be aware, SEO can be an issue in this kind of development. So, if your project needs active search engine optimization, SPAs probably does not work ideally here. Note that, single-page applications also need implementation of features, for example displaying and meaningful URLs for reflecting operations. Lastly, SPAs should consider the browser’s back and forward buttons, which provide users an easy browsing process.
Now you can reevaluate the benefits and possible disadvantages of single-page applications. Before you decide, consider your goals and desired purpose of the app.
Where do SPAs appear in real life?
There are many examples where companies used SPA development to build their applications. We can tell, some of them you are using as well! Facebook, Twitter and Google products (Maps, Calendar, Mail) were made by a single page application approach.
Gmail is a Single Page Application. As you can see a progress bar before loading, which means that it fetches data from the server only once and all the rendering is done on the client-side with calls.