We are entering a new era of web applications, as we witness how old traditional desktops are being left behind. The number one benefit of web applications? Installing them doesn’t consume your precious time. Moreover, these apps are easier to use, update and maintain. Don’t forget you don’t have to update them from your side!
There’s no doubt that the demand for web-based applications is growing. According to a recent study, 52.4% of the global web traffic came from mobile devices during the third quarter of 2018.
If you have decided to develop a web-based app, you need to consider the two major types of web applications page designs before proceeding to make your ideas reality. These include the Single-Page Applications and the Multi-Page Applications.
Different projects have different requirements. Let’s start by defining each of these page types and analyse their pros and cons.
Defining the Single-Page Application
A Single-Page Application functions within the browser and it doesn’t need any page reloading during running. In fact, we use the single-page web apps on a daily basis. Don’t Google Maps, Gmail, Facebook, and Instagram sound familiar?
The Benefits of Using Single-Page Applications
The Ability of Caching
The Single-Page Application is efficient enough for caching the local data. It has to send a single request to the server and stores the entire data upon receiving. This data can also be accessed when the user is offline. If there is limited internet access, the user can synchronize the local data with the server.
Single-Page Applications are known for their speed and responsive nature. This means that you do not have to waste your time reloading the page or updating it. The update is only needed for the content.
Moreover, the resources like HTML/CSS/Scripts get uploaded on a lifetime basis. The data is only transmitted from front-end to backend. In fact, according to Google, if a page is taking more than 200 milliseconds to load, the impact on your business will be noticeable.
Single-page Applications are Mobile Friendly
As the number of mobile devices is skyrocketing, your web application’s mobile friendliness is a vital element.
You can develop the app with much ease without code reusability. You just need to adjust the UI layout to the mobile screen. However, multi-page apps require you to rewrite the codes accordingly.
Facility to Debug with Chrome
Benefit of Linear User Experience
With Single-Page Applications, you can be sure you’re going to access the linear user experience. A linear user experience has a clear beginning and a clear the end. It’s highly interactive as it augments the customer’s involvement. The SPA also provides seamless scrolling and the facility of endless clicks.
The Drawbacks of Single-Page Applications
Lacks in SEO
One of the major disadvantages of the Single-Page Application is that it offers poor SEO. For providing the best SEO services, you would have to separate the pages of the web app with fixed content.
Cost of Development
Some people may have the misconception that SPAs are less expensive to develop than MPAs. However, experts tend to believe that both types of apps cost more or less the same.
Problem While Going Back
A user using a Single-Page Application may want to go back and experience problems in doing so. This happens as the browser will take him/her to the previous page and not to the earlier state of the app.
To solve this issue, you can make use of the HTML5 History API that helps developers equip the frameworks.
Concerns Related to Security
Ideal Conditions for SPA
If you develop dynamic apps with small volume of data, you are creating the ideal conditions for using a SPA. This is also suitable for mobile app development and SaaS and social media platforms.
Defining the Multi-Page Application
Do Flipkart or Amazon ring any bells? Think about them if you want to understand one of the best Multi-Page Applications. MPAs consist of several different pages with text and images.
In addition, they have links to other pages and a huge amount of data. Multi-Page Apps are usually developed on HTML and CSS.
The Pros of Multi-Page Application
Advantage of SEO
We saw that SEO was an important disadvantage for the SPAs. However, it proves to be an asset for the Multi-Page Applications, due to the architecture of search engine crawlers. Being able to easily make changes in the content also improves SEO.
No Page Limitations
When you are opting for the MPA, you get access to unlimited pages where you can post your content and display all your products and services freely. You won’t get this facility in the Single-Page Applications.
Information on Analytics
The Multi-Page Applications also offer useful analytics, which indicate the performance of your web apps. But with SPA you can get info only on the number of visitors and the time spent on the app.
Cons of Multi-Page Applications
Slow Speed and Performance
Complex Updates and Maintenance
It’s difficult to maintain and update the pages in MPAs. You have to face the security challenges as well, because your web app contains many sensitive data.
Development is Time Consuming
It takes longer to develop Multi-Page Applications than Single-Page Applications. The server-side needs to be coded from the beginning most of the times.
Due to the close association between the front-end and the backend, you may encounter numerous issue as well. Building the framework for both client and server makes it more time consuming.
When is a MPA a Good Choice?
A Multi-Page Application is highly recommended if you have to showcase a vast variety of products and services and store large amount of data, such as when building an e-commerce app platform. The ideal target audiences would be big enterprises and industries with multiple product menus.
There is a million dollar question you need to answer in the end: What to choose between a Single-Page Application and a Multi-Page Application? Ultimately, your decision depends on your business requirements and target customers.
About the Author: Mehul Rajput is the CEO and co-founder of Mindinventory, one of the leading app development companies that provides web and mobile app solutions for startups and enterprise level companies. Mehul conducts the operations related to business and product delivery as his strategic planning defines the road-map for the future. He’s an avid blogger and writes about mobile technologies, startups and business.