Single Page Applications (SPA) are catching up fast among website users for their fluid experience. But users may be oblivious of the technology because the user is never the one who usually thinks of electricity when turning on a light bulb but the technology enabler. Likewise, it is conducive to know what a Single Page Application is and how they work if the seamless user experience is a top business priority for your web applications.
A single page application (SPA) seamlessly and dynamically loads or updates components, elements, and resources in a web page on a single HTML-based page within the browser as the user is interacting. Single-page applications do not require reloading any page as they run, like in traditional multi-page applications, but gives the user a fluid illusion of a multi-page website.
Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Google Maps, and Pinterest are famous examples of single-page applications. Recall, your browser remains on the same web page in Gmail when you click through emails in your inbox, and you never switch out of the Facebook news feed page when you click on various buttons or you scroll through to view new posts.
Visit https://framian.fi and inspect the page elements using the browser Developer Tools. The HTML page that gets downloaded to your browser is the single page on our website. If you click on the ‘Services’ tab on the home page, you can see that you are staying on the same HTML page, and only parts of the page rerender in response to your request.
But, if you visit the New York Times website, a multi-page application, and click on a news title, you can experience reloading a new HTML page (notice the reload icon on the top-left side in the browser). If you inspect the page with Developer Tools, you can see the browser has now fetched a brand new HTML page and is downloading all the resources such as images needed to view the page to the browser.
We know how to differentiate a SPA, and MPA lets us understand how a Single Page Application is working behind the screen.
Single-page applications interact with the user by dynamically rewriting the DOM elements on the existing HTML page to follow simple steps.
The below diagram illustrates how single-page applications and multi-page applications work differently to user interaction.
|Single Page Applications (SPA)||Multi-Page Applications (MPA)|
|Only one HTML page||Multiple HTML pages|
|Content rerendered on Client||Content rendered on the server|
|Decoupled front-end||Tightly coupled front-end and back-end|
|Highly responsive user experience||Sluggish user experience|
Let us now see what benefits you get by choosing SPAs to build your websites and what considerations you should be careful with when choosing a SPA.
The user does not have to wait for full page reloads every time they click on a navigational link in a SPA because HTML/CSS/Scripts do not traverse back and forth to the server. That saves time as well as bandwidth. So, the user receives requested information faster and smoother.
SPA tools such as Angular, React, and Vue offers features to enable parallax scrolling, transitions, and effects to the application. So, SPAs can give the user a linear and enjoyable experience.
Angular and React frameworks have their debugging tools facilitating easy code debug on Chrome browser.
Upon the application sending a single request to the server, SPA caches all the receiving data efficiently. So, even if you are offline or under a poor connection, SPA can access local data until synchronizing with the server.
Decoupled front-end architecture improves code re-usability. So, SPAs can easily repurpose to build advanced web applications (PWA) and mobile applications (working in all Android, iOS, or Windows OS) without completely rewriting the code.
SPAs are vulnerable to security attacks due to cross-site scripting (XSS) and, as only one web page is loading at the client-side at the entirety of the application’s runtime. So, there is a probability of hacking SPAs by injecting malicious scripts at the client-side. There is also a risk of exposing sensitive data when loading the entire SPA to the user’s device, which developers must not take any chance of even by accident.
SPAs are all about serving an exceptional user experience by replicating the browser’s natural environment. The most compelling reasons for choosing SPAs over traditional CMS like WordPress are their blazing fast speed and the ability to work offline. Furthermore, SPAs deliver a linear user experience by making it easy to navigate through the website and find specific components. They also work great on mobile devices by facilitating convenient and uninterrupted scrolling.
It would be best to consider using SPAs when your application consists of rich user interfaces with many features. They are ideal for developing dynamic websites with small data volumes. Furthermore, a single-page app acts as a perfect base for future mobile app development.
We’ve been huge advocates of SPA sites, and all of our clients have always liked the results. SPA sites allow you to pack impressive functionality into a lightweight application. The superior UX makes SPAs ideal for porting highly interactive desktop applications and creating native-like experiences on the web.
All in all, SPA is an awesome tech. It offers many advantages, and you can easily overcome its few cons (especially with SEO in mind) with a qualified development team.
That’s why Framian recommends going the SPA way for the majority of our new clients.
Contact us here to discuss your needs and how we may create a project like no other.
Co-founder, Framian Oy
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