What is a Single Page Application?

Single Page Application

A single-page application is a web application that is completely within the browser and doesn’t require the user to reload the page in order to use. The best example of this is Google’s Gmail. Once you log in and load the e-mail dashboard, you can do everything on that single page, such as read and draft new e-mails. The overall base of the web application stays the same and pieces of the page change dynamically depending on what the user wants to do.

SPAs try to provide the highest level of user experience by providing a seamless environment in the browser where the user does not have to experience page reloads or moving between totally different screens or pages. The user loads one page, and that page then loads all of the different elements of the page that can be changed depending on the user request.

SPA requests the markup and data independently and renders elements directly in the browser. Advanced JavaScript frameworks like AngularJS and ReactJS make this possible. 

Single page applications are a great way to provide a seamless user experience. The user can experience your web application in a simple, dynamic, and easy way.

Pros

  • Speed. SPAs are FAST as most resources are loaded once, since everything is on the same page.
  • Simplified development. Developers don’t have to code to render pages so it is much easier to get development started.
  • Easier for mobile applications. Developers can easily use backend code from the web application for the mobile application.
  • SPAs are great for using local storage effectively. It is effective enough that offline mode is possible.

Cons

  • Difficult to optimize for SEO. Since it is a single page with the elements everchanging, SEO is a tricky and a challenging task as content is loaded using AJAX (a method of updating without refreshing) and SEO is greatly dependent on stable content.
  • memory leaks. since SPAs only load a single page and keep everything on that page, the page may stay open for a long time. This increased chance for memory leaks can cause slow downs in any system.
  • SPAs can be slower. Compared to server side rendering, SPAs are slower because loading and rendering a page with AJAX is slower. 
Conclusion

There are many instances where a single page application is the best way for your web application to run as it provides a great user experience, however, depending on your business, it may not be the right fit. Let InCloud advise you on if a single page application is right for your business.

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