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Web Application Architecture: How the Web Works

  • Engineering
  • 25 Jul, 2019
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What is Web Application Architecture?

  • addresses a particular problem, even if it’s simply finding some information
  • is as interactive as a desktop application
  • has a Content Management System

How does the web request work?

web request-response cycle

Web request-response cycle

Web application architecture components and Three-Tier Architecture

web application architecture

Web application architecture following the three-tier pattern

Presentation layer

Business layer, persistence layer, example #1. dynamic web pages, spas, and mpas, single page applications.

SPA architecture

Single Page Application architecture

Multi-Page Applications

multi-page applications

MPA architecture

Example #2. Enterprise applications

enterprise application architecture

Enterprise application architecture

To conclude

Illustration with collage of pictograms of computer monitor, server, clouds, dots

Three-tier architecture is a well-established software application architecture that organizes applications into three logical and physical computing tiers: the presentation tier, or user interface; the application tier, where data is processed; and the data tier, where application data is stored and managed.

The chief benefit of three-tier architecture is that because each tier runs on its own infrastructure, each tier can be developed simultaneously by a separate development team. And can be updated or scaled as needed without impacting the other tiers.

For decades three-tier architecture was the prevailing architecture for client-server applications. Today, most three-tier applications are targets for modernization that uses cloud-native technologies such as containers and microservices and for migration to the cloud.

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Presentation tier

The presentation tier is the user interface and communication layer of the application, where the end user interacts with the application. Its main purpose is to display information to and collect information from the user. This top-level tier can run on a web browser, as desktop application, or a graphical user interface (GUI), for example. Web presentation tiers are developed by using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Desktop applications can be written in various languages depending on the platform.

Application tier

The application tier, also known as the logic tier or middle tier, is the heart of the application. In this tier, information that is collected in the presentation tier is processed - sometimes against other information in the data tier - using business logic, a specific set of business rules. The application tier can also add, delete, or modify data in the data tier. 

The application tier is typically developed by using Python, Java, Perl, PHP or Ruby, and communicates with the data tier by using  API  calls. 

The data tier, sometimes called database tier, data access tier or back-end, is where the information that is processed by the application is stored and managed. This can be a  relational database management system  such as  PostgreSQL , MySQL, MariaDB, Oracle, Db2, Informix or Microsoft SQL Server, or in a  NoSQL  Database server such as Cassandra,  CouchDB , or  MongoDB . 

In a three-tier application, all communication goes through the application tier. The presentation tier and the data tier cannot communicate directly with one another.

Tier versus layer

In discussions of three-tier architecture,  layer  is often used interchangeably – and mistakenly – for  tier , as in 'presentation layer' or 'business logic layer'. 

They aren't the same. A 'layer' refers to a functional division of the software, but a 'tier' refers to a functional division of the software that runs on infrastructure separate from the other divisions. The Contacts app on your phone, for example, is a  three - layer  application, but a  single-tier  application, because all three layers run on your phone.

The difference is important because layers can't offer the same benefits as tiers.

Again, the chief benefit of three-tier architecture is its logical and physical separation of functionality. Each tier can run on a separate operating system and server platform - for example, web server, application server, database server - that best fits its functional requirements. And each tier runs on at least one dedicated server hardware or virtual server, so the services of each tier can be customized and optimized without impacting the other tiers. 

Other benefits (compared to single- or two-tier architecture) include:

  • Faster development : Because each tier can be developed simultaneously by different teams, an organization can bring the application to market faster. And programmers can use the latest and best languages and tools for each tier.
  • Improved scalability : Any tier can be scaled independently of the others as needed.
  • Improved reliability : An outage in one tier is less likely to impact the availability or performance of the other tiers.
  • Improved security : Because the presentation tier and data tier can't communicate directly, a well-designed application tier can function as an internal firewall, preventing SQL injections and other malicious exploits.

In web development, the tiers have different names but perform similar functions:

  • The web server  is the presentation tier and provides the user interface. This is usually a web page or website, such as an ecommerce site where the user adds products to the shopping cart, adds payment details or creates an account. The content can be static or dynamic, and is developed using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  • The application server  corresponds to the middle tier, housing the business logic that is used to process user inputs. To continue the ecommerce example, this is the tier that queries the inventory database to return product availability, or adds details to a customer's profile. This layer often developed using Python, Ruby, or PHP and runs a framework such as Django, Rails, Symphony, or ASP.NET.
  • The database server  is the data or backend tier of a web application. It runs on database management software, such as MySQL, Oracle, DB2, or PostgreSQL.

While three-tier architecture is easily the most widely adopted multitier application architecture, there are others that you might encounter in your work or your research.

Two-tier architecture 

Two-tier architecture is the original client-server architecture, consisting of a presentation tier and a data tier; the business logic lives in the presentation tier, the data tier or both. In two-tier architecture the presentation tier - and therefore the end user - has direct access to the data tier, and the business logic is often limited. A simple contact management application, where users can enter and retrieve contact data, is an example of a two-tier application. 

N-tier architecture

N-tier architecture - also called or multitier architecture - refers to  any  application architecture with more than one tier. But applications with more than three layers are rare because extra layers offer few benefits and can make the application slower, harder to manage and more expensive to run. As a result, n-tier architecture and multitier architecture are usually synonyms for three-tier architecture.

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How to Create a Modern Web Application Architecture?


Creating a modern web application architecture is crucial for businesses to remain competitive and meet the growing demands of users. A well-designed architecture ensures flexibility, scalability, maintainability, security, and high performance.

As an experienced web development company, Integrio will provide an overview of the architecture components, layers, types, and best practices. We will also share success stories from clients like 123Signup, Volo Innovations, and CareOregon.

What Is Web Application Architecture?

Web application architecture refers to the structural design and organization of the client-side and server-side components. It typically comprises multiple layers that work together to provide a complete solution to the end users.

While constructing a modern web application architecture, consider scalability, reliability, security, and maintainability.

How Do Modern Web Applications Work?

We prepared a simplified description of how web solutions typically work:

The user opens a web browser and enters the URL for the web application.

The browser sends an HTTP request to the server hosting the web application.

The server receives the request and uses the appropriate server-side component to process the request.

The server-side component retrieves data from a database and generates an appropriate response.

The response is sent back to the browser as an HTTP response.

The browser receives the response and uses the appropriate client-side components (such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) to render the response as a user interface.

The user interacts with the user interface, triggering additional HTTP requests to the server.

The server receives each request and processes it using the appropriate server-side component.

The server generates an appropriate response and sends it back to the browser as an HTTP response.

The browser receives the response and updates the user interface accordingly.

The process continues until the user completes their web application task.

Components of Web Application Architecture

The web application has two sides — front-end and back-end.

The front-end is part of a web application that ' s visible and accessible to the user and includes user interface (UI) elements, such as buttons, forms, and menus.

The back-end is part of a web application that runs on the server. It typically consists of the server and the database.

Components of Web Application Architecture

Let ' s discuss the components of modern web application architecture and their functions.

User Interface (UI)

The UI is the web application component that interacts with the user, displays the content, and receives input. It can be implemented using various technologies, such as:

HTML — to structure the web page ' s content

CSS — to style the page and make it visually appealing

JavaScript — to add interactivity and functionality to the UI

Good UI design involves understanding the user ' s needs and preferences, organizing the UI elements logically and intuitively, and making the application easy to use and navigate.

The web server handles incoming client requests and sends back responses. It hosts the web application and serves HTML pages, images, and other static content. It also manages connections, sessions, and cookies and implements security mechanisms, such as SSL/TLS encryption, to protect against attacks.

Popular web servers: Apache, Nginx, Microsoft IIS, and Google Web Server.

Database Server

The database server stores and manages data for the web application. Its functions include creating, updating, deleting, and querying data, ensuring its integrity and security.

To improve the performance of web applications, database servers use caching and indexing techniques. They also implement backup and recovery mechanisms to protect against data loss and ensure its availability in the event of a failure.

Popular database servers: MySQL, Oracle, and MongoDB.

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a critical component of web application architecture. It translates human-readable domain names (such as into IP addresses (such as that computers can understand.

Its main function is to provide a way for users to access web resources using easy-to-remember domain names while facilitating communication between web servers and clients.

Messaging Middleware

Messaging middleware enables communication between different software components or systems, allowing them to exchange messages and data with each other. It can handle a variety of communication patterns, such as point-to-point, publish-subscribe, and request-response.

Popular messaging middleware solutions: Apache Kafka, RabbitMQ, and ActiveMQ.

Load Balancer

A load balancer distributes incoming traffic across multiple servers to optimize resource utilization, maximize throughput, and minimize response time. As a result, it improves the performance and reliability of the web application.

Popular load balancers: HAProxy, NGINX, and F5.

The cache is an infrastructure component that stores frequently accessed data or resources in a fast-access memory or storage location. Its primary purpose is to improve performance and scalability.

Popular caching solutions: Redis, Memcached, and Varnish.

The Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a network of globally distributed servers that delivers content to users from the server closest to them. It improves the performance and availability of the web application by reducing latency and network congestion.

Popular CDNs: Cloudflare, Akamai, and Amazon CloudFront.

There are several models of web application components, including the client-server, peer-to-peer, and the hybrid model.

Web Application Architecture Diagram

This diagram will help you visualize the application architecture by combining everything we discussed:

Web Application Architecture Diagram

Layers of Web App Architecture

Layers of Web App Architecture

Here is a description of the four layers of a modern web app architecture:

Presentation Layer

The presentation layer manages the app user interface, dealing with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It also receives user input and sends it to the business layer for processing, interacting through APIs or interfaces. The presentation layer typically includes web components such as controllers, views, and templates.

Business Layer

The business (or application) layer handles the web application ' s business logic. It contains controllers, services, and models responsible for performing the necessary actions to fulfill user requests. The business layer interacts with the data access layer to retrieve or manipulate data as needed.

Data Access Layer

The data access (or persistence) layer translates application data into a format that can be stored and retrieved from a data store. It contains the components that interact with the database, such as data access objects (DAOs), object-relational mappers (ORMs), and stored procedures.

Database Layer

The database layer includes the database management system (DBMS) and the data stored in the database. This layer stores data in a structured format that can be easily queried and manipulated by the data access layer.

Here is an algorithmic representation of how the layers work together:

The user interacts with the presentation layer by providing input through the user interface.

The presentation layer receives the user input and sends it to the business layer.

The business layer processes the user input, performs the necessary actions, and retrieves or updates data through the data access layer.

The data access layer retrieves or updates data from the database layer and sends it back to the business layer.

The business layer processes the retrieved data and generates a response to the presentation layer.

The presentation layer receives the response from the business layer and updates the user interface accordingly.

The process repeats as the user provides further input or navigates through the application.

Types of Web Application Architecture

When it comes to designing and developing web applications, there are different types of architectures to choose from.

Single-Page Applications (SPAs)

In SPAs, the web application loads only once and then dynamically updates the content as the user interacts. The data is loaded asynchronously through APIs, making it more responsive and reducing the server ' s load. This architecture is suitable for applications that require a lot of user interaction and real-time data updates.

Examples: Gmail, Trello, Spotify, and Twitter.

Single-Page Applications (SPAs)

Server-Side Rendered Application (SSR)

In SSR, the server generates HTML pages for each request, and the client only receives the final result. This architecture is suitable for applications that require fast loading times and good SEO, but it can be slower than SPAs.

Examples: WordPress, Airbnb, Shopify.

Server-Side Rendered Application (SSR)

Progressive web application (PWA)

A PWA behaves like a native mobile application, with features like offline access, push notifications, and full-screen mode. This architecture is suitable for solutions that need to be accessible on mobile devices and have the same user experience as native applications.

Examples: Starbucks, Pinterest, Forbes, Uber, and Twitter Lite.

Progressive web application (PWA)


In a microservices architecture, the backend is divided into small, independent services that communicate with each other through APIs. Each service is responsible for a specific function: authentication, payments, or messaging. This highly scalable architecture allows for more granular control over individual components but can be complex to manage.

Examples: Netflix, Amazon, Uber, and Airbnb.


Serverless Architecture

In this architecture, the backend is built using cloud-based solutions, such as AWS or Azure. Each function is responsible for tasks like registering users or sending email notifications. It is highly scalable and cost-effective but difficult to manage and debug.

Examples: Coca-Cola, Capital One, The New York Times, and Fender.

Serverless Architecture

Precise Web Application Architecture Best Practices

Working on web app architecture, developers need to consider a range of factors:

Scalability — to handle increasing loads and scale horizontally or vertically

Modularity — to provide easy testing, modifications, and bug fixes

Security — to protect sensitive data and prevent unauthorized access

Performance — to guarantee a responsive and fast user experience

Availability — to ensure the application is available even during failures

Extensibility — to allow for future changes and updates

Standardization — to ensure consistency and ease of maintenance

Flexibility — to adapt to changing requirements and improvements over time

Documentation — to improve collaboration, reduce errors, and simplify maintenance

Why Integrio Is the Trusted Modern Web App Architecture Service Vendor

Integrio is a reliable modern web application architecture vendor with:

20 years of experience in developing web apps for startups, small and mid-sized companies, and enterprises

Expertise in various industries, including aviation, transportation, manufacturing, real estate, telecommunications, digital marketing, health, and fitness

Cutting-edge technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

Flexible cooperation and pricing models: project outsourcing (fixed price, time & material) and dedicated team (monthly retainer)

See the specific cases our company worked on:

For Volo Innovations , we developed software for managing gyms and fitness centers. Its functionality includes scheduling, invoicing, marketing activities, reporting, and more. The company was later acquired by Member Solutions, a subsidiary of Jonas Software, and the source code has successfully passed an independent audit for scalability and security.

US health insurance provider CareOregon conducted a member satisfaction survey. Our task was to create a program that could structure a huge amount of data and display it in the form of diagrams and tables. Such a platform had to be safe and reliable. As a result, the company increased its revenues and improved overall customer satisfaction and even can track its level in real time.

Collaboration with 123Signup started with the source code recovery and modernization of the legacy components of their event and association management solution. We also added modules for membership, event planning, and donations, as well as reporting and analytics. It helped clients improve their experience and run events with fewer staff.

Modern web application architecture is essential for creating scalable, secure, and maintainable solutions. By following best practices and choosing the appropriate components, layers, and types of architecture, developers can create applications that meet clients ' business needs and provide a seamless user experience.

Contact Integrio to learn how we can help you create an advanced web app with modern architecture.

What is a modern web app architecture?

A modern web application architecture is a software design approach that leverages cloud computing and microservices to build scalable, flexible, and efficient web applications. It also includes infrastructure components like containerization, load balancing, and caching.

How to create a modern web app architecture?

First, you need to understand the requirements of your application and select the appropriate technologies and infrastructure components to meet those needs. This involves careful planning, collaboration between development and operations teams, and a focus on scalability, security, and efficiency.

What should I consider when choosing web application architecture for my project?

To evaluate modern web app architecture, you must consider scalability, security, performance, and complexity. It ' s important to analyze your specific requirements, such as the number of users, the complexity of your application, and your budget. Consulting with Integrio experts can also be helpful.

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What Is Web Application Architecture? Breaking Down a Web App

Web Application Architecture

The world has moved to the internet, and web applications have become the new workplaces and commercial stores. To accommodate the variety of purposes that modern web apps serve, each of them needs to be designed for high performance and customizability.

Web application architectures solve this problem. Web application architecture defines how the various components of a web-based application are structured. This architecture is highly specific to the nature and the purpose of the web application. Choosing the wrong architecture for your web app can wreak havoc on your business.

In this guide, we will break down the concept of web application architecture and understand how it affects the end-user experience of your application. Towards the end, we will also look at some of the best practices you can implement to get the most out of your web application.

What Is Web Application Architecture?

To kick off the discussion, let’s start with the definition of web application architecture.

In simple words, web application architecture is an outline of how various components of your web app interact with each other.

It can be as simple as defining the relationship between the client and the server. It can also be as complex as defining the inter-relations between a swarm of containerized backend servers, load balancers, API gateways, and user-facing single-page frontends.

That said, it’s rarely about choosing the programming language in which you will write your code.

How you design your web app plays a key role in both its usability and your cost optimization. Here’s what a sample web app architecture looks like on paper:

Components diagram of a recommender web app showing how various components such as clients, database instances, services, etc., interact with each other.

Why Is Web Application Architecture Important?

Web application architecture is, without a doubt, one of the most important parts of your web application. If you choose to develop your web app with a specific architecture in mind, you are certain to receive many benefits when it comes to maintaining and growing your application.

However, choosing the right architecture amplifies these benefits further.

Here are some of the top reasons you should seriously consider adopting a web application architecture.

Adapting To Business Needs Easily

Your app is a key gateway to your business, and business needs evolve with the changing market. To keep up, you’ll want your app to be flexible enough to adapt to your changing business needs. And if you build an app without considering built-in flexibility, you’re bound to spend increasing amounts of time and effort making tiny adjustments in your app down the line.

The right web application architecture already accounts for some of the changes that your business might need in the future. For instance, if you know you’re building an ecommerce application that will scale and cater a wide range of services to a large number of customers one day, choosing a microservices architecture over a monolithic one would provide you with more flexibility.

On the other hand, if you’re building an internal app for your company with only one or two fixed requirements, you can opt for a simpler monolith to speed up development and keep your codebase clean.

Organized Development

As we mentioned earlier, the right web app architecture provides you with a more convenient roadmap for development. Architecture provides enough modularity in your system to isolate components as necessary, and you get the freedom to choose the right project structure for each of your modules and components as necessary.

If you dive into app development without an architecture in mind, you risk wasting time and money re-organizing your components and laying out new rules to help facilitate collaboration between your team members — time and money which could have otherwise been spent elsewhere.

Better Codebase Management

Apart from writing your app’s code, you’ll also spend a considerable amount of time managing it. Organizing your project files, breaking your app down into modules, and setting up custom pipelines are just a few of the tasks that require active maintenance to ensure smooth development.

The right web app architecture makes it easy for you to make changes. You get to implement component-specific best practices, separate your app’s pain points from one another, and keep each feature independent and loosely coupled. It’s not that these things can’t be done without architecture; it’s just that the right architecture makes all of it much simpler.

Following a pre-defined architecture also makes it easy for you to develop your applications faster. The right architecture combined with a sound version control strategy can enable your developers to work in parallel with each other and build features faster.

A web app architecture also future-proofs your application. Once you define a solid strategy around how to organize your app’s components, you can easily migrate those components to newer technologies one by one without having to redo your entire application.

Enhanced Security

Most web app architectures factor in security when structuring components. Developers can plan, ahead of time, the measures and practices to implement to improve the app’s security before it’s rolled out to the users.

For example, building an OTT video streaming app that offers both paid and free content using microservices makes more sense as the microservices architecture enables you to split your app into business-friendly components, such as user authentication and free or paid content streaming. If your user authentication module ever goes down, you can easily configure your app to restrict access to the paid content module until auth is up while the free content module is still available to your users.

In an alternate case where this same app was designed as a tightly-coupled monolith, a downed authentication service would mean either a downed application or paid content being made available for free — outcomes you’ll want to avoid at all costs.

How Does Web Application Architecture Work?

Before we talk about how web application architecture works, it’s important to understand how a simple website works:

  • The user enters your app’s URL in the browser’s address bar or clicks on a link.
  • The browser looks the URL up in the DNS servers and identifies the IP address of your app.
  • The browser sends an HTTP request to your app.
  • Your app responds with the correct content (usually a webpage).
  • The browser renders the webpage on the screen.

If you were to dive a little deeper, here’s how a web app would handle a request:

  • The user sends a request to your app via your frontend user interface.
  • If you have a relevant cache set up, the app would first check it to see if it has a valid record that can be sent back to the client directly. If yes, the cached content will be sent back, and the request will be marked as completed.
  • If there’s no cache, the request is forwarded to the load balancer.
  • The load balancer identifies a server instance that is available to handle the request and forwards it.
  • The server instance processes the request and calls any external APIs if needed.
  • Once the results are collected at one place, the server sends back the response to the load balancer.
  • The load balancer returns the response to the API gateway, which in turn sends it down to the user in the frontend client. The request is then marked as completed.

Types of Web Application Architecture

Now that you have a basic idea of what web application architecture is let’s take a detailed look at some of the popular types of web application architecture used throughout the web.

Single-Page Architecture

The architecture for a single-page application (SPA) is as simple as its name: The entire application is based on a single page. Once the user pulls up your app, they do not need to navigate to any other web pages. The app is made dynamic enough to fetch and render screens that meet users’ requirements as they navigate through the app itself.

SPAs are great when it comes to providing a fast and seamless experience to end-users or consumers. However, they lack the touch of a traditional website, and they can be difficult to optimize for SEO .

Pros of SPA Architecture

Some of the pros of SPA architecture include:

  • You can build highly interactive web apps.
  • SPAs are easy to scale.
  • Optimizing SPAs for performance does not require much effort.

Cons of SPA Architecture

A few of the drawbacks of SPA architecture are:

  • SPAs limit the flexibility with hyperlinks and SEO.
  • The initial render is usually slow.
  • Navigation through the app can be unintuitive.

Progressive Web Application Architecture

The Progressive Web Application (PWA) architecture builds on top of the Single Page Architecture by providing offline capabilities for your web app. Technologies such as Capacitor and Ionic are used to build PWAs that can provide users with a uniform experience across platforms.

Similar to SPAs, PWAs are smooth and seamless. With the added ability of being installed on user devices (via service workers), your users get a more uniform experience with your application.

At the same time, it can be tough to optimize such apps for SEO, and updates on installed apps can be difficult to push.

Pros of PWA Architecture

There are many benefits of PWA architecture, including:

  • Apps run very smoothly and offer cross-platform compatibility.
  • Scalability is simple.
  • Offline access and device-native APIs such as background workers and push notifications are accessible to developers.

Cons of PWA Architecture

Some of the cons of PWA architecture can include:

  • There is limited support for link management and SEO.
  • Pushing updates to offline PWAs is more complex than with native apps.
  • There is limited support for PWAs across web browsers and operating systems.

Server-side-rendered Architecture

In server-side rendering (SSR), frontend web pages are rendered on a backend server after they are requested by the user. This helps to reduce the load on the client device as it receives a static HTML, CSS, and JS webpage.

SSR apps are very popular among blogs and ecommerce websites. This is because they make link management and SEO quite simple. Also, the first render for SSR apps is quite fast since the client isn’t required to process any JS code to render the screens.

Pros of SSR Architecture

Some of the pros of SSR architecture are listed below:

  • These apps are great for SEO-heavy websites.
  • The first-page load is nearly instant in most cases.
  • You can pair it up with a caching service to further improve your app’s performance.

Cons of SSR Architecture

A few drawbacks to using SSR architecture include:

  • It is not recommended for complex or heavy web pages since the server can take time to fully generate the page resulting in a delayed first render.
  • It is mostly recommended for apps that do not focus much on the user interface and are only looking for increased scalability or security.

Pre-rendered Applications Architecture

Pre-rendered applications architecture is also known as static site generation architecture. In this architecture, the frontend web pages of the app are pre-generated and stored as plain HTML, CSS, and JS files on the server. Once a user requests for a page, it is directly fetched and shown to them. This makes the web app very fast, with minimal load times of any type. However, this architecture adds to the built time of the app since the web pages are rendered during the build process.

Pre-rendered web apps are great for when you are looking to generate static content such as blogs or product details that don’t change often. You can also make use of templates to simplify your web page design. However, it is nearly impossible to build dynamic web apps with this architecture. If you are looking to build a search page that takes the query in its path (something like ), you are in the wrong place.

Since each possible route of the app is pre-rendered during the build process, it is impossible to have dynamic routes as above since there are infinite possibilities that can not be pre-rendered during the build (and it doesn’t make sense to do so either).

Pros of Pre-rendered Architecture

A few of the top benefits of pre-rendered applications architecture are:

  • Web pages are generated in pure HTML, CSS, and JS; hence their performance is similar to that of apps built using vanilla JS.
  • If you know your app’s all possible routes, SEO becomes super easy.

Cons of Pre-rendered Architecture

As with any architectural model, pre-rendered has its share of drawbacks:

  • Dynamic content can not be served with these apps.
  • Making any change to the web app means completely rebuilding and deploying the app from scratch.

Isomorphic Application Architecture

Isomorphic apps are those that are a mixture of server-side-rendered apps and SPAs. This means that such apps are first rendered on the server as a normal server-side-rendered app. Once they are received by the client, the app hydrates itself and attaches the virtual DOM for faster and more efficient client processing. This essentially turns the app into a single-page application.

Isomorphic brings the best of both worlds together. You get super-fast processing and user interface on the client, thanks to the SPA. You also get quick initial render and full-fledged SEO and linking support, thanks to the server-side rendering.

Pros of Isomorphic Architecture

Here are just some of the benefits to using isomorphic application architecture:

  • Isomorphic apps have super quick initial render and full support for SEO.
  • These apps also perform well on the client since they turn into a SPA after loading.

Cons of Isomorphic Architecture

Some of the cons of isomorphic application architecture can be:

  • Setting up such an app requires skilled talent.
  • Options of tech stack are limited when it comes to designing an isomorphic app. You only get to choose from a handful of (mostly) JS-based libraries and frameworks.

Service-oriented Architecture

The service-oriented architecture is among the most popular alternatives to the traditional monolith way of building apps. In this architecture, the web apps are broken down into services that represent a functional unit of business each. These services are loosely coupled together and interact with each other via the medium of message passing.

Service-oriented architecture adds stability and scalability to your application tech stack. However, the size of services in SOA is not clearly defined and is usually tied to business components, not technical components; hence maintenance can sometimes be an issue.

Pros of Service-oriented Architecture

The main benefits of service-oriented architecture include:

  • This architecture helps to build highly scalable and reliable apps.
  • Components are reusable and are shared to enhance development and maintenance efforts.

Cons of Service-oriented Architecture

Here’s a list of potential drawbacks to using service-oriented architecture:

  • SOA apps are still not 100% flexible since the size and scope of each service are not fixed. There can be services the size of enterprise applications that can be difficult to maintain.
  • Component sharing introduces dependencies between services.

Microservices Architecture

The microservices architecture was designed to solve the issues with the service-oriented architecture. Microservices are even more modular components that fit together to build a web app. However, microservices focus on keeping each component small and with a bounded context. Bounded context essentially means that each microservice has its code and data coupled together with minimal dependencies on other microservices.

The microservices architecture is probably the best architecture to build apps that aim to scale to thousands and millions of users someday. Each component is resilient, scalable, and easy to maintain. However, maintaining the DevOps lifecycle for a microservices-based app requires additional efforts; hence it might not suit well for smaller use-cases.

Pros of Microservices Architecture

Some pros of microservices architecture include:

  • App components are highly modular, independent, and can be re-used to a greater extent than those of the service-oriented architecture.
  • Each component can be scaled independently to meet varying user traffic.
  • Microservices-based apps are highly fault-tolerant.

Cons of Microservices Architecture

A drawback of microservices architecture can be:

  • For smaller projects, the microservices architecture might require too much effort to maintain.

Serverless Architecture

The serverless architecture is another hot entrant in the world of web app architectures. This architecture focuses on breaking down your application in terms of the functions that it is supposed to carry out. Then these functions are hosted on FaaS (Function-as-a-Service) platforms as functions that are invoked as and when requests come in.

Unlike most other architectures on this list, apps built using the serverless architecture do not stay running all the time. They behave just like functions would do — wait for being called, and upon being called, run the defined process and return a result. Due to this nature, they cut down on maintenance costs and are highly scalable without much effort. However, it is difficult to carry out long-running tasks using such components.

Pros of Serverless Architecture

Here are the key benefits of serverless architecture:

  • Serverless apps are highly and easily scalable. They can even adapt to the incoming traffic in real-time to reduce the load on your infrastructure.
  • Such apps can make use of the pay-per-use pricing model of serverless platforms to reduce infrastructure costs.
  • Serverless apps are quite easy to build and deploy since all you have to do is write a function and host it on a platform like Firebase functions, AWS Lambda, etc.

Cons of Serverless Architecture

Below are some of the drawbacks to serverless architecture:

  • Long-running tasks can be costly to do on such an architecture.
  • When a function receives a request after a long time, it is known as a cold start. Cold starts are slow and can provide a bad experience to your end-user.

Layers of Web Application Architecture

While web application architectures that you saw above might all look quite different from each other, their components can be logically grouped together into definite layers that help achieve a business goal.

Presentation Layer

The presentation layer accounts for everything in a web app that’s exposed to the end-users. Primarily, the presentation layer is composed of the frontend client. However, it also incorporates any logic that you have written on your backend to make your frontend dynamic. This gives you the room to serve your users with UI custom-tailored to their profile and requirements.

Three fundamental technologies are used to build this layer: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. HTML lays out your frontend, CSS styles it, and JS puts life into it (i.e., controls its behavior when users interact with it). On top of these three technologies, you can use any kind of framework to help make your development easy. Some common frontend frameworks include Laravel , React, NextJS, Vue, GatsbyJS, etc.

Business Layer

The business layer is responsible for holding and managing your app’s working logic. It is usually a backend service that accepts requests from the client and processes them. It controls what the user can access and determines how the infrastructure is utilized to serve user requests.

In the case of a hotel booking app, your client app serves as a portal for users to type hotel names and other relevant data. However, as soon as the user clicks on the search button, the business layer receives the request and kicks off the logic for looking for available hotel rooms that match your requirements. The client then just receives a list of hotel rooms without any knowledge of how this list was generated or even why the list items are arranged in the way that they have been sent.

The presence of such a layer ensures that your business logic is not exposed to your client and, ultimately, users. Isolating the business logic helps immensely in sensitive operations such as handling payments or managing health records.

Persistence Layer

The persistence layer is responsible for controlling access to your data stores. This acts as an added layer of abstraction between your datastores and your business layer. It receives all data-related calls from the business layers and processes them by making secure connections to the database.

This layer usually consists of a database server . You can set this layer yourself by provisioning a database and a database server in your on-prem infrastructure or opt for a remote/managed solution by one of the leading cloud infrastructure providers like AWS, GCP, Microsoft Azure, etc.

Web Application Components

Now that you understand what goes into a web application architecture let’s take a detailed look into each of the components that compose a web app. We’ll group this discussion into two major headings — server-side components and client-side components, or backend and frontend components.

Server-side Components

Server-side components are those that reside on the backend of your web application. These are not exposed directly to the users and hold the most important business logic and resources for your web app.

DNS & Routing

DNS is responsible for controlling how your app is exposed to the web. DNS records are used by HTTP clients, which could be a browser as well, to find and send requests to your app’s components. DNS is also used by your frontend clients internally to resolve the location of your web servers and API endpoints to send requests and process user operations.

Load balancing is another popular component of web application architecture. A load balancer is used to distribute HTTP requests between multiple identical web servers. The intent behind having multiple web servers is to maintain redundancy that helps increase fault tolerance as well as distribute traffic to maintain high performance.

API endpoints are used to expose backend services to the frontend application. These help to facilitate communication between the client and the server, and sometimes even between multiple servers as well.

Data Storage

Data storage is a crucial part of most modern applications as there are always some app data that needs to be persisted across user sessions. Data storage is of two types:

  • Databases: Databases are used to store data for fast access. Usually, they support storing a small amount of data that is regularly accessed by your application.
  • Data Warehouses: Data warehouses are meant for the preservation of historical data. These are usually not needed very often in the app but are processed regularly to generate business insights.

Caching is an optional feature often implemented in web app architectures to serve content faster to the users. A large portion of app content is often repetitive for some amount of time, if not always. Instead of accessing it from a data store and processing it before sending it back to the user, it is often cached. Here are the two most popular types of caching used across web applications:

  • Data caching: Data caching introduces a way for your app to easily and quickly access regularly used data that does not change often. Technologies such as Redis and Memcache enable caching data to save on expensive database queries just to retrieve the same data again and again.
  • Web page caching: A CDN (Content Delivery Network) caches web pages the same way as Redis caches data. Similar to how only data that does not change often is cached, usually only static web pages are recommended to be cached. For server-side-rendered web apps, caching does not do much good since their content is supposed to be highly dynamic.

Jobs and Services

Apart from exposing an interface to users (frontend) and handling their requests (backend), there is another slightly less popular category of web app components. Jobs are often background services that are meant to complete tasks that are not time-sensitive or synchronous.

CRON jobs are those that are run on a fixed time period again and again. These jobs are scheduled on the backend to run maintenance routines automatically at set times. Some common example use-cases for these include deleting duplicates/old records from the database, sending out reminder emails to customers, etc.

Client-Side Components

Client-side components are those that are exposed to your users either directly or indirectly.

There are mainly two types of components in this category.

Frontend User Interface

The user interface is the visual aspect of your application. It is what your users see and interact with in order to access your services.

The frontend interface is mostly built on three popular technologies: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript . The frontend user interface can be an application in itself with its own software development life cycle.

These user interfaces don’t house a lot of your business logic since they’re exposed directly to your users. If a malicious user tries to reverse engineer your frontend application, they can get information on how your business works and carry out illegal activities like brand impersonation and data theft.

Also, since the frontend user interface is exposed directly to users, you’ll want to optimize it for minimal loading time and responsiveness. Sometimes this can help you provide a better experience to your users, thereby increasing your business growth.

Client-Side Business Logic

Sometimes you might need to store some business logic on your client in order to perform simpler operations quickly. Client-side logic that usually resides inside your frontend application can help you skip the trip to the server and provide your users with a faster experience.

This is an optional feature of the client-side components. In some cases, the app’s business logic is stored entirely on the client-side (especially when building without a traditional backend server ). Modern solutions such as BaaS help you access common operations such as authentication, data storage, file storage, etc., on the go in your frontend app.

There are ways to obfuscate or minify this code before rolling it out to your users to minimize the chances of reverse-engineering.

Models of Web Application Components

There are multiple models of web application architectures, each based on how web servers connect to their data stores.

One Server, One Database

The simplest model of all is one web server connecting to one database instance. Such a model is easy to implement and maintain, and going to production with it is also fairly effortless.

Due to its simplicity, this model is suitable for learning and for small experimental applications that will not be exposed to high traffic. Novice developers can easily set up and tinker with these apps to learn the fundamentals of web app development .

However, this model shouldn’t be used in production since it’s highly unreliable. An issue in either the server or the database can result in downtime and lost business.

Multiple Servers, One Database

This model takes the application up a notch by setting up multiple servers for redundancy with a single common database instance.

Since multiple web servers access the database simultaneously, inconsistency issues can occur. To avoid that, the web servers are designed to be stateless. This means the servers don’t retain data across sessions; they merely process it and store it in the database.

Apps made using this model are certainly more reliable than those with the previous model, as the presence of multiple web servers adds to the fault tolerance of the web app. However, since the database is still one common instance, it is the weakest link in the architecture and can be a source of failure.

Multiple Servers, Multiple Databases

This model is one of the most common, traditional models of designing web applications.

In this case, deploy your application logic as multiple identical web server instances clubbed together behind a load balancer. Your data store is also maintained across multiple database instances for added fault tolerance.

You can also choose to split your database among the available instances to enhance performance or maintain duplicates of the entire data store for redundancy. In either case, failure in any one instance of your database will not lead to a complete application outage.

This model is highly appreciated for its reliability and scalability. However, developing and maintaining apps using this model is relatively complicated and requires costly, seasoned developers . As such, this model is only suggested when you’re building on a large scale.

App Services

While the three models mentioned above are well suited to monolithic applications, there’s another model for modular applications.

The application services model breaks down an app into smaller modules based on business functionality. These modules could be as small as a function or as large as a service.

The idea here is to make each business feature independent and scalable. Each of these modules can connect to the database on its own. You can even have dedicated database instances to match your module’s scalability needs.

Among non-monolithic apps, this model is quite popular. Legacy monoliths are often migrated to this model to make use of its scalability and modularity benefits. However, managing apps built on such a model often requires seasoned developers , especially experience in DevOps and CI/CD.

Best Practices for Web Application Architecture

Here are some best practices you can implement in your web application project to get the most out of your chosen web app architecture.

1. Make Your Frontend Responsive

This can’t be stressed enough: Always aim for responsive frontends . No matter how huge and complex your web app internally is, it’s all exposed to your users via frontend web pages, apps, and screens.

If your users find these screens to be unintuitive or slow, they won’t stick around long enough to view and admire the engineering marvel that is your web app.

Therefore, designing accessible, easy-to-use, lightweight frontends is very important.

There are ample UI/UX best practices available around the web to help you understand what works best for your users. You can find professionals skilled at making user-friendly designs and architectures that can enable your users to get the most out of your apps.

We advise giving serious thought to your frontend’s responsiveness before rolling out your product to your users.

2. Monitor Load Times

Apart from being easy to understand, your frontends also need to be quick to load .

According to Portent , the highest ecommerce conversion rates occur on pages with load times between 0–2 seconds, and according to Unbounce , around 70% of consumers admit that page loading time is an important factor in their choice to purchase from an online seller.

When designing mobile-native applications, you can’t usually be certain of your users’ device specifications. Any device that doesn’t meet your app’s requirements is typically declared to not support the app.

However, this is quite different with the web.

When it comes to web applications, your users could be using anything from the latest Apple Macbook M1 Pros to vintage Blackberry and Nokia phones to view your app. Optimizing your frontend experience for such a wide range of users can be tough at times.

Services like LightHouse and Google PageSpeed come to mind when talking about frontend performance. You should use such tools to benchmark your frontend app before deploying it in production. Most such tools provide you with a list of actionable tips to help improve your app’s performance as much as possible.

The final 5–10% of the app’s performance is usually specific to your use case and can only be fixed by somebody who knows your app and its technologies well. It never hurts to invest in web performance !

3. Prefer PWA Wherever Possible

As discussed earlier, PWAs are the designs of the future. They can fit most use cases well, and they provide the most uniform experience across major platforms.

You should consider using PWA for your app as frequently as possible. The native experience across web and mobile is hugely impactful for your users and can reduce a lot of your own workload as well.

PWAs are also fast to load, easy to optimize, and quick to build. Opting for PWAs can help you shift a lot of your focus from development to business early on.

Keep Your Codebase Clean and Succinct

A clean codebase can help you spot and resolve most issues before they cause damage. Here are some tips you can follow to ensure that your codebase isn’t causing you any more trouble than it should.

  • Focus on code reuse: Maintaining copies of the same code throughout your codebase is not only redundant, but it can also cause discrepancies to creep in, making your codebase difficult to maintain. Always focus on re-using code wherever possible.
  • Plan your project structure: Software projects can grow very large with time. If you don’t begin with a planned structure of code organization and resources, you might end up spending more time finding files than writing useful code.
  • Write unit tests: Every piece of code has a chance of breaking. Testing all of it manually is not feasible, so you need a fixed strategy for automating tests for your codebase. Test runners and code coverage tools can help you identify if your unit testing efforts are yielding the desired results.
  • High modularity: When writing code, always focus on modularity. Writing code that is tightly coupled to other pieces of code makes it difficult to test, re-use, and alter when needed.

5. Automate Your CI/CD Processes

CI/CD stands for Continuous Integration/ Continuous Deployment . CI/CD processes are crucial to the development of your application as they help you to build, test, and deploy your project with ease.

However, you don’t want to have to run them manually each time. You should instead set up pipelines that trigger automatically based on your project’s activities. For instance, you could set up a pipeline that runs your tests automatically whenever you commit your code to your version control system . There are plenty of more complex use cases, too, such as generating cross-platform artifacts from your code repository whenever a release is created.

The possibilities are endless, so it’s up to you to figure out how you can make the most out of your CI/CD pipelines.

6. Incorporate Security Features

Most modern apps are made of multiple components. Take the following app as an example:

Components diagram of a serverless web app showing how various components like API gateway, external APIs, and services interact with each other.

Client requests are routed to the app through an API gateway. While this one currently only allows direct requests to the home module of the app, in the future, it could allow for access to more components without going through the home module.

Next up, the home module checks an external authentication BaaS before allowing access. Once authenticated, the client can access the “Update Profile” or “View Profile” pages. Both these pages interact with a common, managed database solution that handles the profile data.

As you can see, the application seems like a very basic and minimal version of an online people directory . You can add/update your own profile or view other profiles available.

Here’s a quick legend of the various components in the architecture:

  • Blue boxes: App modules, which are possibly hosted as microservices or serverless functions.
  • Red boxes: External BaaS components that provide for authentication and database.
  • Green box: Routing component that moderates incoming requests from the client.
  • Black box: Your client application exposed to the user.

The components of each of the colors above are vulnerable to various kinds of security threats. Here are a few security constructs you can put in place to minimize your exposure:

  • Isolate app secrets and manage them independently of your source code
  • Maintain access controls through IAM services
  • Improve your testing efforts to also look for security threats through techniques such as SAST
  • Set up access controls through their IAM modules to regulate access
  • Opt for API rate limiting
  • For services such as databases, set up finer control permissions, such as who can access the profiles’ data, who can view the users’ data, and more. Many services, like Firebase , provide a detailed set of such rules.
  • Like all other components, implement access controls
  • Set up authorization
  • Double-check on standard best practices such as CORS
  • Ensure that no app secrets are available to your client
  • Obfuscate your client code to minimize the chances of reverse engineering

While these are just a handful of suggestions, they stand to make the point that app security is complicated, and it’s your responsibility to ensure that you’re not leaving any loose ends for attackers to pull on. You cannot rely on a central security component to protect your business; app security is distributed across your app architecture.

7. Collect User Feedback

User feedback is a crucial tool to understand how well your app is doing in terms of business and technical performance. You can build the lightest and the smoothest app in the world, but if it doesn’t let your users do what they expect, then all your efforts go down the drain.

There are multiple ways to collect user feedback. While a quick and anonymized survey is the conventional approach, you could also go for a more sophisticated solution, such as a heat map of your users’ activity.

The choice of feedback collection method is less important than taking action on the collected feedback. Customers love businesses that listen to their problems. Giants like McDonald’s and Tesla do it, and that’s one of the reasons why they continue to succeed in their markets.

The web is a huge playground of a variety of applications, each designed in its own unique way. Multiple types of architectures make way for web apps to diversify, thrive, and offer services to users all across the globe. In this guide, we broke down the different models of web app architecture and showed you how crucial they are to an application’s growth.

Is there a web app architecture that you really loved? Or is there another that you’d like to share with the world? Let us know in the comments below!

presentation layer of web application

Kumar is a software developer and a technical author based in India. He specializes in JavaScript and DevOps. You can learn more about his work on his website .

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Very well explain and written 👏

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Architecture of Web Applications: Types, Diagram, Example, Architecture in Java

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Understanding the architecture of web applications is crucial if you want to become a highly successful web developer. So, learn everything you need to know about web application architecture here!

architecture of web applications

Architecture of Web Applications: Web applications seamlessly blend technology and user experience. Web app architecture invisibly coordinates servers, databases, and client devices, forming a seamless backbone.

This complex connection includes various elements like front-end frameworks, back-end languages, and databases, all collaborating to provide a dynamic and responsive user interface. The architecture guides data and functionality flow from the client’s browser to the server’s databases, shaping the core of user interaction.

In this blog, we’ll talk about the architecture of web applications, its types, diagrams, examples, and more!

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Table of Contents

Web Application Architecture Diagram

In a typical web application architecture, the system comprises several layers that work together to deliver a seamless user experience. The following is a textual representation of a web application architecture:

  • User Interface (UI):
  • The front-end layer where users interact with the application.
  • Built with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  • Responsive design for optimal user experience across devices.
  • Presentation Layer:
  • Handles the logic related to the presentation and user interface.
  • Includes front-end frameworks like React, Angular, or Vue.js.
  • Responsible for rendering data received from the server.
  • Application Logic Layer:
  • Manages the core functionality of the application.
  • Utilises back-end frameworks like Node.js, Django, or Ruby on Rails.
  • Processes requests from the presentation layer and communicates with the database.
  • Web Server:
  • Acts as an intermediary between the front-end and back-end.
  • Responds to HTTP requests from the client and routes them to the appropriate components.
  • API (Application Programming Interface):
  • Defines how different software components should interact.
  • RESTful or GraphQL APIs are common for communication between the front-end and back-end.
  • Business Logic Layer:
  • Implements the business rules and logic of the application.
  • Validates and processes data before storing it in the database.
  • Stores and manages the application’s data.
  • Relational databases like MySQL or PostgreSQL, or NoSQL databases like MongoDB are commonly used.
  • Data Storage:
  • Includes file storage systems or cloud storage for storing user uploads, media files, etc.
  • Authentication and Authorization:
  • Manages user identity and access control.
  • Ensures secure user authentication and authorization to access specific resources.
  • Security Layer:
  • Implements security measures to protect against common web application vulnerabilities.
  • Includes encryption, input validation, and other security protocols.

Also Read: What is AngularJS? A Complete Guide for Beginners to Master in 2024

Web Application Architecture Example

A common web application architecture includes a User Interface (UI) layer for user interaction, a Presentation layer for rendering content, an Application Logic layer for core functionality, and a Web Server handling client requests. The API facilitates communication with a Business Logic layer, managing rules and data processing .

Data is stored in a Database, with additional layers for Data Storage, Authentication, and Security. This orchestrated structure, often utilising front-end and back-end frameworks, ensures seamless user experiences by efficiently processing requests, managing data securely, and separating concerns for scalability and maintainability.

Architecture of Web Application in Java

The structure of an application explains how its parts are linked and how they talk to each other. It can also be explained as the link between the user and server that outlines the connection, along with the server managing the communication between the user and server.

Web applications are built with an architecture that outlines how components are connected. The web application architecture decides how the client and server communicate with each other.

Various sizes and complexities of web applications adhere to a common architectural structure, yet their specifics are distinct. Apart from understanding the functioning of a request-response process and its components, we will also explore the mechanics of a basic request-response cycle.

What is Web Architecture?

Web architecture involves the creation and implementation of an internet-based computer program. Frequently, these programs take the form of websites that provide valuable information to users, and web developers may design them for a specific purpose, company, or brand.

Web architecture includes all aspects of an application and aids web developers in crafting designs that improve a user’s experience. Ideally, the finished project enables users to effortlessly access information and comprehend how to navigate through its content.

Though there exist various methods, tactics, and patterns for web application architecture, the process typically impacts these components:

What are the 3 types of Web Architecture?

There are various types of web architecture. However, here are 3 of the most common types of web architecture:

  • Design: This pertains to how the program looks visually to a user.
  • IT infrastructure: This aspect of a web architecture program involves coding and software development used in creating a program.
  • User experience: In addition to design elements, web architecture concepts enable developers to implement other program functions that appeal to a user, such as simple language or easy navigation.
  • Software: Effective web architecture often includes the development of robust software to support the functions of a program or application.
  • Monetization: This involves the ability to generate revenue from a web program, which developers incorporate into the foundational architecture of a program.
  • Efficiency: The methods employed to create a program directly impact its efficiency—both in its design and at a software level.
  • Reliability: This refers to the trustworthiness and consistency of a web application when a user tries to access it. Prioritising this component can help developers avoid technical glitches and other issues that may arise on a user’s end.
  • Scalability: During the design phase, it’s crucial for web developers to consider the potential need to expand the size and reach of the program.
  • Security: This relates to the level of network security a web program possesses to ensure the protection of user data.

Serverless Architecture

Serverless architecture is a way of building web applications that don’t require any servers. Instead, the application is built to run directly on cloud platforms like AWS Lambda and Google Cloud Functions. The development of software applications is done using serverless architecture.

An infrastructure service provider is responsible for managing the provisioning of the underlying infrastructure in this arrangement.

  • You don’t pay for idle CPU time or idle storage – you only spend money on the infrastructure when it’s being used.
  • Expenses are reduced – resources are only utilised when the application is running.
  • The cloud provider handles the difficult scaling tasks.
  • The backend code is made simpler.
  • It lowers development strategies.
  • Reduces cost
  • Increases market time efficiency

You don’t need to manage servers or scale them out as your application grows. You can also use serverless architecture to build microservices that scale automatically when there’s more demand for them.

Also Check: 8 Best Android Frameworks for App Development in 2024

Monolithic Architecture

Traditional software development models like monolithic architecture, commonly referred to as web development architecture, are still used today.

Monolithic architecture is a software design pattern in which an application is written as a single, cohesive unit. It is the opposite of microservices architecture, which consists of multiple, independent applications that communicate with each other to perform tasks. It indicates that all of the parts are interrelated, interdependent, and necessary for the application to function.

  • It creates a lightweight application.
  • Cost efficiency – Monolithic architecture will suffice if money is of the essence.
  • Its deployment is manageable.
  • Building a new project, using frameworks, scripts, and templates, and testing it becomes straightforward since it treats the entire code as a single program.
  • It makes it easier for developers to work on the code – since they don’t have to worry about how their changes will affect other parts of the application.
  • It makes it easier for developers to make changes quickly – because they’re not waiting for other teams to implement changes before moving forward with their work.

However, monolithic architectures have drawbacks as well. For one thing, if one part of the system breaks down or stops working correctly for any reason, then all parts of the system will be impacted by that issue until it gets fixed and everything starts functioning normally again. The same goes when the code becomes bigger.

AWS Lambda is a service that allows you to run code without provisioning or managing servers. It is a serverless computing platform that supports any programming language and can be used for any kind of application or backend service. It was launched in 2014 and was initially offered by Amazon.

  • With lambda, you can build applications that respond quickly to new information.
  • You don’t have to worry about scaling your application, or retooling it when things change.
  • According to the demands of the traffic, servers are automatically added and removed.
  • Lambda provides simple execution.
  • Delivers a cost-effective solution and better app resiliency.
  • Only the necessary features need to be uploaded, and then the app can be activated to start the service.

The environment cannot be controlled, which is a drawback.

What is the 3 Tier Architecture of Web Application?

A 3-tier application architecture is a modular client-server architecture that consists of a presentation tier, an application tier and a data tier. The data tier stores information, the application tier handles logic and the presentation tier is a graphical user interface (GUI) that communicates with the other two tiers. The three tiers are logical, not physical, and may or may not run on the same physical server.

  • Presentation tier : This tier, which is built with HTML5, cascading style sheets (CSS) and JavaScript , is deployed to a computing device through a web browser or a web-based application. The presentation tier communicates with the other tiers through application program interface (API) calls.
  • Application tier : The application tier, which may also be referred to as the logic tier, is written in a programming language such as Java and contains the business logic that supports the application’s core functions. The underlying application tier can either be hosted on distributed servers in the cloud or on a dedicated in-house server, depending on how much processing power the application requires.
  • Data tier : The data tier consists of a database and a program for managing read and write access to a database. This tier may also be referred to as the storage tier and can be hosted on-premises or in the cloud. Popular database systems for managing read/write access include MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server and MongoDB.

Also Read: HTML Tags List: HTML Cheat Sheet

What is Application Architecture and Types?

Application architecture defines the methods and patterns you can follow to design and build your application. It provides the direction and best practices to build your application with the right features and structure. The behaviour of your application is determined by the architecture it is built upon.

Architecture is the starting point in the process of developing an application and it shows how different components of your application are to be arranged. It also provides details on how different components will interact and deliver functionality.

Types of Architecture

Monolithic architecture provides a cohesive application structure where all of the business concerns are coupled in a single codebase. Therefore, it’s a tightly packed system of interdependent functionalities. It is a primary architecture for most legacy applications. Simpler design and fast performance are among the key benefits of monolithic application architecture.

Although this is an efficient and coherent system, it has numerous disadvantages, like limited flexibility and stability. Further, a complex structure makes system updates and maintenance a hard nut to crack. Hence, monolithic architecture is a more suitable option to develop mobile apps with fewer functionalities.

N-Tier Architecture

Tiered architecture is divided into separate layers that stack above each other to manage various aspects of an application. These layers pass on data either downward or upward, depending on the application architecture design.

These layers work with each other and data moves from one layer to another. In the N-tier architecture, there can be any number of layers, but usually, there are 3-4 layers. Also, typically, two layers, the Data layer and UI layer, are common for most n-tier architectures.

Microservices Architecture

Today, businesses have accelerated their digital transformation efforts with the increasing customer needs. Therefore, they need more flexible applications that can be quickly adapted to meet the rising demands. Microservices is the best-suited application architecture for creating complex decoupled applications.

Microservices architecture is composed of smaller services and these services lack interdependence, meaning they are not dependent on each other. Every microservice can be developed, deployed, and modified without affecting the whole application because of its exclusivity.

Also Read: How to Center Text & Headers in CSS Using the Text-Align Property

What is the Layered Architecture of a Web Application?

The application architecture is made up of several layers: design layer, frontend layer (HTML and CSS), backend or data layer (database and scripting languages), platform (browser/OS), and business layer. These layers are built on top of each other and depend on each other to create a successful project.

Presentation Layer

This layer represents the design and UI components on the client side. Users interact with this layer to send requests through the application layer to the server. It displays the data flow for the users. The main purpose of this layer is to take data from users and show the response from the server (data layer). Our UI team can help you create the right experience to help your business attract customers’ attention.

Application Layer

The application layer consists of an API gateway. Front-end developers write code to pass the data from the presentation layer to the business logic layer where it is processed. Data will pass to APIs and get stored in the database, depending on the feature it is utilised in the business layer for application logic and to perform certain actions.

Business Layer

This layer has all implementations of application logic. Data from the application layer gets utilised here for example in a lead generation application a form is submitted in the presentation layer and data travels through APIs and is then used to send out emails or to perform any action on the lead before getting stored in the database.

Data or Backend Layer

All the data gets stored in the database and retrieved from it to use on the front end (client-side). Data travels from the database through APIs, from the application layer in creating modules or components that are converted to UI and the user then interacts with that in the presentation layer.

The architecture of web applications plays a pivotal role in their performance, scalability, and maintainability. Adopting a suitable architecture is crucial for ensuring a seamless user experience and efficient development process. Whether opting for monolithic, microservices, or serverless architectures, it’s essential to align the chosen approach with the specific requirements of the application.

Striking the right balance between front-end and back-end components, utilising robust frameworks, and prioritising security measures are integral aspects. As technology evolves, staying abreast of emerging trends like progressive web apps and single-page applications is essential for building modern, responsive, and resilient web applications.

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Architecture of Web Applications FAQs

What is the architecture of web applications.

Web application architecture refers to the structured design and organisation of components that make up a web application, including the client-side and server-side elements. It typically involves components like the user interface, application logic, and databases working together to deliver a seamless user experience.

Why is web application architecture important?

Effective web application architecture ensures scalability, performance, and maintainability. It helps in organising code, handling user interactions, managing data securely, and providing a foundation for future growth and updates.

What are the key components of web application architecture?

Web application architecture consists of three main components: the presentation layer (user interface), the application layer (business logic), and the data layer (database and storage). These components work together to deliver a functional and user-friendly web application.

What are common web application architectural patterns?

Common architectural patterns include Model-View-Controller (MVC), Microservices, and Serverless. These patterns offer different approaches to organising and structuring code, depending on the application's requirements and complexity.

How does web application architecture impact performance?

Well-designed web application architecture contributes to optimal performance by ensuring efficient data flow, minimising latency, and enabling effective caching strategies. Performance considerations include server response times, data retrieval, and rendering on the client side.

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Web Application Architecture: Diagram and 8 Best Practices to Follow

Today, let’s take a deep dive into the best practices of web application architecture that can help achieve top-notch performance. We’ll explore the fundamental elements of web application architecture and equip you with practical strategies for crafting a resilient and scalable website.

Whether you’re a developer or a business owner embarking on a new project, this blog post will provide invaluable insights to help you decide on an architecture that caters to your needs.

In this article:

What is web application architecture?

What is the difference between network architecture and application architecture, the layers of modern web application architecture, types of web application architecture, application architecture diagram. components of web application architecture, web application architecture: best practices.

When we refer to web application architecture, we are essentially talking about an application’s underlying structure and design. This encompasses how various parts of the application are organized, how they work together, and how they are deployed.

The fundamental aim of web application architecture is to create a piece of software that can effortlessly scale, deliver optimal performance, and ensure data security.

The three critical components of web application architecture are front-end, back-end, and the database. Front-end is responsible for the application’s user interface, which includes various elements like forms, buttons, and other interactive features that users engage with directly. It is built to make the application user-friendly, often employing technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

On the other hand, the back-end of a web application manages server-side processing, which involves tasks such as processing data and managing databases. It controls the application’s data and handles user requests. Server-side programming languages like Python, Ruby, and Java are commonly used for back-end development.

Databases are responsible for storing and retrieving information. They manage user data and process queries. To develop the database component, a database management system (DBMS) is used, with popular options including MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB. If necessary, you can effortlessly sync your MongoDB data to PostgreSQL using specialized migration tools.

To build a scalable, efficient, and secure web application, each element has to be properly organized and designed. The correct interplay of these components is indispensable for a web application’s success.

Choosing the right architecture is a complex decision. While scalability, maintainability, and extensibility are essential considerations, other factors such as budget, time-to-market, and technology stack also come into play. When we decide on a web application architecture for our clients, we make sure it aligns with the business objectives and goals of their organizations. Paul Jackowski CEO, ASPER BROTHERS Let's Talk

Network and application architectures are both essential to building a functional and reliable web application. However, they concern different parts of the overall infrastructure.

Network architecture is associated with physical infrastructure and the way that the components communicate with each other across the network. It includes aspects such as network topology, network protocols, and hardware components like routers and switches. Network architecture ensures that the application is able to effectively, securely, and reliably transmit data between components.

In contrast, application architecture focuses on the structure and organization of software components that make up the application. The application architecture focuses on designing an application that is scalable, efficient, and secure on a software level.

Understanding the differences between these two types of architectures is crucial for building a functional web application.

Modern web application architecture typically consists of several layers that work together to provide a robust, scalable, and maintainable system. Each layer serves a specific purpose, and together they form a cohesive and integrated solution that can handle a variety of tasks.

By dividing a web application into these layers, modern web application architecture ensures that each of them can be developed and handled independently of the others. This approach makes modifying and enhancing the application easier as requirements change over time.

It’s important to note that not all web applications will have a Data Service Layer, and that some web applications may include additional layers or sub-layers depending on the application’s specific requirements.

The Layers of Web Application Architecture

A diagram showing the client-side and server-side layers of web application architecture.

#1 Presentation Layer (PL)

This layer is responsible for the user interface of a web application. It deals with displaying information, collecting data, and determining user interactions.

The presentation layer is typically built with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, which handle the layout, styling, and interactivity of the user interface. Modern frameworks like React, Angular, or Vue.js are often employed.

#2 Business Logic Layer (BLL)

The business logic layer contains the application’s business logic and functionality of the web applications. It handles user requests, processes data, and performs operations based on the defined rules and algorithms. The business logic layer ensures that the processed data is valid and accurate.

This layer often utilizes programming languages like Python, Java, or C#, along with frameworks and libraries that facilitate application development and provide tools for routing, validation, and data manipulation.

#3 Data Access Layer (DAL)

The data access layer is responsible for managing the storage and retrieval of data used by the application. It handles all communications with the database, as well as data persistence and its manipulation, ensuring the integrity and consistency of the information.

It typically involves a database or a combination of databases, such as relational databases (e.g., MySQL, PostgreSQL) or NoSQL databases (e.g., MongoDB, Cassandra).

#4 Data Service Layer (DSL)

The data service layer provides a service interface to the other application layers. It exposes the data access layer’s functionality and ensures that data is retrieved and stored consistently. It bridges the application layer and other components, allowing communication and data exchange with external systems or services. It enables integration with third-party APIs, databases, or microservices, enabling the web application to access and manipulate data from various sources.

In more complex architectures, an additional services layer may exist between the BLL and the DSL. This layer abstracts specific functionalities into modular services, providing a more decoupled and scalable system. Services can be designed to handle tasks such as authentication, authorization, file storage, email notifications, or payment processing, and they can be independently developed, tested, and deployed.

There are various types of web application architecture, each with its own set of strengths and weaknesses.

The most common types include monolithic architecture, microservices, progressive web apps, and serverless architecture. By understanding their differences, you can make a far more insightful decision about which approach suits your next web application project. Your choice will ultimately depend on your application’s specific requirements.

#1 Monolithic architecture

A monolith is a traditional approach to building web applications, where all the components (front-end, back-end, database) are tightly coupled and packaged into a single application. This methodology is easy to develop and deploy but can become increasingly challenging to handle and scale as the application grows.

#2 Microservices architecture

In contrast to monolithic architecture, microservices break the application into small, independent services that can be developed, deployed, and scaled independently of one another. While this approach offers more flexibility and scalability, it can also be far more complex to build and manage.

#3 Progressive web apps

Progressive web apps (PWAs) are web applications designed to function like native mobile apps, offering features like offline functionality, push notifications, and access to device hardware. PWAs are built using web technologies that can be deployed to any device with a web browser.

#4 Serverless architecture

Serverless architecture , also known as Function-as-a-Service (FaaS), is a newer approach to web application architecture that relies on cloud providers to manage the underlying infrastructure. Here developers write functions that are executed in response to events (such as user requests) without having to manage servers or infrastructure.

Web application architecture is a complex system comprised of various interdependent components. These components are crucial for building a web application that is scalable, efficient, and secure; therefore, understanding their interactions is essential.

Components of Web Application Architecture

A diagram showing the interactions between web application architecture’s components.

#1 DNS (Domain Name System)

A DNS translates domain names into IP addresses, enabling users to access websites using human-readable names. A DNS service ensures users can access your web application without issues.

#2 Web app servers

Web app servers are responsible for processing requests from clients and generating responses. These servers run application code and perform authentication, authorization, and session management tasks. Common web app servers include Apache, Nginx, and IIS.

#3 Load balancer

A load balancer distributes traffic across multiple servers to ensure the application can handle large requests. It also helps prevent server overloading by improving the application’s overall performance.

#4 Databases

Databases store and manage data used by the web application. The type of database used depends on the specific requirements of the application. Common databases include MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB.

#5 Caching service

Caching services improve the application’s performance by storing frequently accessed data in its memory. Using them helps reduce the number of requests to the database and improve response times.

#6 Full-text search service

A full-text search service allows users to search through large amounts of data using natural language queries. This service is optional but can be valuable to web applications requiring advanced search functionality.

#7 Services

Services are independent components that provide specific functionality to the web application. These can be internal or external services, including APIs, email services, and payment gateways.

#8 Data warehouse

The purpose of a data warehouse is to store and analyze large amounts of data. It provides a central location for storing data from multiple sources and allows for advanced data analytics.

#9 CDN (Content Delivery Network)

A Content Delivery Network , widely known as a CDN, is a distributed network of servers that stores cached copies of static content. It helps improve the application’s performance by reducing the latency associated with serving content from a single server.

Web application architecture is a critical aspect of creating high-performing and reliable applications. In addition to ensuring that the application is easy to use and understand, it’s essential to design an architecture that can handle high traffic, maintain optimal performance, and adapt to changing demands.

#1 Implementing a scalable web server

The web server is the backbone of any web application, responsible for processing user requests and delivering responses. Designing a scalable web server is essential to ensure optimal performance, meaning it can handle increasing traffic volumes without compromising performance. This can be achieved through load balancing, clustering, and caching techniques. Additionally, monitoring web server performance regularly and optimizing configurations for maximum efficiency is essential.

#2 Adapting to the Cloud with elastic infrastructure

Cloud computing has revolutionized the way web applications are developed and deployed. The cloud-based infrastructure allows for elastic scalability, meaning the application can expand or contract resources automatically in response to changes in demand. This approach ensures the web application can handle traffic spikes without downtime or performance issues. Additionally, cloud application development provides benefits such as high availability, reliability, and cost-effectiveness.

#3 Immutable infrastructure

Immutable infrastructure is a concept that involves designing infrastructure that cannot be modified after it is deployed. Instead of changing the infrastructure, new versions are created, and the old ones are replaced. This approach eliminates configuration drift, improves security, and ensures that the infrastructure is always in a known, reliable state. Additionally, immutable infrastructure provides the ability to roll back to previous versions quickly in case of issues.

#4 Microservices and a serverless approach

Microservices and serverless architecture are two approaches that have gained popularity in the past few years due to their ability to improve scalability, agility, and cost-effectiveness.

Microservices involve breaking down a web application into more compact, independent services that communicate with each other through APIs. This approach allows flexibility and agility, as each service can be developed, deployed, and scaled independently. Serverless architecture involves running code without the need for a dedicated server. This approach allows for cost savings and scalability benefits, as resources are allocated as needed.

#5 Multi-tenant architecture

When designing web applications, one critical decision is whether to use a multi-tenant or a single-tenant architecture. Multi-tenant architecture serves multiple clients (tenants) using a single application instance, while single-tenant architecture serves a single client per application instance.

  • Single-tenant . In single-tenant architecture, each client or tenant has a dedicated instance of the application, database, and infrastructure. This approach offers complete data isolation and control, but this can be more expensive and less scalable than multi-tenant architecture.
  • Multi-tenant . In multi-tenant architecture, multiple clients or tenants share a single instance of the application, database, and infrastructure. This approach reduces the cost of infrastructure, maintenance, and support and provides better scalability and flexibility. However, implementing it can be more complex, and concerns about data privacy and security may exist.

#6 Securing web application architecture

Security is a critical aspect of web application architecture. A well-designed security architecture can protect applications against attacks, data breaches, and other security threats that can impact the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the application and its data.

Let’s discuss some of the most common standards and regulations that web applications must comply with, including HIPAA, PCI, and SOC2. These standards provide guidelines and best practices for securing sensitive data and ensuring the integrity of web applications.

  • HIPAA , which also stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a regulation that applies to healthcare entities that manage electronically protected health information (ePHI). The standard outlines the requirements for securing ePHI, such as implementing access controls, encryption, and audit logging, to protect patient privacy and prevent data breaches.
  • PCI (Payment Card Industry) is a standard for organizations that handle credit card data. The standard outlines the requirements for securing credit card data, such as encrypting cardholder data, implementing access controls, and conducting regular vulnerability scans and penetration testing to prevent unauthorized access and data breaches.
  • SOC2 (System and Organization Controls 2) is a standard for service providers that process customer data. The standard outlines the requirements for securing customer data, such as implementing access controls, monitoring and alerting, and incident management, to ensure customer data’s confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

Implementing these standards can help web application architects and developers ensure that their applications are designed to meet industry best practices and regulations for security. By implementing these standards, organizations can improve the security posture of their web applications and protect against security threats that can cause significant damage to their business and reputation.

#7 Automating code deployments in a DevOps CI/CD environment.

Automating code deployment can be a great way to speed up the process of deploying software changes to production while minimizing the risk of errors and downtime. This involves setting up a pipeline that could be used to automate the process of building, testing, and deploying code changes to production, which can help make the whole process smoother and more efficient.

By automating the deployment process, organizations can ensure that code changes are consistently deployed in a scalable and reliable manner with minimal human intervention. This helps improve software quality and increases the deployment process’s speed and efficiency.

To automate code deployment, organizations use a set of tools and technologies that are used together to create a seamless, end-to-end deployment process. These tools include containerization, continuous integration, and deployment automation tools.

Automating code deployment is essential to the software delivery process in a DevOps CI/CD environment. It speeds up the deployment process while reducing the risk of errors and downtime, resulting in better software quality and faster delivery of new features and updates.

#8 Building your web architecture with IaC Tools

By leveraging Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools, developers and operations teams can define and manage infrastructure via code, similar to any other software development project. Consequently, infrastructure can be versioned, tested, and deployed in a more automated and reliable manner, leading to a more efficient and streamlined approach to infrastructure management.

Incorporating IaC tools into web architecture development can automate and optimize the infrastructure management process, thereby creating infrastructure that is more consistent, scalable, and reliable. This approach can improve software quality, minimize the risk of errors and downtime, and accelerate the deployment process, leading to increased speed and efficiency of the application.

Some key IaC tools for building web architectures include Terraform, AWS CloudFormation, and Ansible. They allow developers and operations teams to define and manage infrastructure in a more automated and reliable way.

Understanding web application architecture is crucial for building efficient, scalable , and secure web applications. Developers can ensure optimal performance and reliability by implementing best practices such as scalable web servers, adapting to the cloud with elastic infrastructure, microservices, and automation through Infrastructure as Code tools.

Additionally, considering the types of web application architecture, including monolithic, microservices, progressive web apps, and serverless architecture, can help developers choose the best approach for their specific application needs. Finally, maintaining security and compliance with regulations such as HIPAA, PCI, and SOC2 is essential to protect user data and maintain trust in the application.

Ultimately, the importance of choosing the right web application architecture cannot be overstated, as it can have a significant impact on the success of the project. It requires a thorough understanding of the organization’s needs, the project’s requirements, and the strengths and limitations of various architectures. Therefore, it is crucial for the CTO to work closely with the development team and other stakeholders to make an informed decision that considers all relevant factors.

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Guide to Web Application Architecture

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Components of Web Application Architecture

Web application architecture diagram, what is a 3-tier architecture, modern web application architecture layers, types of web application architecture, advanced & scalable web application architecture, web application architecture best practices.

The web application market is an environment that is continuously evolving, incorporating new technologies and increasing safety standards.

In this regard, the proper attention to the foundational design of a web app contributes to maintaining the required robustness, responsiveness, and security of this software. In a web app, this is what solid web app architecture is responsible for.

Infographic of global web application market statistics

The definition of web app architecture is broad and depends on the focus of building web applications.

A web application architecture is a model of interaction between web application components. The specific kind of architecture for web applications strictly depends on the way application logic will be allocated among client and server sides.

Technically, it’s the skeleton of a web app, including its elements, databases, systems, servers, interfaces, and all the communication happening between them. In more abstract terms, it indicates the logic behind responses to client and server requests.

When it comes to business benefits, web application architecture is related to the process of creating web applications and planning for their needs in terms of speed, scalability, security, and other quality attributes.

This article will provide an overview of modern web application architecture , including its key components, types, and models, so that you can invest in this type of architecture with confidence. Let’s get started!

The applications differ in complexity and functionality, and the number of layers and components changes accordingly. It may happen that an app is so simple that it works as a monolith, storing all the web application design architecture in one place.

Nevertheless, a typical web app will consist of multiple components (or tiers) that interact with each other. Usually, the two major groups for web application architecture are user interface and structural web components. In their turn, structural web components include client-side components and server-side components.

When too many components are involved, their descriptions may not be enough to clarify the whole picture. A web application architecture diagram can help in this situation by presenting a schematic illustration of components and interactions between them. Now, let’s take a closer look at the key elements depicted on this diagram.

Illustration of a web application architecture diagram

The abbreviation DNS stands for the domain name system. It’s a key element that matches IP addresses to domain names. In this way, a particular server receives a request sent by an end user.

2. Load Balancer

It directs incoming requests from app users to one of the multiple servers, which distributes load more evenly when too many users are active at the same time. Generally, web app services exist as various copies mirroring one another to enable all servers to process requests in the same manner. Also, the load balancer is an element that distributes tasks in order to prevent them from overcharging.

3. Web App Servers

This component is basically an app deployment descriptor. What does it mean? It means that it processes the user's requests and sends responses back to an initial browser. To make it happen, it refers to the back-end infrastructure, including the database, job queue, cache server, etc.

4. Database

The meaning of this component is pretty much straightforward. It offers a wide variety of instruments to perform, delete, organize, and update data entries. Mainly, web app servers interact with job servers without any intermediary.

5. Caching Service

The component grants easy and quick data storage and search. When the user receives the info from the server, search results can be cached. As a result, future requests will be returned much faster.

These are the scenarios when caching is efficient:

  • Slow or repeated computation
  • When a user receives similar results for a specific request

6. Job Queue (Optional)

This one has two components in it, which are a job queue and servers that process those jobs. Many web servers operate a large number of jobs of minor importance. A job that has to be fulfilled goes in the queue and will be operated according to the schedule.

7. Full-Text Search Service (Optional)

There are plenty of web apps that support search by text feature. After this, an application sends the relevant results to an end user. The whole process is called a full-text search, and it can find the requested data by a keyword among all the documents available in a system.

The abbreviation CDN stands for the content delivery system. This system sends static content, including images and other files. Basically, it includes multiple servers that are closer to the geographical locations of end users than an app’s database. As a result, CDN delivers content more effectively to users around the globe, drastically reducing load times.

The majority of web apps are created through the separation of their principal function into layers/tiers. Respectively, this enables you to quickly and effortlessly replace or upgrade those layers independently. It is called a multi- or a 3-tier architecture .

In a 3-tier web architecture, there are three layers/tiers:

  • Presentation (client) layer
  • Application (business) layer
  • Data access layer

It’s possible to say that this modern web app architecture is the safest and most secure one. It can be explained by the fact that the client doesn’t access the data directly. Application servers can be deployed on multiple machine providers, which enables higher scalability, increased performance, and better efficiency.

Each tier can be scaled independently; therefore, this architecture can be scaled horizontally. In addition, it also significantly improves the overall data integrity as data will go through the app server, which is the one that decides exactly how and by whom data will be accessed. This amazing perk is an easy and cost-effective solution in case of new company management.

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of the three web application architecture layers .

Presentation/Client Layer

When we are talking about the presentation layer, we imply the front end of an app. This layer includes such elements as static content and dynamic interface that are visible to end users. The environment of this layer is any browser. Among the technologies that are used in this case, we can name HTML, CSS, or JavaScript. The potential frameworks to choose from include Angular, React, and Vue.

Business/Application Layer

Speaking of the business layer, which is also referred to as the application layer , is a part of the app back-end. The web app’s back-end determines business logic and responses to browser requests that are sent to the presentation layer. It consists of the core application logic and outlines all internal flow for data and requests. In this case, the most convenient environment is servers, serverless cloud platforms, or PaaS. Among the programming languages that are used in this case, we can name C#, JavaScript, Java, Python, and PHP. The potential back-end frameworks to choose from include ASP.NET, express.js, nest.js, Spring, Flask, Django, and Symfony.

Data Access Layer

The final layer in this architecture is the data access layer , which plays a crucial role by closely interfacing with the business layer, retrieving essential information from the servers. Simultaneously, the data service layer acts as an intermediary, effectively segregating the business logic from the client side during request processing.

It is an app back-end part that contains databases and DBMS (database management systems) that collect, manage and store data. The environment can be the same as the application layer. Among the Database management systems, we can name PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, MongoDB, Cloud Offerings and so on.

All the layers work independently and communicate with each other through the relevant components.

A web application architecture type is a particular pattern under which the components interact with each other. The overarching layers might be divided into a client side architecture, server side architecture, and a hosting approach.

Client Side

Single-page application architecture.

This web application architecture is designed to show relevant content only. To make this happen, it first loads the relevant web page and then dynamically updates the representation of its content with the requested information only.

In other words, it doesn’t refer to the server for loading new pages but sends requests for the needed parts of the webpage only.

Single-Page Applications contribute to smoother performance and a more intuitive user experience.

Pros of single-page app architecture:

  • Faster performance
  • Improved flexibility of UX

Cons of single-page app architecture:

  • Increased testing time
  • Possible loss of unsaved progress
  • Slower first-load speed

Progressive Web Apps

Progressive web apps are still among the most promising web app trends thanks to their unique format. They offer a convenient and effective user experience available from any browser and device through a shared URL.

The application of progressive web apps is wide, including industries like entertainment, finance, and eCommerce. Their key benefits include lightweight, cost-effectiveness, cross-device nature, ability to attract web traffic, and a fully functioning app experience.

Pros of progressive web app architecture:

  • Browser availability
  • Mobile-first approach
  • Increased traffic
  • Effective offline performance

Cons of progressive web app architecture:

  • Restricted browser support
  • Narrow utilization of native APIs.

Server Side

Microservice architecture.

Microservices are the frequent alternative to an unreliable monolithic web application architecture . They disperse the functionality to deliver small and lightweight services separately.

In particular, they are loosely coupled and use APIs for communication if a sophisticated business problem arises. This peculiarity eases the developer’s life since it’s possible for individual service components to be built in different programming languages.

Thanks to its flexibility and stability, microservice architecture has gained popularity these days, with businesses like Amazon, eBay, and Netflix adopting it for their complex needs.

Pros of microservice architecture:

  • Easier scaling up
  • Better fault tolerance
  • Simple-to-understand code base
  • Independent module deployment

Cons of microservice architecture:

  • Difficulties with testing and debugging
  • Complex deployment

Hosting Approach

Serverless architecture.

In web application development, this architecture type, you outsource both server and infrastructure management to a third-party cloud service provider. This way, a web app logic execution won’t intervene in the infrastructure running.

Choosing a serverless architecture is good for companies that want to delegate server and hardware management to a reliable tech partner and concentrate on front-end development tasks instead.

Also, this web application architecture type allows working on small functions in apps. The service providers that assist in server management are Amazon and Microsoft, among others.

Pros of serverless architecture:

  • Absence of server management
  • Highly scalable
  • Minimized latency
  • Speed and flexibility

Cons of serverless architecture:

  • Security concerns
  • High complexity

Digital technologies constantly evolve, creating new possibilities for web applications. As a result, their architecture also evolves to accommodate software to new demands and conditions in business. These days, the challenges in various industries require appropriate actions and implemented measures from software developers. Let’s see what business requirements have the largest impact on software development and how specialists can ensure the necessary characteristics of web applications using new trends and a properly designed architecture. 

Three of the most demanded characteristics of web applications nowadays are improved scalability, reliability, and security. Business needs to be sure that custom software is reliable and won’t fail under load or malicious actions. To satisfy these requirements, developers continually enhance software architecture by implementing more advanced technologies and higher standards.

Today, most requirements regarding the scalability and safety of web applications are met with the help of cloud technologies. Web developers extensively use them for two main purposes: advanced storage and delivery of content and smart balancing of traffic load.

Cloud solutions are the most obvious and optimal choice of technologies for the architecture of most business web applications. That’s why a lot of web developers effectively use a wide range of cloud services provided by such IT giants as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. Today, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform are essential tools that can be customized for all types of web applications. Here are a few examples of uses and benefits associated with cloud services implementation in web app architecture .

Data Storage Tools

  • Azure Cloud Storage
  • Google Cloud Storage

Storing web app information in the cloud instead of an on-premise server makes data more accessible regardless of users’ location. Most cloud service providers offer several subscription plans with various volume and traffic load capacities. They ensure that your information is kept safe and secure, which is an invaluable advantage for business.

Cloud storage also allows developers to optimize access time for users in target geographic areas. This way, customers or employees using a web application will experience fewer lags. After a web application is released, developers can add new cloud storage units or remove existing ones and change the service subscription plan. This significantly improves scalability and optimizes app costs depending on the scale of the business.

Load Balancing Tools

  • AWS Elastic Load Balancing
  • Azure Load Balancer
  • Google Cloud Load Balancing

Load balancers ensure the smooth work of a web application even at times of high traffic loads. This type of technology is especially useful for B2C or retail businesses. Usually, such high load periods are predicted and happen on a regular basis, for example, during holiday seasons. However, sometimes, they occur as a result of malicious attacks intended to disrupt the online operations of a particular company. The most common type is DDoS attacks which can have a devastating impact on any online business. Load balancing technologies help to distribute excess loads across multiple servers using hardware or software components and predefined policies.

Caching and Content Delivery Tools

  • Amazon CloudFront
  • Google Cloud CDN and Media CDN

Software developers may implement a caching system in application architecture to optimize data access and improve app performance. Usually, an app cache contains the most frequently or recently requested information. It delivers data to a user device much faster than requesting the same information from a database on an application server. 

Depending on the architecture, a web application may have a global cache, a distributed cache, or an in-memory cache. Another widely used technology to handle caching is a content delivery network (CDN). It allows developers to reduce load on an application server by rerouting queries to a CDN server instead.

Here, we’ve gathered the top 5 recommendations for business owners to consider while working on web app architecture for their projects and building cooperation with tech partners.

1. Think of a proper web application architecture at the earliest stages

Without a comprehensive structure, your application will turn into a labyrinth of messy elements and components that are too hard to handle.

2. Don’t copy somebody’s success

The top mistake is to pick a web application architecture of a successful company and simply replicate it. In reality, a successful architecture is one that corresponds with your business goals and ideas, not theirs.

3. Pay attention to your technical limitations

It’s not always possible to get the best and most successful elements in your web application architecture. However, with the proper attention to quality attributes and realistic business expectations, you will get the maximum from all the components you have.

4. Eliminate the problems right away

Don’t wait for the web app release to fix the problems in its architecture. The earlier you address the issues, the more reliable core features it will have.

5. Create a checklist of successful web app features

To make sure your web app has achieved its goal, it’s good practice to note your expectations from it at the very beginning and discuss their possibility and measurable KPIs with your tech partner.

The possible checklist may include these features:

  • Overall system flexibility
  • Components can be reused
  • Well-written code
  • Ability to scale
  • System stability
  • Easy bug detection
  • Sticking to security standards
  • Fields to work with user feedback
  • Easy-to-use
  • Responds fast
  • Can be deployed automatically

A solid, fast-working, scalable, and safe web application architecture is a must for every web platform-based digital product, especially when it comes to business. For this reason, the architecture must always be developed and implemented by software engineering experts with experience in creating similar solutions for your specific industry.

Intellectsoft is a company that has been creating digital solutions for companies of all sizes in Fintech, Healthcare, construction, hospitality, logistics, eCommerce, and many other industries for over 15 years. We provide web development services to startups, SMBs, and enterprises across the world and create solutions with the most efficient, safe, and flexible web app architecture .

So, if you’re looking for a development team that will ensure top-quality modern web application architecture , here are only a few reasons to choose our software engineering experts:

  • Our talent pool covers dozens of programming tools and technologies for building web, mobile, desktop, cloud, and other solutions.
  • We have successfully finished and delivered over 600 digital solutions for businesses. Here, you can see our most prominent cases .
  • Our engineering workforce is located in 21 countries across the Atlantic.
  • The size of our clients varies from early-stage startups to Fortune 500 enterprises like Audi, Harley Davidson, Universal, Nestle, Melco, and others.

In case you want to know what custom web application architecture solution we can create and provide for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and tell us what you need. Our team will make sure your product gets its perfect modern web app architecture .

What web app architecture will fit my needs?

First of all, it’s essential to define your business goals and objectives. Once you do this, it will be so much easier to decide on what specific type of web application architecture you should opt for. However, if after reading our detailed guide, you still don’t know which type to choose, then we recommend you contact our professional team. We will gladly evaluate your project and suggest the most relevant solution in your particular case. In addition, we will be able to provide you with the approximate costs for selecting and creating web application architecture delivered by Intellectsoft.

What are the reasons to treat a web application system architecture seriously?

There are multiple benefits of a web application architecture that should motivate you to treat it really seriously. First of all, it enables very simple and fast integration of new features into your application. In addition, web architecture has high flexibility and scalability, which is also very beneficial for your project. Moreover, working with the right web application architecture will decrease the time spent on web development. It also goes without saying that this solution is very cost-effective and will grant you exceptional safety.

What are the most popular models of web app architecture?

There are three popular models of architecture used in modern web applications.

The “one server, one database” model is rather primitive and does not meet the requirements of modern web software. However, its simplicity allows developers to use it for pre-release testing or for building an MVP. In real-life applications, this model does not ensure the appropriate level of safety and stability because if a server goes down, an app will stop working as well.

The “multiple servers, one database” model is faster and more effective due to its partially distributed nature. The presence of several servers enables the possibility of load balancing, which allows using the full potential of multiple app servers. However, the single database is a potential vulnerability that impacts the safety of a web application.

The “multiple servers, multiple databases” model is the most efficient but also the most expensive in terms of deployment and maintenance. Developers must implement effective means to synchronize information within several databases. Like the previous model, this one may also use the benefits of load balancing.

What are the business advantages of a well-planned web architecture?

For many online retail companies, a custom web application is the only way to showcase goods, take orders, and communicate with customers. A properly designed and implemented architecture ensures that app users can perform all intended activities regardless of their location, current traffic load, or other factors impacting the app’s performance.

Let’s take, for example, a 3-tier web architecture in the context of a retail business app. The presentation layer displays information using a graphical user interface. This way, a customer can interact with the app: browse products, compare or add them to the cart, and so on. The business layer is the core of an application that determines its functionality. It processes the information gathered during the user interaction and acts as a medium between the presentation layer and the data layer. Finally, the data access layer or simply data layer stores and manages information, including product descriptions, availability, price, and more. This layer also includes customer-related information which usually contains delivery addresses, saved payment options, and other personal data. Considering potential financial and reputational losses, database security is extremely important and should be considered a top priority.

Software developers must ensure the efficient and reliable operation of all these layers using carefully chosen technologies and a well-implemented architecture of a web application. First of all, a convenient and fast app improves customer satisfaction which leads to more profits and higher client retention. It also helps businesses to remain online and functional even during periods of heavy loads, preventing crashes and other failures. Last but not least, a carefully designed architecture is essential for the security of a web application, which is a crucial factor for business owners and their clients alike.


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Web App Architecture: Components, Layers, and Types

Sveta Cherednichenko

Businesses and organizations of all kinds build apps of different levels of complexity, and it can be overwhelming to understand what technologies will be best suited for your individual case. Choosing the web app architecture design is the most important step in its development

Long gone are the times when web pages were static and their main goal was to provide information. Now apps are highly functional and user-oriented, which means they’re rather heavy and require robust architectures that can sustain constant data flows and execute complex business logic.

Choosing the right architecture is the most challenging step in web app development , as the architecture is the backbone that unites and organizes all web application components.

In this article, you’ll get familiar with basic terms of web app backend architecture like components, models, and types.You’ll also see how developers choose an architecture depending on the complexity and specific functionality of a web application.

First, let’s figure out what web applications and architectures are.

What is a web application architecture?

A web application is a piece of software that works on the internet through a browser. It isn’t much different from a traditional desktop application, but it relies on an internet connection and needs to constantly share and receive data from a server to work.

A web application architecture is essentially a framework that unites all components of the application into one system that exchanges data and allows a user to interact with the product through requests to and responses from a server.

Every good web app architecture should:

  • Solve business problems
  • Support the brand’s visual aesthetic
  • Be maintainable and reliable
  • Be secure and robust
  • Scale easily
  • Automate some business operations
  • Log errors for easier quality control
  • Enable A/B testing and support analytics

A web app architecture should meet the needs of three groups of people:

  • End-users — The app should be user-friendly, responsive, fast, and provide offline functionality.
  • Engineers — The architecture should be functional, fast to develop, scalable, maintainable, and allow for automated testing.
  • Business owners and stakeholders — The app should cover business needs and bring more profit than the resources it takes. Also, it should be highly secure and easy to support.

There are two main components of a web app architecture: the server side and the client side. Let’s find out the differences between these components and define their functions.

Web application architecture components

Beyond server-side and client-side, you can divide web app architecture components into two other categories:

  • UI/UX components
  • Structural components

UI/UX components represent all elements of a web app that are visible to a user. They include layouts, notifications, and dashboards.

Structural components include the server and the web application database architecture. They’re responsible for a website’s data structure and business logic.

Each web application has two components (the client and the server) that connect with each other through a framework.

web application architecture diagram

The client is essentially the interface a user interacts with. It’s a visual representation of all the functionality of a web application that users see when they enter or follow a URL. The client side of a web application is written with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and is the frontend part of the web software.

The backend part of a web application, also called the server side, is often written in PHP, Java, Ruby on Rails, Python, or Node.js. The server side usually consists of two parts: a server that contains all the business logic of your software product and a database where you store all the information used by your app, including user data.

These components are parts of the web application layers we’ll discuss now.

Web application architecture layers

There are four common layers of a web application architecture:

  • Presentation layer (PL)
  • Business logic layer (BLL)
  • Data service layer (DSL)
  • Data access layer (DAL)

The presentation layer is what a user sees and interacts with. This is essentially the client side of an app. It contains interface components and user process components that facilitate the user’s interaction with the app.

The presentation layer provides all data to the client side. It processes the user’s requests and sends them to the server, and it shows the response in the browser and receives input data.

The business logic layer is responsible for data exchange and the app’s overall functionality. It contains all the logic for business operations, such as rules and conditions.

Architecture is a backbone that holds all the layers and components together and defines their communication patterns

The data service layer transfers data from the server to the presentation layer. It separates business logic from the client side and serves as an intermediary between the server and the presentation layer.

The data access layer provides access to your data, including binary and XML files. This is the layer that performs data management operations such as create, read, update, and delete (CRUD).

Every good architecture needs to be scalable, which means you need to be able to easily add more servers and databases.

The term “web application architecture” can refer to two different things:

  • The configuration and number of databases and servers
  • The business logic of interactions between the client and server sides of a web app

In this article, I’ll refer to the database and server configuration as the web component model and will refer to the business logic and interactions between components as the web application architecture.

Let’s start with the component models of web applications.

Web app component models

Every application has at least two components: a server and a database. However, to increase security and performance, software architects often choose to add more servers and databases to the ecosystem. Let’s review all possible component models and discuss their pros and cons.

One server and one database

This is the most common and basic web application architecture, but it’s also the riskiest. If your app doesn’t have a backup server, the whole system can go down if the server stops working. This model is suitable only for simple apps that are created to test the waters or that belong to an individual who wants a minimal digital presence.

Two servers and one database

This is a more risk-proof approach to building a web application. In this case, the server doesn’t store any data but rather transfers it to a separate database. Having a backup server reduces the risk of the system crashing, as the second server will automatically take over all tasks if the first crashes, and your app will stay live.

However, you still have only one database, and if it crashes, you risk losing all your data.

2+ servers and 2+ databases

This option is the most reliable. In this case, you’ll have a backup for all vital components of your system and will be able to work with large amounts of data and divide it into streams. You can also use several databases with different properties to achieve different goals.

For example, you can choose a fast database for processing regular requests. This will speed up your loading time and improve search visibility. You can also duplicate data across databases to make sure you always have a backup. Another option is to distribute data between databases.

At Mobindustry, we advise you to choose this web app database architecture to create a complex business application that’s reliable and secure.

Serverless and microservice models

These are two relatively new models that avoid the monolithic nature of the three models I’ve mentioned above. While the previous models have stable structures, serverless and microservice models are more flexible and easier to change.

A serverless model is a scalable web app architecture that allows developers to focus on their code, while the server provider handles all tasks concerning the server, such as provisioning, configuration, and maintenance.

Another option for architecting web applications is a microservice model , according to which a site consists of loosely coupled services that can be modified and replaced separately. This makes the microservice model flexible and maintainable.

However, both these approaches have their downsides, and only a professional will be able to determine which approach is best for your needs.

Now that I’ve discussed the components of a web application and the ways you can arrange them, let’s talk about the types of architectures.

Types of architectures for a web application

Generally, there are four main types of architectures:

  • Legacy HTML web app architecture
  • Widget web app architecture
  • Single-page web app architecture
  • Progressive web application architecture

The differences between these types of web application architecture patterns lie in how they process requests and load data.

A legacy HTML web app architecture is the most straightforward approach to loading data upon request, as it returns complete HTML code, meaning it fully reloads the whole page, loading both the business logic and page logic. This approach is suitable only for static pages — not for dynamic apps.

The widget web application architecture is a modern web app architecture that is suitable for dynamic web applications. Instead of pages, it’s constructed of services, where each page is essentially a widget. When services receive an AJAX query, they send chunks of data in HTML or JSON to widgets. This data can then be displayed without having to reload the page.

Widget web applications are popular for mobile web application architectures because of their dynamic properties. However, this type of architecture has security flaws, as the app is partly exposed on the client side. Also, this is the most time-consuming architecture to set up and develop.

A single-page application is based on HTML and JavaScript requests that the user sends to load a page once. Because these requests aren’t translated to JSON, they’re lightweight and responsive. The client side has a JavaScript layer that communicates freely with web services. This significantly reduces the amount of data that’s transferred from the server to the client.

Progressive web apps are aimed at mobile devices, as their main features are increased speed, offline functionality, home screen installation, and push notifications. The main advantage of a progressive web app architecture is fast loading. PWAs use caching and storage APIs to precache parts of an application and then load it instantly the second time a user opens the app. The PWA architecture is built specifically for minimizing data traffic and saving user-generated data for offline functionality.

Web server architecture

A server is the backbone of the whole web application, so it’s vital to choose the correct server technology stack for your app. The best server architecture depends on the programming language and framework you choose for your product. This choice should depend on your individual needs as well as your server’s performance, processing power, speed, storage type, and ability to connect to other apps, operating systems, and networks.

These are the most popular web server architectures:

  • Cloud-based

A PHP-based web server architecture is one of the most popular and simplest options for development. Because the PHP language is so widespread, it’s easy to find a team of developers who can rapidly build a secure and maintainable server for your web app.

Laravel is a PHP-based framework that implements an MVC architecture. Many developers choose Laravel because of its wide functionality that includes modular packaging, caching, sessions, and better routing and authentication. Laravel is an efficient framework that helps developers deliver projects fast.

A Python-based architecture is perfect for creating prototypes because of Python’s dynamic properties. There are several great Python frameworks you can use in your project simultaneously while also pairing them with other languages in the same app. Python is beginner-friendly, so you’ll have no problem finding a developer or training your current development team.

AngularJS is a platform and framework for TypeScript and HTML. This architecture is based on NgModule blocks. Lazy loading is one of the biggest benefits of AngularJS, as it improves the user experience and helps reduce code size.

The Azure architecture is a perfect solution if you want to combine the web application cloud architecture with traditional tools. Microsoft Azure allows you to create a web application using the best practices of web architecture development.

Java is the most widely used language for web development, and it’s only natural that it has the most options when it comes to architectures. With Java, you can create both highly complex and very simple pages and be sure they’ll be maintainable in the long-term perspective.

A Java-based server architecture is also extremely versatile, as Java offers a large number of tools that allow you to create highly functional solutions.

The .NET architecture is notorious for its cross-platform support and microservices. Its framework is called Data Access Layer, and it allows you to use data without a specific database code. The .NET architecture currently uses ASP.NET Core and .NET Core, making it easy to optimize and support your web app.

If you choose Node.js for your server, you can build your architecture according to one of the three most popular web development patterns:

  • MVC (Model–View–Controller)
  • MVVM (Model–View–ViewModel)
  • MVP (Model–View–Presenter)

Node.js allows you to identify code elements to configure and route them properly. This architecture is great for data systematization, as it breaks logic into modules, and analyzes logs to make sure your web app works properly. With Node.js, you can build highly scalable and maintainable apps.

Cloud-based web app architectures are a big trend, as cloud servers allow for instant scalability and flexibility and provide easy full-system backups. To make your app architecture more robust, you can store data on both your local server and a cloud server. Cloud-based architectures are also secure if you develop them right, using identity management technologies to protect access.

Wrapping up

Deciding on your app’s architecture is the first step in web application development. There’s no best option when it comes to an architecture, as each programming language and framework has its own pros and cons.

Whichever architectural pattern you choose, it should ensure your product:

  • Is stable and doesn’t crash frequently
  • Can scale up and down
  • Is easy to maintain and support
  • Logs errors
  • Has robust security
  • Supports automated testing
  • Responds fast

Your app architecture should also correspond to your business goals, which is why it’s best to choose the technology stack with your development team after you’ve explained the vision for your web application.

If you need to develop a secure and reliable web app that will help your business grow, contact us. We’re a business-oriented company, and we’ll make sure your web app’s architecture performs well in the years ahead.

Mobindustry creates web applications of any complexity and scale, from MVPs for startups to large enterprise solutions.

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Application Architecture Guide - Chapter 10 - Presentation Layer Guidelines

Note - The patterns & practices Microsoft Application Architecture Guide, 2nd Edition is now live at .

- J.D. Meier, Alex Homer, David Hill, Jason Taylor, Prashant Bansode, Lonnie Wall, Rob Boucher Jr, Akshay Bogawat

  • 1 Objectives
  • 3 Presentation Layer Components
  • 5 Design Considerations
  • 6 Presentation Layer Frame
  • 8 Composition
  • 9 Exception Management
  • 12 Navigation
  • 13 Presentation Entities
  • 14 Request Processing
  • 15 User Experience
  • 16 UI Components
  • 17 UI Process Components
  • 18 Validation
  • 19 Pattern Map
  • 20 Pattern Descriptions
  • 21.1 Mobile Applications
  • 21.2 Rich Client Applications
  • 21.3 Rich Internet Applications (RIA)
  • 21.4 Web Applications
  • 22 patterns & practices Solution Assets
  • 23 Additional Resources
  • Understand how the presentation layer fits into typical application architecture.
  • Understand the components of the presentation layer.
  • Learn the steps for designing the presentation layer.
  • Learn the common issues faced while designing the presentation layer.
  • Learn the key guidelines for designing the presentation layer.
  • Learn the key patterns and technology considerations for designing the presentation layer.

The presentation layer contains the components that implement and display the user interface and manage user interaction. This layer includes controls for user input and display, in addition to components that organize user interaction. Figure 1 shows how the presentation layer fits into a common application architecture.

presentation layer of web application

Figure 1 A typical application showing the presentation layer and the components it may contain

Presentation Layer Components

  • User interface (UI) components . User interface components provide a way for users to interact with the application. They render and format data for users. They also acquire and validate data input by the user.
  • User process components . User process components synchronize and orchestrate user interactions. Separate user process components may be useful if you have a complicated UI. Implementing common user interaction patterns as separate user process components allows you to reuse them in multiple UIs.

The following steps describe the process you should adopt when designing the presentation layer for your application. This approach will ensure that you consider all of the relevant factors as you develop your architecture:

  • Identify your client type . Choose a client type that satisfies your requirements and adheres to the infrastructure and deployment constraints of your organization. For instance, if your users are on mobile devices and will be intermittently connected to the network, a mobile rich client is probably your best choice.
  • Determine how you will present data . Choose the data format for your presentation layer and decide how you will present the data in your UI.
  • Determine your data-validation strategy . Use data-validation techniques to protect your system from untrusted input.
  • Determine your business logic strategy . Factor out your business logic to decouple it from your presentation layer code.
  • Determine your strategy for communication with other layers . If your application has multiple layers, such as a data access layer and a business layer, determine a strategy for communication between your presentation layer and other layers.

Design Considerations

There are several key factors that you should consider when designing your presentation layer. Use the following principles to ensure that your design meets the requirements for your application, and follows best practices:

  • Choose the appropriate UI technology. Determine if you will implement a rich (smart) client, a Web client, or a rich Internet application (RIA). Base your decision on application requirements, and on organizational and infrastructure constraints.
  • Use the relevant patterns. Review the presentation layer patterns for proven solutions to common presentation problems.
  • Design for separation of concerns. Use dedicated UI components that focus on rendering and display. Use dedicated presentation entities to manage the data required to present your views. Use dedicated UI process components to manage the processing of user interaction.
  • Consider human interface guidelines. Review your organization’s guidelines for UI design. Review established UI guidelines based on the client type and technologies that you have chosen.
  • Adhere to user-driven design principles. Before designing your presentation layer, understand your customer. Use surveys, usability studies, and interviews to determine the best presentation design to meet your customer’s requirements.

Presentation Layer Frame

There are several common issues that you must consider as your develop your design. These issues can be categorized into specific areas of the design. The following table lists the common issues for each category where mistakes are most often made.

Table 1 Presentation Layer Frame

Caching is one of the best mechanisms you can use to improve application performance and UI responsiveness. Use data caching to optimize data lookups and avoid network round trips. Cache the results of expensive or repetitive processes to avoid unnecessary duplicate processing.

Consider the following guidelines when designing your caching strategy:

  • Do not cache volatile data.
  • Consider using ready-to-use cache data when working with an in-memory cache. For example, use a specific object instead of caching raw database data.
  • Do not cache sensitive data unless you encrypt it.
  • If your application is deployed in Web farm, avoid using local caches that need to be synchronized; instead, consider using a transactional resource manager such as Microsoft SQL Server® or a product that supports distributed caching.
  • Do not depend on data still being in your cache. It may have been removed.


Consider whether your application will be easier to develop and maintain if the presentation layer uses independent modules and views that are easily composed at run time. Composition patterns support the creation of views and the presentation layout at run time. These patterns also help to minimize code and library dependencies that would otherwise force recompilation and redeployment of a module when the dependencies change. Composition patterns help you to implement sharing, reuse, and replacement of presentation logic and views.

Consider the following guidelines when designing your composition strategy:

  • Avoid using dynamic layouts. They can be difficult to load and maintain.
  • Be careful with dependencies between components. For example, use abstraction patterns when possible to avoid issues with maintainability.
  • Consider creating templates with placeholders. For example, use the Template View pattern to compose dynamic Web pages in order to ensure reuse and consistency.
  • Consider composing views from reusable modular parts. For example, use the Composite View pattern to build a view from modular, atomic component parts.
  • If you need to allow communication between presentation components, consider implementing the Publish/Subscribe pattern. This will lower the coupling between the components and improve testability.

Exception Management

Design a centralized exception-management mechanism for your application that catches and throws exceptions consistently. Pay particular attention to exceptions that propagate across layer or tier boundaries, as well as exceptions that cross trust boundaries. Design for unhandled exceptions so they do not impact application reliability or expose sensitive information.

Consider the following guidelines when designing your exception management strategy:

  • Use user-friendly error messages to notify users of errors in the application.
  • Avoid exposing sensitive data in error pages, error messages, log files, and audit files.
  • Design a global exception handler that displays a global error page or an error message for all unhandled exceptions.
  • Differentiate between system exceptions and business errors. In the case of business errors, display a user-friendly error message and allow the user to retry the operation. In the case of system exceptions, check to see if the exception was caused by issues such as system or database failure, display a user-friendly error message, and log the error message, which will help in troubleshooting.
  • Avoid using exceptions to control application logic.

Design a user input strategy based on your application input requirements. For maximum usability, follow the established guidelines defined in your organization, and the many established industry usability guidelines based on years of user research into input design and mechanisms.

Consider the following guidelines when designing your input collection strategy:

  • Use forms-based input controls for normal data-collection tasks.
  • Use a document-based input mechanism for collecting input in Microsoft Office–style documents.
  • Implement a wizard-based approach for more complex data collection tasks, or for input that requires a workflow.
  • Design to support localization by avoiding hard-coded strings and using external resources for text and layout.
  • Consider accessibility in your design. You should consider users with disabilities when designing your input strategy; for example, implement text-to-speech software for blind users, or enlarge text and images for users with poor sight. Support keyboard-only scenarios where possible for users who cannot manipulate a pointing device.

Design your UI layout so that the layout mechanism itself is separate from the individual UI components and UI process components. When choosing a layout strategy, consider whether you will have a separate team of designers building the layout, or whether the development team will create the UI. If designers will be creating the UI, choose a layout approach that does not require code or the use of development-focused tools.

Consider the following guidelines when designing your layout strategy:

  • Use templates to provide a common look and feel to all of the UI screens.
  • Use a common look and feel for all elements of your UI to maximize accessibility and ease of use.
  • Consider device-dependent input, such as touch screens, ink, or speech, in your layout. For example, with touch-screen input you will typically use larger buttons with more spacing between them than you would with mouse or keyboard inputs.
  • When building a Web application, consider using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for layout. This will improve rendering performance and maintainability.
  • Use design patterns, such as Model-View-Presenter (MVP), to separate the layout design from interface processing.

Design your navigation strategy so that users can navigate easily through your screens or pages, and so that you can separate navigation from presentation and UI processing. Ensure that you display navigation links and controls in a consistent way throughout your application to reduce user confusion and hide application complexity.

Consider the following guidelines when designing your navigation strategy:

  • Use well-known design patterns to decouple the UI from the navigation logic where this logic is complex.
  • Design toolbars and menus to help users find functionality provided by the UI.
  • Consider using wizards to implement navigation between forms in a predictable way.
  • Determine how you will preserve navigation state if the application must preserve this state between sessions.
  • Consider using the Command Pattern to handle common actions from multiple sources.

Presentation Entities

Use presentation entities to store the data you will use in your presentation layer to manage your views. Presentation entities are not always necessary; use them only if your datasets are sufficiently large and complex to require separate storage from the UI controls.

Consider the following guidelines when designing presentation entities:

  • Determine if you require presentation entities. Typically, you may require presentation entities only if the data or the format to be displayed is specific to the presentation layer.
  • If you are working with data-bound controls, consider using custom objects, collections, or datasets as your presentation entity format.
  • If you want to map data directly to business entities, use a custom class for your presentation entities.
  • Do not add business logic to presentation entities.
  • If you need to perform data type validation, consider adding it in your presentation entities.

Request Processing

Design your request processing with user responsiveness in mind, as well as code maintainability and testability.

Consider the following guidelines when designing request processing:

  • Use asynchronous operations or worker threads to avoid blocking the UI for long-running actions.
  • Avoid mixing your UI processing and rendering logic.
  • Consider using the Passive View pattern (a variant of MVP) for interfaces that do not manage a lot of data.
  • Consider using the Supervising Controller pattern (a variant of MVP) for interfaces that manage large amounts of data.

User Experience

Good user experience can make the difference between a usable and unusable application. Carry out usability studies, surveys, and interviews to understand what users require and expect from your application, and design with these results in mind.

Consider the following guidelines when designing for user experience:

  • When developing a rich Internet application (RIA), avoid synchronous processing where possible.
  • When developing a Web application, consider using Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) to improve responsiveness and to reduce post backs and page reloads.
  • Do not design overloaded or overly complex interfaces. Provide a clear path through the application for each key user scenario.
  • Design to support user personalization, localization, and accessibility.
  • Design for user empowerment. Allow the user to control how he or she interacts with the application, and how it displays data to them.

UI Components

UI components are the controls and components used to display information to the user and accept user input. Be careful not to create custom controls unless it is necessary for specialized display or data collection.

Consider the following guidelines when designing UI components:

  • Take advantage of the data-binding features of the controls you use in the UI.
  • Create custom controls or use third-party controls only for specialized display and data-collection tasks.
  • When creating custom controls, extend existing controls if possible instead of creating a new control.
  • Consider implementing designer support for custom controls to make it easier to develop with them.
  • Consider maintaining the state of controls as the user interacts with the application instead of reloading controls with each action.

UI Process Components

UI process components synchronize and orchestrate user interactions. UI processing components are not always necessary; create them only if you need to perform significant processing in the presentation layer that must be separated from the UI controls. Be careful not to mix business and display logic within the process components; they should be focused on organizing user interactions with your UI.

Consider the following guidelines when designing UI processing components:

  • Do not create UI process components unless you need them.
  • If your UI requires complex processing or needs to talk to other layers, use UI process components to decouple this processing from the UI.
  • Consider dividing UI processing into three distinct roles: Model, View, and Controller/Presenter, by using the MVC or MVP pattern.
  • Avoid business rules, with the exception of input and data validation, in UI processing components.
  • Consider using abstraction patterns, such as dependency inversion, when UI processing behavior needs to change based on the run-time environment.
  • Where the UI requires complex workflow support, create separate workflow components that use a workflow system such as Windows Workflow or a custom mechanism.

Designing an effective input and data-validation strategy is critical to the security of your application. Determine the validation rules for user input as well as for business rules that exist in the presentation layer.

Consider the following guidelines when designing your input and data validation strategy:

  • Validate all input data on the client side where possible to improve interactivity and reduce errors caused by invalid data.
  • Do not rely on client-side validation only. Always use server-side validation to constrain input for security purposes and to make security-related decisions.
  • Design your validation strategy to constrain, reject, and sanitize malicious input.
  • Use the built-in validation controls where possible, when working with .NET Framework.
  • In Web applications, consider using AJAX to provide real-time validation.

Pattern Map

Key patterns are organized by key categories, as detailed in the Presentation Layer Frame in the following table. Consider using these patterns when making design decisions for each category.

Table 2 Pattern Map

  • For more information on the Page Cache pattern, see “Enterprise Solution Patterns Using Microsoft .NET” at
  • For more information on the Model-View-Controller (MVC), Page Controller, Front Controller, Template View, Transform View, and Two-Step View patterns, see “Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture (P of EAA)” at
  • For more information on the Composite View, Supervising Controller, and Presentation Model patterns, see “Patterns in the Composite Application Library” at
  • For more information on the Chain of responsibility and Command pattern, see “data & object factory” at
  • For more information on the Asynchronous Callback pattern, see “Creating a Simplified Asynchronous Call Pattern for Windows Forms Applications” at
  • For more information on the Exception Shielding and Entity Translator patterns, see “Useful Patterns for Services” at

Pattern Descriptions

  • Asynchronous Callback. Execute long-running tasks on a separate thread that executes in the background, and provide a function for the thread to call back into when the task is complete.
  • Cache Dependency. Use external information to determine the state of data stored in a cache.
  • Chain of Responsibility. Avoid coupling the sender of a request to its receiver by giving more than one object a chance to handle the request.
  • Composite View . Combine individual views into a composite representation.
  • Command Pattern. Encapsulate request processing in a separate command object with a common execution interface.
  • Entity Translator. An object that transforms message data types into business types for requests, and reverses the transformation for responses.
  • Exception Shielding. Prevent a service from exposing information about its internal implementation when an exception occurs.
  • Front Controller . Consolidate request handling by channeling all requests through a single handler object, which can be modified at run time with decorators.
  • Model-View-Controller . Separate the UI code into three separate units: Model (data), View (interface), and Presenter (processing logic), with a focus on the View. Two variations on this pattern include Passive View and Supervising Controller, which define how the View interacts with the Model.
  • Page Cache. Improve the response time for dynamic Web pages that are accessed frequently but change less often and consume a large amount of system resources to construct.
  • Page Controller . Accept input from the request and handle it for a specific page or action on a Web site.
  • Passive View . Reduce the view to the absolute minimum by allowing the controller to process user input and maintain the responsibility for updating the view.
  • Presentation Model . Move all view logic and state out of the view, and render the view through data-binding and templates.
  • Supervising Controller . A variation of the MVC pattern in which the controller handles complex logic, in particular coordinating between views, but the view is responsible for simple view-specific logic.
  • Template View . Implement a common template view, and derive or construct views using this template view.
  • Transform View . Transform the data passed to the presentation tier into HTML for display in the UI.
  • Two-Step View . Transform the model data into a logical presentation without any specific formatting, and then convert that logical presentation to add the actual formatting required.

Technology Considerations

The following guidelines will help you to choose an appropriate implementation technology. The guidelines also contain suggestions for common patterns that are useful for specific types of application and technology.

Mobile Applications

Consider the following guidelines when designing a mobile application:

  • If you want to build full-featured connected, occasionally connected, and disconnected executable applications that run on a wide range of Microsoft Windows®–based devices, consider using the Microsoft Windows Compact Framework.
  • If you want to build connected applications that require Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), compact HTML (cHTML), or similar rendering formats, consider using ASP.NET Mobile Forms and Mobile Controls.
  • If you want to build applications that support rich media and interactivity, consider using Microsoft Silverlight® for Mobile.

Rich Client Applications

Consider the following guidelines when designing a rich client application:

  • If you want to build applications with good performance and interactivity, and have design support in Microsoft Visual Studio®, consider using Windows Forms.
  • If you want to build applications that fully support rich media and graphics, consider using Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF).
  • If you want to build applications that are downloaded from a Web server and then execute on the client, consider using XAML Browser Applications (XBAP).
  • If you want to build applications that are predominantly document-based, or are used for reporting, consider designing a Microsoft Office Business Application.
  • If you decide to use Windows Forms and you are designing composite interfaces, consider using the Smart Client Software Factory.
  • If you decide to use WPF and you are designing composite interfaces, consider using the Composite Application Guidance for WPF.
  • If you decide to use WPF, consider using the Presentation Model (Model-View-ViewModel) pattern.
  • If you decide to use WPF, consider using WPF Commands to communicate between your View and your Presenter or ViewModel.
  • If you decide to use WPF, consider implementing the Presentation Model pattern by using DataTemplates over User Controls to give designers more control.

Rich Internet Applications (RIA)

Consider the following guidelines when designing an RIA:

  • If you want to build browser-based, connected applications that have broad cross-platform reach, are highly graphical, and support rich media and presentation features, consider using Silverlight.
  • If you decide to use Silverlight, consider using the Presentation Model (Model-View-ViewModel) pattern.

Web Applications

Consider the following guidelines when designing a Web application:

  • If you want to build applications that are accessed through a Web browser or specialist user agent, consider using ASP.NET.
  • If you want to build applications that provide increased interactivity and background processing, with fewer page reloads, consider using ASP.NET with AJAX.
  • If you want to build applications that include islands of rich media content and interactivity, consider using ASP.NET with Silverlight controls.
  • If you are using ASP.NET and want to implement a control-centric model with separate controllers and improved testability, consider using the ASP.NET MVC Framework.
  • If you are using ASP.NET, consider using master pages to simplify development and implement a consistent UI across all pages.

patterns & practices Solution Assets

  • Web Client Software Factory at
  • Smart Client Software Factory at
  • Composite Application Guidance for WPF at
  • Smart Client - Composite UI Application Block at

Additional Resources

  • For more information, see Microsoft Inductive User Interface Guidelines at .
  • For more information, see User Interface Control Guidelines at .
  • For more information, see User Interface Text Guidelines at .
  • For more information, see Design and Implementation Guidelines for Web Clients at .
  • For more information, see Web Presentation Patterns at .

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Web Applications Architectures: Components, Layers, and Types

Updated 13 Mar 2023



Technical Writer

Web application building offers a row of benefits to every business niche, making the project more profitable. In practice, the global progressive web application market value was $1.13 Billion a couple of years ago. It is forecasted to surpass USD 10.44 Billion by 2027, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31.9%.

According to Statista , in January 2021, the number of active Internet users globally was 4.66 billion, which is 59.5% of the entire population. What’s more, 92.6% (4.32 billion) people use mobile gadgets to surf the net. The popularity of progressive web applications (PWAs) and similar solutions for the web keeps increasing. Many companies of various scales have already profited from it by applying web architecture best practice for their business.

When you start a new web project, there’s always a question of how to architect a web application and which technologies to apply. Picked architecture determines the further logic of developing the app, the interaction of its elements, and functionality. Therefore, picking the right components for web application system architecture is significant for a project’s tech success.

We’ll cover the basics of web application architecture from this guide. Let’s discuss how the web app architecture works, what components, layers, and models exist.

Increasing number of Internet users globally

The progressing number of the Internet users in the world

What Is Web Application Architecture?

Web application architectures basically represent relationships between such components as user interfaces, transaction processing, databases, and others. The primary object is to ensure that all elements work together correctly. Together these components create web applications architectures. How do these elements operate and what are their responsibilities? Let’s cover their interplay mentioning all the peculiarities of this process.

Web application architecture determines the operation between apps, middleware systems, and databases, so that several applications work together. For example, when a user types an URL into a browser and hits ‘enter’, it makes a request to a server. Here’s how it happens on the server side:

  • Due to a qualitative web application server architecture, the browser applies the needed files and shows the necessary web page
  • Next, these files are processed by the browser to show the search query
  • Finally, the web solutions are ready for interaction

Most qualitative platforms with a modern web app architecture perform this process almost instantly, as no user wants to deal with time-consuming page loading. An important note to take for a higher understanding of web application architecture about the script analyzed by the browser is that it may or may not have specific guidance for the browser on how to react to a broad spectrum of inputs. Thus, website application architecture comprises utter sub-components and external interchanges for the complete solution.

Needless to say, the primary aim of web application architecture components is to carry out requests according to particular targets and requirements efficiently.

Architecture for web applications is vital since there is a widespread use of network traffic worldwide, and almost all apps and gadgets use web-based communication. Such solutions cope with scale, protection, efficiency, and solidity. The trends of this industry keep replacing each other, whereas consumers’ requirements keep progressing, making enhancement of project architecture for web application a constant process.

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A potent codebase is a must in case you want to build a top-notch architecture for web application. It will be able to productively operate even under a considerable workload. Besides, such a code will be sufficiently flexible to easily adjust to the changing business goals and provide users with great and smooth work of architecture design web application.

Best web app architecture also allows multitasking by splitting the structure into multiple fewer modules, which in the long run decreases the creation time. Moreover, updating your software functionality becomes more manageable without involving structure.

When it comes to security matters, the web-based architecture application separates the software into singly protected blocks. It helps to ensure high safety, avoiding security threats. Besides, a proper web app system architecture enables implementing new features and low delays, even with a growing number of users.

How Does System Architecture for Web Application Work?

After we’ve found out what is web application architecture, let’s discuss its components and their working principles. In practice, system architecture for web application contains two parts performing simultaneously, which are client (frontend) and server (backend) ones:

  • The code that the browser contains and responds to user input
  • The code that is located on the server and responds to HTTP requests

The first side comprising the system architecture diagram for web application is the frontend. It’s a visual part of the app, visible and interactive for users. The client-side code responds to the users’ actions. The backend isn’t visual for users yet makes their requests work. It manages the business logic and reacts to HTTP requests.

A frontend side creation involves the following languages:

Consequently, while entering your registration data into a blank, you interact with the frontend, and when pressing ‘enter’ to create an account, it’s the backend processing it. Operating efficiently, those two sides comprise a web application software architecture. The development flow of a web app defines the tasks the script fulfills according to the actions required to be done by the code.

To create the backend side, developers apply the following technologies:

  • Javascript, etc.

On top of that, a script that is able to react to HTTP queries is able to run on a server as well. You can observe the working principle on the web application architecture diagram below:

Web application architecture

How does a web application architecture work?

Layers and Components of Web Application Architecture

To better understand web application architecture, you should dive into its components and layers. Web applications separate their primary functions into layers. It allows replacing or upgrading each layer independently.

Basis Components of Web Application Architecture

Web app architecture has user interface components and structural components. The structure is also divided into client-side and server-side.

User interface components

The web application components of the user interface stand for all the interface elements like activity logs, dashboards, notifications, settings, and more. They’re a part of the web app’s interface layout.

  • Structural components

Web application structure includes components consisting of client and server sides:

  • The client component is created with JavaScript, HTML, or CSS. Web browsers run the code and convert it into the interface, so there is no need for an operating system adjustment.
  • As for the server component , it’s built with Java, .Net, NodeJS, Python, and other programming languages. The server consists of two parts: app logic and database. The app logic is the entire web app operation center. The database contains the information (like your login credentials).

Layers of Web App Architecture

There are four common layers of web applications:

  • Presentation layer (PL)
  • Data service layer (DSL)
  • Business logic layer (BLL)
  • Data access layer (DAL)

Presentation layer

PL displays the user interface and makes user interaction more straightforward. This typical web application architecture diagram layer has UI components that process and display data for users. There are also user process components which establish the user interactions. PL provides all the required data to the client-side.

The primary goal of the PL is to get input data, process users’ requests, send them to data service, and provide the results. It’s available through a browser and contains UI elements that cooperate with the system layer. Building web application architecture in Java, HTML, CSS is an indispensable part of competence for many developers. The HTML script aims to define the subject of your website; CSS is responsible for its exterior. What’s more, the web solution interacts and responds to clients’ input by applying JavaScript accompanied by its tools for web framework architecture. The most famous of them are Angular and React, which are helpful for creating motion content.

Business logic layer

BLL is responsible for the proper data exchange. This layer defines the logic for business operations and rules. Logging in the website is an example of a business logic layer. Two more names for this layer are Domain Logic or Application Layer, which completes the processing of customers’ queries from the browser and directs the ways of access to this data. So directions by which the backend obtains the data and client queries are encoded in a business layer. To illustrate, in the hotel booking system architecture of web application, business logic determines the consistency of actions a user will follow to book a room.

Data service layer

DSL of web-based application architecture transmits data processed by the Business logic layer to the presentation layer. By transferring the data operated with the BLL to the presentation layer, DSL protects the information of application web architecture by isolating business logic from the client-side.

Data access layer

DAL offers simplified access to data stored in persistent storages like binary and XML files. Data access layer also manages CRUD operations : create, read, update, delete. It is also called the persistence layer or storage, which is united with the business layer. This way, the logic is aware of which database to apply to and optimize the data obtained.

Third-party integrations

This part comprises advanced tools which may be implemented into your web application and software architecture, like payment gateways, authorization via social networks, GDS (Global distribution system), and geolocation support. During the web application development architecture, they are integrated with the backend script and called APIs. Their main advantage is the opportunity to obtain the data from other platforms and systems for your own use. Thus, your web application infrastructure architecture features become more sophisticated and don’t require from scratch creation.

Let’s observe the primary layers of a web architecture diagram:

Layers of web app architecture

Layers of web app architecture

We can also single out the three existing models of web app architecture design components. They are the following:

Single Web Server and Database

Such a simple web application architecture differs from others due to the usage of the one server with the one database. This characteristic turns the option to the least solid of the entire list. In case of a web and application server architecture failure, the model follows it as well.

Thus, this option is more rarely applied for building web applications. Yet, it is widely used to check the operation of test software and study the basic web architecture.

Multiple Web Servers, One Database

The peculiarity of this system architecture of web application lies in the absence of data storage. When a user provides a web server with data, it processes and saves it to the database, but its operation process happens outside the server. Hence, it’s called stateless architecture.

For this option, an architecture design for a web application should contain a minimum of two web servers. The crucial point is to build the well-founded model: if the server fails, the remaining one will handle the workflow. Therefore, the entire queries will automatically be redirected to another server, causing no influence on the web app’s operation. As a result, this model appears to be more solid in comparison to the previous one. Nonetheless, in case of issues with the web application database architecture, the app will break down.

Several Web Servers, Several Databases

The model comprising several servers is the most potent and stable one. That’s because servers, as well as databases, have a row of replacements. Consequently, a breakdown has two solutions: place data in every available database or divide it equally. In both cases, the web solution will stay unbroken.

Still, the option with data spreading may make it partially inaccessible if there are issues with the database.

Application Services

We’ve discussed common unified software models with their solidity and potency. Contrariwise, web solution services (microservices and serverless) possess higher flexibility as they streamline updates and scaling. The opportunities of this model comprise dividing web servers into sub-elements: ‘services’ in microservices and ‘functions’ in serverless. Accordingly, the transformation and scaling processes of each separate component are simpler to fulfill.

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Types of Web Application Architecture

It’s possible to single out several types of architecture in web application architecture, depending on how the app logic is distributed among the client and server sides.

Let’s categorize the most common web application architectures by dividing them into the user part and client part :

Frontend side :

  • Single-page web apps
  • Multi-page web apps

Backend side :

  • Microservices architecture
  • Serverless architecture
  • Progressive web apps
  • Isomorphic web apps

Let’s figure out the details of each type.

Single-Page App or SPA

SPA stands for a website platform that loads all the required data when you open the page. Single-page apps have one significant benefit — they deliver an amazing user experience since users don’t experience the reloading of a website.

Commonly, Java web application architecture design is applied for single-page solutions. Besides, a wide range of its frameworks like Angular, React, and others are highly useful for designing web application architecture as well. Well-known SPAs : Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Slack

Multi-Page App or MPA

Multi-page applications are more popular on the Internet since all the websites used to be MPA in the past. These days, companies choose MPAs in case the solution is pretty large (like eBay). Such solutions reload a web page to load or send information from/to a server via the users’ browsers.

Well-known MPAs : eBay, Amazon

Single-page application vs. multi-page application ? Read about multi-page and single-page application disadvantages and advantages.

Microservices Architecture

To understand the benefits of microservices architecture , it’s better to compare it with the monolithic model.

The traditional monolithic architecture of a web application consists of three parts: a database, a client-side, and a server side. It means that backend and frontend logic, just like other background tasks, are generated in one codebase. Thus, to edit or update the app component, software engineers have to rewrite the whole application. Monolithic applications are great for projects with elementary requirements, and the solution can cope with bounded traffic loads. In practice, it can be a web solution estimating taxes of an enterprise.

As for microservices, this approach lets developers create a web app from a set of small services. Then, developers build and deploy each component separately. To illustrate, a microservice option may be used in common social networking platforms comprising different elements like online chat, notifications, video streaming service, posting photos, and other features allowing social interaction.

Microservices' technical architecture of web applications is beneficial for large and complex projects requiring high level web application since each service may be edited to prevent the damage of other blocks. So if you needed to update a payment logic, you wouldn’t have to pause the website’s work for a while.

Well-known projects : Netflix, Uber, Spotify, PayPal

The following image comprises a comparison of monolithic and microservices web application architecture diagram:

Types of web application architecture

Monolithic vs. microservices

Serverless Architecture

This type of architecture makes developers use a cloud web application infrastructure from third-party service providers like Amazon and Microsoft. What does it mean? To keep a web application network architecture on the Internet, developers should manage a server infrastructure (virtual or physical), an operating system, and other server-related hosting processes. Cloud providers like Amazon or Microsoft offer virtual servers that dynamically manage the allocation of machine resources. In other words, if your app experiences a considerable traffic load your servers aren’t ready for, the app won’t be down.

Isomorphic Web Apps

Isomorphic type is one more web application architecture example of a modern approach. It’s a JavaScript solution that can be applied to the frontend as well as the backend. First, the user loads an HTML, where the JavaScript app is uploaded to the browser; after that, the operation happens like in SPA.

Web Architecture Development Tendencies In 2023

Let’s now discuss how to design a web application architecture in 2021 and make it in demand by applying this year’s trends to your solution.

Progressive Web Apps or PWA

One of the primary trends in web app development of the last few years is progressive web applications. They are web-based application architecture solutions designed to act like native apps on mobile devices. PWAs offer push notifications, offline access, and a capacity to install an app on your device.

To create a PWA, developers use web programming languages like HTML, CSS, and Java web application architecture. If the app needs access to devices' features, developers use extra APIs — NFC API, Bluetooth API, Geolocation API, and others. We all know such world-famous companies as Uber, Starbucks, Pinterest, which websites are PWA’s.

What are the PWA websites ? We’ve explained how a progressive web app works, its advantages, and limitations.

Cloud Migration

The cloud architecture of web application is a concept that comprises the server operation carried out by a cloud provider, like Amazon AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud. The essential advantage of this trend is data separation: a cloud-based solution is contained and operated by a local server and the cloud. Besides the protection, cloud-based web application architecture allows identity management for higher data security.

Artificial Intelligence and Bots

Another vast 2021 trend is 24/7 virtual assistance support widely applied among leading B2C enterprises for a higher customer satisfaction. Integrated with Artificial Intelligence (AI), these bots are able to self-learn and extend their databases to fulfill tasks more efficiently. Thus, enterprise web software development architecture integrating virtual assistance will boost up the client service.

We can meet web application architecture design example with chatbots in platforms like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Skype. You can also implement AR and a bot into PWA, typical web application architecture, or any application developed on the web server.

Want to know more about the virtual assistants building? Check our complete guide on chatbot development in 2021

Voice Search Optimization

Web development architecture advancement tends to have more voice queries, and we are not talking about interacting with smart home solutions like Siri, Google Home, or Alexa. In 2021, 48% of users will be applying voice solutions for making search requests. What’s more, by 2023, 40% of entire user interactions will be fulfilled by using AI and machine learning. Web applications comprising such great technologies will be more sought-after, as pronouncing the request is less time-consuming and more convenient than typing, so voice search may become a vital part of standard web application architecture.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (or IoT) is a system of interconnected devices that needs less or no consumer actions to complete operations and provide efficient outcomes. By 2025, it’s projected to be 30 billion such Internet devices. As a result, in the following year, we may observe a rising demand for such a technology that could advance safety with automated IoT workflow.

Besides, the Internet of Things will attract clients as it simplifies our daily tasks. Healthcare custom software development , retail, and agriculture are apparently primary IoT domains in 2021. In addition, the latest web application architecture UI trends are impacted by the IoT technology progress.

Web app development trends in 2021

Trends in web app development for 2021

Web Application Architecture Requirements

A high-quality architecture for web-based application is able to speed up the development flow and make it more efficient. In addition, an enhanced web app architecture is more scalable, open for modifications, tests, and more. For a web application architecture, best practices are the following:

Web-based applications architecture operation comprises evaluating the actual and projected speeds of an app, possible optimization, and productivity tracking, which contains a row of indicators. It allows determining optimization success or failure and instruments for assessing those metrics, which we will discuss in this part.


Extensibility is a design web application architecture concept that allows expanding and advancing the solution. Extensibility is an indicator of the solution’s capacity to progress and the amount of effort this process needs. Extensions may be implemented via the new functionality or by expanding the current one. The main concept implies developing the software avoiding the deterioration of already built elements.

Compliance with the open-closed principle

In a nutshell, the Open-Closed Principle (OCP) in web application architecture design defines that a functionality part can be extended yet can't be modified, implying integrating enhancements but not editing it. Thus, a process, service, or microservices that are the most corresponding to your web architecture are saved, and extra pieces are added to architecture of a web application to enrich the software capabilities.

Scalability and flexibility

The entire system's scalability and flexibility vary due to the architecture of a web application’s potential for scaling caused by the growth of the workload. Yet, the vital aspect in this issue is determining the most suitable option of the entire architecture. This point should be considered during the design stage of web app development. Thus, after the deployment architecture for web application, the workload surpasses the primarily set one, you won’t have to apply vertical scaling. Its cost is commonly higher, while the effect with the kept load increase doesn't last long. So, enhanced scalability is nearly best practice web application architecture may be built with.

Ease of testing

Checking the system architecture web application code architecture is a vital part of quality assurance when it comes to the development flow. This phase of manual code review or by the special automated tool is significant, and the testers should complete reviewing the script fast to minimize the time to market. A testable web application architecture design allows conducting time-saving and solid tests that are easy to write, execute and maintain.


The significance of reusability for website development architecture lies in the fact that such solutions are moving forward with leaps and bounds and are regularly modified. Code reusability implies using the readymade code to create the new web solution on the basis of this sample web application architecture. The existing code can be applied to fulfill the same action or may be repurposed to execute a similar function. The main benefits of this concept are decreased expenses and help create high-level architecture for web applications.

Well-structured and readable code

An excellent web architecture design meets two following requirements. Obviously, the operation correctness is prioritized: the performance outcome should meet the expectations. What’s more, the code should be readable for the other teammates. This aspect is crucial as code reviewing is an outright process. Unit tests are great for that, yet manual checking also remains quite efficient to detect script flaws and enhance web applications architecture.

Requirements for web architecture

Requirements for excellent web app architecture

How to Design Architecture for Web Application

It’s high time to proceed to a brief web application architecture tutorial by observing best solutions to apply for your project building. Web application structure consists of application components, middleware systems, and databases. They can be divided into two groups:

  • UI/UX components

As it was mentioned before, UI/UX web application architecture components include dashboards, statistical data, notification elements, layouts, activity tracking, and other elements. These components comprise the external web page look and set the base for clients’ interaction, whereas structural components contain the web app server architecture as well as the database server.

The competence in HTML, web application architecture in Java, CSS, Python, Java, Ruby, .NET, and Node.js is essential for their development. Due to the fact that web servers are an indispensable part of flawless web solution performance, web architecture technologies and their principles should be considered. Let’s discuss the best architecture for web applications more precisely:

Java web application architecture design provides an excellent versatility, conditioned by a great diversity of Java-based instruments. Therefore, it may be applied to build basic web application architecture as well as a more complex one. Besides, Java is a solution on how to design architecture for web application making it solid and flexible on a long-term basis, which is beneficial for web apps architecture of any scale.

AngularJS is a web application framework architecture that may be applied in the role of a platform and a framework for HTML and TypeScript. This web software architecture is based on developing blocks named NgModules. A great advantage worth mentioning is lazy loading, which enhances user experience and decreases the code volume.

Another widely used language applied to build an architecture of reliable web applications software in Python. Its script is terse and clear aimed at server-side scripting, which is a convenient option for specialists who have recently started working with Python or are currently scripting web apps architecture for their first project.

Moreover, Python offers instruments for further support of your web application software architecture. Due to its motion nature and shortcodes, this technology is suitable for building prototypes. Several Python frameworks can be used for building architecture web application from scratch, or applying other programming languages in the one project.

Node.js is a technology offering to design web application architecture founded on model-view patterns, comprising MVC (model-view-controller), MVVM (model-view-view-model), and MVP (model-view-presenter). The capabilities of its modern web app architecture patterns include script elements determining, configuration, and direction.

Node.js applies an entity-relationship model of web app architecture diagram for data and script structuring, splitting logic by modules, and operating significant insights from logs to ensure that the web project architecture is built correctly and works seamlessly. What’s more, every modern web application architecture requires app scalability, which may easily be achieved with Node.js.

Fundamentally, .NET web application system architecture is aimed at cross-platform maintenance, microservices, Docker containers, and side-by-side version management. Its Data Access Layer provides an opportunity to apply contained data with no particular database code involvement. Nowadays, this high-level web application architecture platform comprises ASP.NET Core and .NET Core, which vastly advances the functionality of this language, particularly maintenance and optimization.

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Bottom Line

As you can see, there's a wide range of best web application architecture platforms, and each one has a lot of peculiarities. We’ve covered only basics like components, layers, and types to explain web application architecture concepts. By applying to a professional software company, you can find out more details about web architecture, and receive a qualitative consultation to develop your own flawless product.

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Web app architecture basically represents relationships and interactions between such components as user interfaces, transaction processing monitors, databases, and others. The primary goal is to ensure that all elements work together correctly.

All applications consist of two parts: client (frontend) and server (backend).

The front-end is a visual part of the app. Users can see an interface and interact with it.

The client-side code responds to the users’ actions. The backend isn’t visual for users, yet makes their requests work. It handles the business logic and responds to HTTP requests.

Web architecture has UI/UX and structural components.

  • UI/UX components . UI/UX components stand for all the elements included in the interface like activity logs, dashboards, notifications, settings, and more.
  • Structural components . Structural components consist of client and server sides.

There are several web app architecture types:

To choose the right type of web app architecture, you need to consider your project requirements and business goals.

Author avatar...

Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics

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Common web application architectures

  • 18 contributors

This content is an excerpt from the eBook, Architect Modern Web Applications with ASP.NET Core and Azure, available on .NET Docs or as a free downloadable PDF that can be read offline.

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Architect Modern Web Applications with ASP.NET Core and Azure eBook cover thumbnail.

"If you think good architecture is expensive, try bad architecture." - Brian Foote and Joseph Yoder

Most traditional .NET applications are deployed as single units corresponding to an executable or a single web application running within a single IIS appdomain. This approach is the simplest deployment model and serves many internal and smaller public applications very well. However, even given this single unit of deployment, most non-trivial business applications benefit from some logical separation into several layers.

What is a monolithic application?

A monolithic application is one that is entirely self-contained, in terms of its behavior. It may interact with other services or data stores in the course of performing its operations, but the core of its behavior runs within its own process and the entire application is typically deployed as a single unit. If such an application needs to scale horizontally, typically the entire application is duplicated across multiple servers or virtual machines.

All-in-one applications

The smallest possible number of projects for an application architecture is one. In this architecture, the entire logic of the application is contained in a single project, compiled to a single assembly, and deployed as a single unit.

A new ASP.NET Core project, whether created in Visual Studio or from the command line, starts out as a simple "all-in-one" monolith. It contains all of the behavior of the application, including presentation, business, and data access logic. Figure 5-1 shows the file structure of a single-project app.

A single project ASP.NET Core app

Figure 5-1. A single project ASP.NET Core app.

In a single project scenario, separation of concerns is achieved through the use of folders. The default template includes separate folders for MVC pattern responsibilities of Models, Views, and Controllers, as well as additional folders for Data and Services. In this arrangement, presentation details should be limited as much as possible to the Views folder, and data access implementation details should be limited to classes kept in the Data folder. Business logic should reside in services and classes within the Models folder.

Although simple, the single-project monolithic solution has some disadvantages. As the project's size and complexity grows, the number of files and folders will continue to grow as well. User interface (UI) concerns (models, views, controllers) reside in multiple folders, which aren't grouped together alphabetically. This issue only gets worse when additional UI-level constructs, such as Filters or ModelBinders, are added in their own folders. Business logic is scattered between the Models and Services folders, and there's no clear indication of which classes in which folders should depend on which others. This lack of organization at the project level frequently leads to spaghetti code .

To address these issues, applications often evolve into multi-project solutions, where each project is considered to reside in a particular layer of the application.

What are layers?

As applications grow in complexity, one way to manage that complexity is to break up the application according to its responsibilities or concerns. This approach follows the separation of concerns principle and can help keep a growing codebase organized so that developers can easily find where certain functionality is implemented. Layered architecture offers a number of advantages beyond just code organization, though.

By organizing code into layers, common low-level functionality can be reused throughout the application. This reuse is beneficial because it means less code needs to be written and because it can allow the application to standardize on a single implementation, following the don't repeat yourself (DRY) principle.

With a layered architecture, applications can enforce restrictions on which layers can communicate with other layers. This architecture helps to achieve encapsulation. When a layer is changed or replaced, only those layers that work with it should be impacted. By limiting which layers depend on which other layers, the impact of changes can be mitigated so that a single change doesn't impact the entire application.

Layers (and encapsulation) make it much easier to replace functionality within the application. For example, an application might initially use its own SQL Server database for persistence, but later could choose to use a cloud-based persistence strategy, or one behind a web API. If the application has properly encapsulated its persistence implementation within a logical layer, that SQL Server-specific layer could be replaced by a new one implementing the same public interface.

In addition to the potential of swapping out implementations in response to future changes in requirements, application layers can also make it easier to swap out implementations for testing purposes. Instead of having to write tests that operate against the real data layer or UI layer of the application, these layers can be replaced at test time with fake implementations that provide known responses to requests. This approach typically makes tests much easier to write and much faster to run when compared to running tests against the application's real infrastructure.

Logical layering is a common technique for improving the organization of code in enterprise software applications, and there are several ways in which code can be organized into layers.

Layers represent logical separation within the application. In the event that application logic is physically distributed to separate servers or processes, these separate physical deployment targets are referred to as tiers . It's possible, and quite common, to have an N-Layer application that is deployed to a single tier.

Traditional "N-Layer" architecture applications

The most common organization of application logic into layers is shown in Figure 5-2.

Typical application layers

Figure 5-2. Typical application layers.

These layers are frequently abbreviated as UI, BLL (Business Logic Layer), and DAL (Data Access Layer). Using this architecture, users make requests through the UI layer, which interacts only with the BLL. The BLL, in turn, can call the DAL for data access requests. The UI layer shouldn't make any requests to the DAL directly, nor should it interact with persistence directly through other means. Likewise, the BLL should only interact with persistence by going through the DAL. In this way, each layer has its own well-known responsibility.

One disadvantage of this traditional layering approach is that compile-time dependencies run from the top to the bottom. That is, the UI layer depends on the BLL, which depends on the DAL. This means that the BLL, which usually holds the most important logic in the application, is dependent on data access implementation details (and often on the existence of a database). Testing business logic in such an architecture is often difficult, requiring a test database. The dependency inversion principle can be used to address this issue, as you'll see in the next section.

Figure 5-3 shows an example solution, breaking the application into three projects by responsibility (or layer).

A simple monolithic application with three projects

Figure 5-3. A simple monolithic application with three projects.

Although this application uses several projects for organizational purposes, it's still deployed as a single unit and its clients will interact with it as a single web app. This allows for very simple deployment process. Figure 5-4 shows how such an app might be hosted using Azure.

Simple deployment of Azure Web App

Figure 5-4. Simple deployment of Azure Web App

As application needs grow, more complex and robust deployment solutions may be required. Figure 5-5 shows an example of a more complex deployment plan that supports additional capabilities.

Deploying a web app to an Azure App Service

Figure 5-5. Deploying a web app to an Azure App Service

Internally, this project's organization into multiple projects based on responsibility improves the maintainability of the application.

This unit can be scaled up or out to take advantage of cloud-based on-demand scalability. Scaling up means adding additional CPU, memory, disk space, or other resources to the server(s) hosting your app. Scaling out means adding additional instances of such servers, whether these are physical servers, virtual machines, or containers. When your app is hosted across multiple instances, a load balancer is used to assign requests to individual app instances.

The simplest approach to scaling a web application in Azure is to configure scaling manually in the application's App Service Plan. Figure 5-6 shows the appropriate Azure dashboard screen to configure how many instances are serving an app.

App Service Plan scaling in Azure

Figure 5-6. App Service Plan scaling in Azure.

Clean architecture

Applications that follow the Dependency Inversion Principle as well as the Domain-Driven Design (DDD) principles tend to arrive at a similar architecture. This architecture has gone by many names over the years. One of the first names was Hexagonal Architecture, followed by Ports-and-Adapters. More recently, it's been cited as the Onion Architecture or Clean Architecture . The latter name, Clean Architecture, is used as the name for this architecture in this e-book.

The eShopOnWeb reference application uses the Clean Architecture approach in organizing its code into projects. You can find a solution template you can use as a starting point for your own ASP.NET Core solutions in the ardalis/cleanarchitecture GitHub repository or by installing the template from NuGet .

Clean architecture puts the business logic and application model at the center of the application. Instead of having business logic depend on data access or other infrastructure concerns, this dependency is inverted: infrastructure and implementation details depend on the Application Core. This functionality is achieved by defining abstractions, or interfaces, in the Application Core, which are then implemented by types defined in the Infrastructure layer. A common way of visualizing this architecture is to use a series of concentric circles, similar to an onion. Figure 5-7 shows an example of this style of architectural representation.

Clean Architecture; onion view

Figure 5-7. Clean Architecture; onion view

In this diagram, dependencies flow toward the innermost circle. The Application Core takes its name from its position at the core of this diagram. And you can see on the diagram that the Application Core has no dependencies on other application layers. The application's entities and interfaces are at the very center. Just outside, but still in the Application Core, are domain services, which typically implement interfaces defined in the inner circle. Outside of the Application Core, both the UI and the Infrastructure layers depend on the Application Core, but not on one another (necessarily).

Figure 5-8 shows a more traditional horizontal layer diagram that better reflects the dependency between the UI and other layers.

Clean Architecture; horizontal layer view

Figure 5-8. Clean Architecture; horizontal layer view

Note that the solid arrows represent compile-time dependencies, while the dashed arrow represents a runtime-only dependency. With the clean architecture, the UI layer works with interfaces defined in the Application Core at compile time, and ideally shouldn't know about the implementation types defined in the Infrastructure layer. At run time, however, these implementation types are required for the app to execute, so they need to be present and wired up to the Application Core interfaces via dependency injection.

Figure 5-9 shows a more detailed view of an ASP.NET Core application's architecture when built following these recommendations.

ASP.NET Core architecture diagram following Clean Architecture

Figure 5-9. ASP.NET Core architecture diagram following Clean Architecture.

Because the Application Core doesn't depend on Infrastructure, it's very easy to write automated unit tests for this layer. Figures 5-10 and 5-11 show how tests fit into this architecture.


Figure 5-10. Unit testing Application Core in isolation.


Figure 5-11. Integration testing Infrastructure implementations with external dependencies.

Since the UI layer doesn't have any direct dependency on types defined in the Infrastructure project, it's likewise very easy to swap out implementations, either to facilitate testing or in response to changing application requirements. ASP.NET Core's built-in use of and support for dependency injection makes this architecture the most appropriate way to structure non-trivial monolithic applications.

For monolithic applications, the Application Core, Infrastructure, and UI projects are all run as a single application. The runtime application architecture might look something like Figure 5-12.

ASP.NET Core Architecture 2

Figure 5-12. A sample ASP.NET Core app's runtime architecture.

Organizing code in Clean Architecture

In a Clean Architecture solution, each project has clear responsibilities. As such, certain types belong in each project and you'll frequently find folders corresponding to these types in the appropriate project.

Application Core

The Application Core holds the business model, which includes entities, services, and interfaces. These interfaces include abstractions for operations that will be performed using Infrastructure, such as data access, file system access, network calls, etc. Sometimes services or interfaces defined at this layer will need to work with non-entity types that have no dependencies on UI or Infrastructure. These can be defined as simple Data Transfer Objects (DTOs).

Application Core types

  • Entities (business model classes that are persisted)
  • Aggregates (groups of entities)
  • Domain Services
  • Specifications
  • Custom Exceptions and Guard Clauses
  • Domain Events and Handlers


The Infrastructure project typically includes data access implementations. In a typical ASP.NET Core web application, these implementations include the Entity Framework (EF) DbContext, any EF Core Migration objects that have been defined, and data access implementation classes. The most common way to abstract data access implementation code is through the use of the Repository design pattern .

In addition to data access implementations, the Infrastructure project should contain implementations of services that must interact with infrastructure concerns. These services should implement interfaces defined in the Application Core, and so Infrastructure should have a reference to the Application Core project.

Infrastructure types

  • EF Core types ( DbContext , Migration )
  • Data access implementation types (Repositories)
  • Infrastructure-specific services (for example, FileLogger or SmtpNotifier )

The user interface layer in an ASP.NET Core MVC application is the entry point for the application. This project should reference the Application Core project, and its types should interact with infrastructure strictly through interfaces defined in Application Core. No direct instantiation of or static calls to the Infrastructure layer types should be allowed in the UI layer.

UI Layer types

  • Controllers
  • Custom Filters
  • Custom Middleware

The Startup class or Program.cs file is responsible for configuring the application, and for wiring up implementation types to interfaces. The place where this logic is performed is known as the app's composition root , and is what allows dependency injection to work properly at run time.

In order to wire up dependency injection during app startup, the UI layer project may need to reference the Infrastructure project. This dependency can be eliminated, most easily by using a custom DI container that has built-in support for loading types from assemblies. For the purposes of this sample, the simplest approach is to allow the UI project to reference the Infrastructure project (but developers should limit actual references to types in the Infrastructure project to the app's composition root).

Monolithic applications and containers

You can build a single and monolithic-deployment based Web Application or Service and deploy it as a container. Within the application, it might not be monolithic but organized into several libraries, components, or layers. Externally, it's a single container with a single process, single web application, or single service.

To manage this model, you deploy a single container to represent the application. To scale, just add additional copies with a load balancer in front. The simplicity comes from managing a single deployment in a single container or VM.

Figure 5-13

You can include multiple components/libraries or internal layers within each container, as illustrated in Figure 5-13. But, following the container principle of "a container does one thing, and does it in one process ", the monolithic pattern might be a conflict.

The downside of this approach comes if/when the application grows, requiring it to scale. If the entire application scales, it's not really a problem. However, in most cases, a few parts of the application are the choke points requiring scaling, while other components are used less.

Using the typical eCommerce example, what you likely need to scale is the product information component. Many more customers browse products than purchase them. More customers use their basket than use the payment pipeline. Fewer customers add comments or view their purchase history. And you likely only have a handful of employees, in a single region, that need to manage the content and marketing campaigns. By scaling the monolithic design, all the code is deployed multiple times.

In addition to the "scale everything" problem, changes to a single component require complete retesting of the entire application, and a complete redeployment of all the instances.

The monolithic approach is common, and many organizations are developing with this architectural approach. Many are having good enough results, while others are hitting limits. Many designed their applications in this model, because the tools and infrastructure were too difficult to build service-oriented architectures (SOA), and they didn't see the need until the app grew. If you find you're hitting the limits of the monolithic approach, breaking up the app to enable it to better leverage containers and microservices may be the next logical step.

Figure 5-14

Deploying monolithic applications in Microsoft Azure can be achieved using dedicated VMs for each instance. Using Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets , you can easily scale the VMs. Azure App Services can run monolithic applications and easily scale instances without having to manage the VMs. Azure App Services can run single instances of Docker containers as well, simplifying the deployment. Using Docker, you can deploy a single VM as a Docker host, and run multiple instances. Using the Azure balancer, as shown in the Figure 5-14, you can manage scaling.

The deployment to the various hosts can be managed with traditional deployment techniques. The Docker hosts can be managed with commands like docker run performed manually, or through automation such as Continuous Delivery (CD) pipelines.

Monolithic application deployed as a container

There are benefits of using containers to manage monolithic application deployments. Scaling the instances of containers is far faster and easier than deploying additional VMs. Even when using virtual machine scale sets to scale VMs, they take time to create. When deployed as app instances, the configuration of the app is managed as part of the VM.

Deploying updates as Docker images is far faster and network efficient. Docker Images typically start in seconds, speeding rollouts. Tearing down a Docker instance is as easy as issuing a docker stop command, typically completing in less than a second.

As containers are inherently immutable by design, you never need to worry about corrupted VMs, whereas update scripts might forget to account for some specific configuration or file left on the disk.

You can use Docker containers for a monolithic deployment of simpler web applications. This approach improves continuous integration and continuous deployment pipelines and helps achieve deployment-to-production success. No more “It works on my machine, why does it not work in production?”

A microservices-based architecture has many benefits, but those benefits come at a cost of increased complexity. In some cases, the costs outweigh the benefits, so a monolithic deployment application running in a single container or in just a few containers is a better option.

A monolithic application might not be easily decomposable into well-separated microservices. Microservices should work independently of each other to provide a more resilient application. If you can't deliver independent feature slices of the application, separating it only adds complexity.

An application might not yet need to scale features independently. Many applications, when they need to scale beyond a single instance, can do so through the relatively simple process of cloning that entire instance. The additional work to separate the application into discrete services provides a minimal benefit when scaling full instances of the application is simple and cost-effective.

Early in the development of an application, you might not have a clear idea where the natural functional boundaries are. As you develop a minimum viable product, the natural separation might not yet have emerged. Some of these conditions might be temporary. You might start by creating a monolithic application, and later separate some features to be developed and deployed as microservices. Other conditions might be essential to the application's problem space, meaning that the application might never be broken into multiple microservices.

Separating an application into many discrete processes also introduces overhead. There's more complexity in separating features into different processes. The communication protocols become more complex. Instead of method calls, you must use asynchronous communications between services. As you move to a microservices architecture, you need to add many of the building blocks implemented in the microservices version of the eShopOnContainers application: event bus handling, message resiliency and retries, eventual consistency, and more.

The much simpler eShopOnWeb reference application supports single-container monolithic container usage. The application includes one web application that includes traditional MVC views, web APIs, and Razor Pages. Optionally, you can run the application's Blazor-based admin component, which requires a separate API project to run as well.

The application can be launched from the solution root using the docker-compose build and docker-compose up commands. This command configures a container for the web instance, using the Dockerfile found in the web project's root, and runs the container on a specified port. You can download the source for this application from GitHub and run it locally. Even this monolithic application benefits from being deployed in a container environment.

For one, the containerized deployment means that every instance of the application runs in the same environment. This approach includes the developer environment where early testing and development take place. The development team can run the application in a containerized environment that matches the production environment.

In addition, containerized applications scale out at a lower cost. Using a container environment enables greater resource sharing than traditional VM environments.

Finally, containerizing the application forces a separation between the business logic and the storage server. As the application scales out, the multiple containers will all rely on a single physical storage medium. This storage medium would typically be a high-availability server running a SQL Server database.

Docker support

The eShopOnWeb project runs on .NET. Therefore, it can run in either Linux-based or Windows-based containers. Note that for Docker deployment, you want to use the same host type for SQL Server. Linux-based containers allow a smaller footprint and are preferred.

You can use Visual Studio 2017 or later to add Docker support to an existing application by right-clicking on a project in Solution Explorer and choosing Add > Docker Support . This step adds the files required and modifies the project to use them. The current eShopOnWeb sample already has these files in place.

The solution-level docker-compose.yml file contains information about what images to build and what containers to launch. The file allows you to use the docker-compose command to launch multiple applications at the same time. In this case, it is only launching the Web project. You can also use it to configure dependencies, such as a separate database container.

The docker-compose.yml file references the Dockerfile in the Web project. The Dockerfile is used to specify which base container will be used and how the application will be configured on it. The Web ' Dockerfile :

Troubleshooting Docker problems

Once you run the containerized application, it continues to run until you stop it. You can view which containers are running with the docker ps command. You can stop a running container by using the docker stop command and specifying the container ID.

Note that running Docker containers may be bound to ports you might otherwise try to use in your development environment. If you try to run or debug an application using the same port as a running Docker container, you'll get an error stating that the server can't bind to that port. Once again, stopping the container should resolve the issue.

If you want to add Docker support to your application using Visual Studio, make sure Docker Desktop is running when you do so. The wizard won't run correctly if Docker Desktop isn't running when you start the wizard. In addition, the wizard examines your current container choice to add the correct Docker support. If you want to add, support for Windows Containers, you need to run the wizard while you have Docker Desktop running with Windows Containers configured. If you want to add, support for Linux containers, run the wizard while you have Docker running with Linux containers configured.

Other web application architectural styles

  • Web-Queue-Worker : The core components of this architecture are a web front end that serves client requests, and a worker that performs resource-intensive tasks, long-running workflows, or batch jobs. The web front end communicates with the worker through a message queue.
  • N-tier : An N-tier architecture divides an application into logical layers and physical tiers.
  • Microservice : A microservices architecture consists of a collection of small, autonomous services. Each service is self-contained and should implement a single business capability within a bounded context.

References – Common web architectures

  • The Clean Architecture
  • The Onion Architecture
  • The Repository Pattern
  • Clean Architecture Solution Template
  • Architecting Microservices e-book
  • DDD (Domain-Driven Design)

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Web Application Architecture: The Latest Guide 2024

  • April 26, 2024

presentation layer of web application

When a user logs on to this desktop/laptop or mobile, opens a browser and types the name of a website, the browser displays the required information, and the user acts on the site. Have you ever wondered how computers retrieve this information and what happens in the background? It’s an underlying web application architecture diagram that makes this process possible. In this blog, you’ll discover what a web app architecture is, how a web application architecture diagram looks, and how to design the right architecture for web apps.

Table of contents

Web application architecture components, what is a 3-tier architecture, layers of modern web application architecture, advanced and scalable web application architecture, web application architecture diagram.

  • Types of Web Application Architectures

Web Application Architecture Best Practices

An overview of web application architecture.

A web application architecture diagram presents a layout with all the software components (databases, applications, and middleware) and how they interact.  It defines how the data is delivered through HTTP and ensures that the client-side and backend servers can understand. Moreover, it also ensures that valid data is present in all user requests. It creates and manages records while providing permission-based access and authentication.  Choosing the right design defines your company’s growth, reliability and interoperability, and future IT needs. As such, it is important to understand the components comprising the architecture of web apps.

You can also read this blog on Medium

Typically, a web application architecture diagram comprises three core components: 

1) Web Browser : The browser, client-side, or front-end component is the key component that interacts with the user, receives the input, and manages the presentation logic while controlling user interactions with the application. User inputs are validated as well if required. 

2) Web Server: The web server, also known as the backend or server-side component, handles the business logic and processes the user requests by routing the requests to the right component and managing the entire application operations. It can run and oversee requests from a wide variety of clients.

3) Database Server : The database server provides the required data for the application. It handles data-related tasks. In a multi-tiered architecture, database servers can manage business logic with the help of stored procedures.

In a traditional 2-Tier architecture, there are two components: the client side system or the user interface and a backend system, which is usually a database server. The business logic is incorporated into the user interface or the database server. The downside of 2-tier architecture is that the performance decreases with an increased number of users. Moreover, the direct interaction of the database and the user device raises security concerns. Railway reservation systems and content management systems are a couple of applications that are usually built using this architecture. 

There are three layers of a 3-Tier architecture:

  • Presentation layer / Client Layer
  • Application Layer / Business Layer

standard web application architecture

In this model, the intermediate servers receive client requests and process them by coordinating with subordinate servers applying the business logic. The communication between the client and the database is managed by the intermediate application layer, enabling clients to access data from different DBMS solutions. 

The 3-tier web application architecture diagram is more secure as the client does not directly access the data. Deploying application servers on multiple machines provides higher scalability, better performance, and better re-use. You can scale it horizontally by scaling each item independently. You can abstract the core business from the database server to perform load balancing efficiently. Data integrity is improved as all data goes through the application server, which decides how data should be accessed and by whom. For that reason, a change of management is easy and cost-effective. The client layer can be a thin client, which means hardware costs are reduced. This modular model allows you to modify a single tier without affecting the remaining components. 

Building a layered modern web application architecture diagram helps you identify each component’s role and easily make changes to the corresponding layer without affecting the overall application. It enables you to write, debug, manage, and re-use code easily. 

The three layers of a web application architecture diagram:

  • Presentation layer / Client Layer 
  • Application Layer / Business Logic Layer 

Here is an extra Web Application Architecture diagram of layers for you…

web application architecture layers

Have you started your application modernization strategy ? Read the full blog to find out how.

Application Layer: Web Server

What is a web server? Simply put, a web server runs one or more websites or web apps. The web server uses HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and other protocols to view user requests via a browser. It processes them by applying business logic and delivering the requested content to the end-user. 

A Web Server can be a hardware device or a software program. 

  • Hardware Web Server : A computer device connected to the internet and contains web server software and web app components such as images, HTML docs, JS files and CSS style sheets. 
  • Software Web Server : It is software that understands URLs and HTTP protocols. Users can access it via domain names to receive the requested content. 

While a static web server delivers the content to the browser as it is, a dynamic web server updates data before delivering it. 

Apache is a popular open-source web server from the Apache Software Foundation. It was developed by Robert McCool in C and XML in 1995. Apache is based on a process-driven model wherein every request results in the creation of a new thread. The modular design of Apache allows you to scale individual resources easily. With minimal configuration, you can manage even large traffic. It works on MacOS, Windows, and Linux environments. However, Linux is the most preferred environment for Apache.

While it uses a file system to process static content, dynamic content is processed within the server. Using .htaccess files, you can perform additional configurations to the server settings.  Security is good. It offers support via IRC, Stack Overflow, and mailing lists.

NGINX is another popular web server called ‘Engine X.’ Developed by Igor Sysoev in 2004, NGINX quickly became popular. It operates on an event-driven model wherein thousands of requests are processed within a single thread, delivering more with minimal resources. It uses PHP to serve static resources and serves static content 2.5 times faster than Apache. Dynamic content is served via external processes. Regarding interpreting requests, Apache passes the file system location while NGINX passes the URI. This feature extends the NGINX capability as a load balancer, HTTP Cache, and proxy server.  

While it supports Unix-based OS, Windows compatibility is limited. You can’t make additional configurations. The smaller codebase offers better security. Dynamic modules are not supported. Along with mailing lists and IRC, Forum is available, too. 

NGINX has an edge over Apache as it serves as a web server and a proxy server. The event-driven approach that processes thousands of requests in a single thread offers greater performance, speed and cost-effectiveness. 

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Presentation Layer: Client-side Component (Front-end)

The client-side component of a web application architecture diagram enables users to interact with the server and the backend service via a browser. The code resides in the browser, receives requests, and presents the user with the required information. This is where UI/UX design, dashboards, notifications, configurational settings, layout, and interactive elements come into the picture. 

Here are some of the commonly used front-end technologies for web application architecture diagram:

front end technologies

HTML or Hypertext Markup Language is a popular standard markup language that enables developers to structure web page contents using a series of page elements. Developed by Tim Berners-lee and released in 1993, HTML quickly evolved and became the standard markup language globally.

CSS or Cascading Style Sheets is a popular style sheet language that lets developers separate website content and layout for sites developed using markup languages. Using CSS, you can define a style for elements and reuse them multiple times. Similarly, you can apply one style across multiple sites. It is simple and easy to learn.  You can apply a style for a single element, an entire webpage , or the entire website. It is device-friendly, too.

Browser compatibility and security are two areas that raise a concern. Similarly, different versions of CSS also create confusion. Developers are advised to check the compatibility before making any changes to the design. 

JavaScript or JS is the most popular client-side programming language, which has been used by more than 90% of websites recently. It was designed by Brendan Eich of Netscape in 1995. JavaScript uses a simple, easy-to-learn syntax. The language is so popular that every browser uses a JS engine to run JavaScript code on devices. It is easy to insert JS code on any web page, making it highly interoperable. It allows you to create rich interfaces to deliver a better UI/UX experience. Being on the client side, JS reduces the server load as well. 

However, developers should be careful about the security as the code is executed on the client side, which hackers can sometimes exploit.

React is an open-source JavaScript that has gained popularity in recent years. It was developed by Jordan Walke of Facebook in 2013. React benefits enable developers to easily create high-quality dynamic web applications with minimal code and effort. 

ReactJS is easy to learn and use. There is extensive documentation and plenty of handy tools available for developers. The code is reusable. ReactJS uses a virtual DOM, which means concerned elements are updated when a change is made instead of the entire DOM tree being rewritten. It improves efficiency and optimizes memory usage. ReactJS uses a one-way Data flow, meaning changes made to the “child” elements do not affect the “parent” element. The code is easy to test and SEO-friendly. 

On the downside, the ReactJS development environment is highly dynamic, so developers should proactively monitor the changes and quickly adapt new skills to leverage React. Moreover, React technologies are improving rapidly. However, the documentation cannot catch up with this pace. A critical area of concern is that ReactJS focuses on the UI part, and you need to depend on other libraries for client-side functionalities.

Vue.js is an open-source JavaScript framework written by Evan You in 2014. This framework enables developers to build web, desktop, and mobile UI interfaces easily. Vue.js comes with handy tools that serve basic programming needs. The tool is lightweight for downloads and installation. It is easy to learn and use. It uses a virtual DOM so that when a user interacts with an element, the browser does not have to render the entire page, only the element. The speed and performance are good. It uses a two-way data binding model, allowing you to track data and update related components more efficiently. The components are reusable. It easily integrates with existing apps. The documentation is concise and well-structured. Community support is good. 

While the community support is good, Vue.js is largely adopted by Chinese companies such as Alibaba and Xiaomi. As such, forums and discussions are often done in Chinese, creating a language barrier for English-speaking people. The tool kit suits basic projects but offers limited support for large-scale projects. Its flexibility can pose quality issues on large projects as well. GitLab, Alibaba, and Adobe are popular companies that use Vue.js.

Angular is an open-source web app framework developed by Google in 2016. It is a complete rewrite of the Angular.js framework. As of now, it is one of the most popular front-end development frameworks available in the market.

NGModules is the building block of Angular, offering all functionalities for developing applications such as components, modules, templates, directives, service and dependency injections, routing, etc.  It helps developers quickly build prototypes. It uses plain HTML templates. Testing is quick and easy owing to the dependency injection architecture style.

Angular uses two-way data binding, which makes DOM manipulations easy and quick. The CPU-performance enhancing features make it a good choice for large-scale apps. It comes with various plugin tools out of the box. Coming from the IT giant Google, Angular enjoys vibrant community support. The popularity and market value imply that you’ll find highly skilled Angular professionals in the market. 

However, the hierarchical structure can sometimes make debugging a challenge. Concepts such as Inversion Of Control, Dependency Lookup, and Dependency Injection require a steep learning curve. You need JavaScript installed on the machine to run Angular. While Two-way data binding is a great feature, it can slow performance on older and legacy devices. Integrating legacy infrastructure with Angular is a concern, too.

If you want to pick the best ones out of these front-end development tools, React and Vue.js are highly recommended. React is a lightweight tool with the best developer functions, enabling you to build quality software quickly. 

Vue.js is a view-oriented product that is lightweight, easy to use and comes with a powerful set of developer tools. You just need to load the interface and add JavaScript to get started. 

Application Layer: Server-side Component (Back-end)

The server-side component is the key component of the web application architecture diagram that receives user requests, performs business logic, and delivers the required data to the front-end systems. It contains servers, databases, web services, etc.

Here are some of the commonly used Server-side technologies:

back end technologies

Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform runtime environment developed by Ryan Dahl. It was built on Google Chrome V8 Engine to run network and server-side applications and was released in 2009. Developers use JavaScript to build node.js applications and run them on node.js runtime using Windows, macOS and Linux platforms. 

Node.js is highly popular as it offers a rich library of JavaScript modules, enabling developers to build quality applications quickly. Node.js doesn’t buffer data and executes code super fast. It is event-driven, asynchronous, and highly scalable on a single thread. Node.js best suits apps that are data streaming, data-intensive, I/O bound, and JSON-API based. Paypal, Uber, eBay, and GoDaddy are some popular applications that Node.js powers. It doesn’t suit apps that are CPU-intensive.

Java is one of the most popular and effective programming languages ever. Written by James Gosling in 1995, Java is an object-oriented and class-based programming language that enables developers to write code and run it on any platform using a Java virtual machine (JVM) environment. It means you don’t need Java on the target machine. The language is easy to learn, code, compile, and debug. Being platform-agnostic, Java programs are cost-effective to build and run. Leveraging OOPS concepts, you can reuse objects in other programs. It doesn’t work with explicit pointers, so unauthorized memory access is avoided. It supports multi-threading, portability, automatic garbage collection, distributed networking, etc. 

On the downside, Java requires significant memory space. Owing to the JVM abstraction, the programs run slower as well. There is no backup, either. The UX/UI is not attractive. However, the benefits of developing server-side components of the web application architecture diagram in Java outweigh the drawbacks.

Python is an open-source high-level programming language written by Guido Van Rossum and released in 1991. Today, it is a fast-growing and popular programming language and a strong alternative for building web app architecture in Java. It is simple to learn and develop and rich in features. This dynamically typed language is highly flexible and suitable for small and large web application projects and a variety of segments such as mobile apps, video games, AI programming, etc. It allows you to do more with less code, so you can quickly build and test prototypes that increase productivity. Python offers an extensive library that contains code for almost every type of program. With its vibrant community support always available. 

However, compared with modern languages, Python is slower. Threading issues are another concern. Python is not native to mobile apps. Google, Spotify, Instagram, and Facebook are popular IT giants that use Python.   Read our blog about Node.js vs Python and learn which one is better.

PHP Laravel

PHP Laravel is a PHP framework that helps developers easily build custom web apps. It is an open-source framework that is quite popular among other PHP frameworks. PHP Laravel is an MVC (Model, View and Controller)-based framework. 

Laravel syntax is elegant and expressive. With extensive built-in functions and structures, developers can easily write code and deploy apps faster. It improves performance and speed. Documentation is good. An important advantage of PHP Laravel is its automated testing feature that helps you to test and debug errors in the initial stage. Automatic tasks and scheduling are available, too. Object Relational Mapping support is elegant. PHP Laravel offers cross-site request forgery tokens that offer security. It is scalable and cost-effective.

However, product upgrades can create problems at times. The Laravel Composer can be improved. Community support is not so great since it’s a relatively new product. PHP Laravel best suits medium and small organizations.

Who can know PHP framework implementation better than an experienced engineer? Read our guide on how to hire a PHP developer .

Go Programming language comes from the IT giant Google, which gives it considerable strength in the first place. It was written by Robert Griesemer, Ken Thompson, and Rob Pike in 2009. Go is also known as Golang. It is similar to the C language and is easy to learn and build. With no virtual runtimes, Go code compiles faster and produces smaller binary. It uses static typing and interface types. The standard library offers a range of built-in functions along with testing support. Garbage collection is available. Concurrent programming is easy compared to other languages.

On the downside, the library support is not adequate. The community support is not receptive on some occasions. Implicit interfaces can be challenging to manage. Without generics, the reuse of code is not easy.

.NET is a software development framework developed by Microsoft and released in 2001 for desktop and web applications. Coming from the IT giant Microsoft,. NET quickly became popular for developing a variety of software products. 

.NET comes in 3 flavors:

  •  .NET Framework : It is the first product that was specific for Windows platform
  • .NET Core : The .NET Core was released in 2016 as a cross-platform solution to accommodate macOS and Linux platforms. 
  • Xamarin: Xamarin was not developed by Microsoft but was acquired by the company in 2016. Xamarin extends the .NET platform to support native mobile application development.

.NET Standard is a single base class library for .NET Framework, .NET Core, and Xamarin implementations. 

.NET is an Object Oriented Programming (OOP) model and uses a modular structure that enables developers to break down code into smaller pieces and seamlessly build and manage software products using CI/CD pipelines. It offers a robust yet simple caching system that improves speed and performance. Automatic monitoring in ASP.NET is an added advantage. The Visual Studio IDE is a single IDE that helps developers monitor and manage entire development operations from a single pane. Being language-agnostic and platform-agnostic, it allows you to use a variety of development environments. Deployment and management of code is flexible and easy. .NET comes with extensive documentation and community support.

However, object-relational support is limited. Memory leaks are a concern that needs careful attention while coding apps. Being heavily dependent on Microsoft results in vendor lock-in and higher licensing costs. .NET best suits enterprise products that require high scalability and cross-platform solutions.

Ruby is a popular programming language developed by Yukihiro Matsumoto of Japan in 1995. Time efficiency is one of Ruby’s biggest advantages. Combined with the Rails framework, it allows developers to build and deploy apps quickly. The tool offers an extensive library and helpful tools. It comes with built-in security to mitigate risks related to SQL injections, cross-site scripting software (XSS), and cross-site request forged (CSRF). Ruby has a supportive community and good documentation.

While developers can quickly build applications, the speed of the applications is a concern. That said, this problem mainly affects large-scale apps. Small and medium-sized organizations don’t have any issues in this field.

Ruby is not as popular as Java or Python. For this reason, it is not easy to find quality professionals for this segment. Airbnb, GitHub, Bloomberg, and Etsy are popular companies that use Ruby.

Among the server-side development tools, Node.js and Python are highly recommended. Node.js is an easy-to-learn, lightweight, developer-friendly, highly scalable, and extensible cross-platform solution. Python uses simple syntax, focuses on natural language, and makes it easy to write and execute code faster. The community is also very supportive.

Read our blog about the best programming languages .

Application Layer: Application Programming Interface (API)

Application Programming Interface (API) is not a technology- it’s a concept that enables developers to access specific data and functions of software. Simply put, it is a mediator that allows apps to communicate with each other. It comprises protocols, tools, and subroutine definitions required to build apps. 

For instance, when you sign in to an application, the app calls the API to retrieve your account details and credentials. The application will contact the corresponding servers to receive this information and return this data to the user app. A web API is an API available over the web via HTTP protocol. It can be built using technologies such as .NET and Java. 

With APIs, developers don’t have to create everything from scratch but use existing functions exposed as an API to increase productivity and gain faster time to market. By reducing development efforts, APIs significantly reduce development costs. It also improves collaboration and connectivity across the ecosystem while enhancing customer experience.

There are different types of APIs

  • RESTful API : Representational State Transfer API in lightweight JSON format. It is highly scalable, dependable and delivers fast performance, making it the most popular API.
  • SOAP : Simple Object Access Protocol uses XML for data transmission. It requires more bandwidth and advanced security
  • XML-RPC : Extensible Markup Language – Remote Procedure Calls use specific XML format for data transmission 
  • JSON-RPC : It uses JSON format for data transmission 

Application Layer: Server Instance / Cloud Instance

Servers or cloud instances are important to a web application architecture diagram. A cloud instance is a virtual server instance built, delivered, and hosted using a public or a private cloud and is accessible over the Internet. It works as a physical server that seamlessly moves across multiple devices or deploys multiple instances on a single server. As such, it is highly dynamic, scalable and cost-effective. You can automatically replace servers without application downtime. You can easily deploy and manage web applications in any environment using cloud instances.

Read our blog on How to Build an App Like Instagram .

Data Layer: Database

A database is a key component of a web application that stores and manages information for a web app. Using a function, you can search, filter and sort information based on user request and present the required info to the end user. They allow role-based access to maintain data integrity. 

When choosing a database for your architecture of a web app, the size, speed, scalability, and structure are the four aspects that require your consideration. For structured data, SQL-based databases are a good choice. it suits financial apps wherein data integrity is a key requirement.

To handle unstructured data, NoSQL is a good option. It suits apps wherein the nature of incoming data is not predictable. Key Value databases associate each value with a key and suit databases that store user profiles, reviews, blog comments, etc. For analytics, Wide Column databases are a good choice.

Read our blog on the best programming languages to develop your application.

The web app architecture is evolving. As such, organizations should proactively monitor these changes and realign the architecture accordingly. Here are a few trends to check out:

Caching System

Caching system is a local data store that facilitates quick access to data for an application server instead of contacting the database every time. In a traditional setup, data is stored in a database. When a user makes a request, the app server requests that data from the database and presents it to the user. When the same data is requested again, the server should repeat the same process, which is repetitive and time-consuming. By storing this information in a temporary cache memory, apps can quickly present data to users. 

Caching system can be designed in 4 models:

  • Application Server Cache : In-memory cache alongside the application server (For apps that have a single node)
  • Global Cache : All the nodes access a single cache space
  • Distributed Cache : Cache is distributed across nodes wherein a consistent hashing function is used to route the request to the required data.
  • Content Delivery Network (CDN) : It delivers large amounts of static data.

Caching Tools

Redis and Memcached are the two most popular caching systems with similar features. However, Redis offers a rich set of tools, making it applicable for performing various tasks. On the other hand, Memcached is simple and easy to use. 

The Caching system from AWS is called AWS ElastiCache. This web service enables administrators to scale and manage in-memory data store services in the cloud. AWS also offers a fully-managed Redis-compatible in-memory data store called the Amazon ElastiCache for Redis and a fully-managed Memcached-compatible in-memory data store service called the Amazon ElastiCache for Memcached. 

Cloud Storage (Amazon S3)

In a web application architecture, cloud storage is an obvious requirement. Cloud storage is about storing the data in the cloud and accessing it over the Internet. A cloud service provider provides the storage infrastructure on a pay-per-use subscription model. 

 As AWS is the most popular cloud service provider, Amazon S3 is the most popular cloud storage solution in web application architecture and environments across the globe. Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) is a flexible, cost-effective, durable, secure cloud storage service that offers high availability and scalability. 

cloud storage

In AWS, a cloud storage unit is called a “bucket” in which objects are stored. When a bucket is created, it is deployed in the region specified by the user. Once the deployment is done and objects are added to the bucket, the user can choose the storage class type along with features such as versioning control, lifecycle policies, bucket policy, etc. AWS manages the lifecycle management for objects, including IAM policy and data protection. 

Azure Cloud Storage is another popular cloud storage service offered by Microsoft Azure. The best thing about Azure storage is the high availability of 99.95% uptime and high security. The price of $0.18 per GB/month is highly cost-effective.  Azure has a comprehensive stack of administrative access and developer tools that helps organizations seamlessly coordinate across entire business operations.

Google Cloud Storage is a cloud storage offering from Google with a price tag of $0.02 per GB per month. It is available in multiple regions, offers high durability, and easily integrates with other Google services. The tool comes with good documentation.

CDN (CloudFront)

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a server network installed in various geolocations to deliver content faster and better to users. Instead of contacting the central server, the users’ request is routed to a CDN server that stores a cached version of the content. As such, site speed and performance increase and decrease packet loss. The server load is decreased. It also enables the segmentation of the audience and advanced web security. 

CloudFront is a popular CDN service for web application architecture diagrams. It acts as a distributed cache to deliver higher speed, low latency and better customer experience. Considering AWS’s global presence, CloudFront gives users a wider range of geo-locations. CloudFront integrates well with other AWS services, such as Amazon EC2, AWS Lambda, Amazon CloudWatch, Amazon S3, etc, to make your job easier. It is flexible, easy to set up, and offers high scalability. It also features elastic services and analytics. You can control access to the content as well.

Azure CDN is a popular content delivery network from the Microsoft Azure cloud platform that is easy to configure and use and offers low latency. 

Google’s content delivery network is called Cloud CDN. It leverages the globally distributed edge servers to cache content at the usage location to deliver content at high speeds.

CloudFlare is another popular CDN service. Though CloudFlare primarily offers robust DNS services and is not a traditional content delivery network, it acts as a reverse proxy to route traffic through its global network of data centers.

Load Balancer

As the name says, the load balancer is a service that balances traffic loads by distributing them across different servers based on the availability of predefined policies. When a user request is received in the load balancer, it retrieves the server’s health in terms of availability and scalability and routes the request to the best server. A load balancer can be a hardware component or a software program. 

Load balancing can be done in two ways

1) TCP/IP level Load Balancing : Load balancing based on the DNS

2) App-level Load Balancing : Load balancing based on application load

Load balancer tools: The original elastic load balancer in AWS is the AWS Classic Load Balancer . It works in the TCP layer (Layer 4) and the Application Layer (Layer 7). However, it forwards traffic only on one port per instance.

Another great LB is AWS Application Load Balancer, which works at the Application Layer (HTTP) and can forward traffic on multiple ports per instance. It also serves multiple domain names.

Multiple Servers 

In a traditional web architecture, you’ll see a web server and a database. The web server listens to client requests and contacts the database to provide the required information or process the business logic. When concurrent users increase, the web server will run out of resources. Even though upgrading the server configuration helps for a while, it provides limited capabilities and causes a single point of failure. Deploying multiple servers is a good choice to create a highly scalable web architecture.

While designing the multi-server architecture, organizations can connect multiple OS deployment servers to a single database or multiple databases. However, it is important to keep them replicated with appropriate content. Replication can be scheduled at specified times.

Message Queues

A message queue is a buffer that stores messages asynchronously and facilitates communication between different services in a web application. In today’s microservices environment, software is developed in smaller, modular, and independent building blocks that communicate with each other using RESTful APIs. Communication between these blocks is coordinated using message queues. Software components connect to the end of these message queues to send, receive, and process messages. Message queues provide granular scalability, simplify decoupling processes, and increase reliability and performance. 

Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS) is a fully managed publish/subscribe (pub/sub) messaging queue service offered by Amazon. Users can access the messages via any programming language using the web services API provided by AWS SQS. Messaging is processed asynchronously, meaning messages wait in a queue, and apps can access them later. 

Amazon SQS uses two types of Queues:

  • First-in First-Out (FIFO) : The message strings are processed in the same order sent. It is helpful for operations wherein the order of process is critical.
  • Standard Queues : The message string remains the same, but the order might change. It is helpful for tasks wherein messages are distributed to various nodes. 

AWS SQS supports 300 messages per second. Each message can be customized. You can retain messages for extended periods between 1 minute and 14 days. The ability to decouple app components helps to achieve high performance. It eliminates administrative overhead while keeping data sensitive. The compatibility with other AWS products helps you to integrate it with existing infrastructure easily. 

Over here, you can analyze the process from start to end with the help of a Web Application Architecture Diagram. It is important to consider the elements and resources that would take action on the flow, such as the API, cloud storage, technologies, and databases.

web application architecture and diagram

Types of Web Application Architecture

The architecture of web applications can be classified into different categories based on the software development and deployment patterns.

Monolithic Architecture

A monolithic architecture is a traditional software development model —also known as web development architecture— wherein the entire software is developed as a single piece of code going through the traditional waterfall model. It means all the components are interdependent and interconnected; every component is required to run the application. To change or update a specific feature, you need to change the entire code to be rewritten and compiled. 

As monolithic architecture treats the entire code as a single program, building a new project, applying frameworks, scripts, and templates, and testing it becomes simple and easy. Deployment is easy as well. However, as the code grows, it becomes difficult to manage or make updates; for even a small change, you must go through the entire process of your web development architecture. As each element is interdependent, scaling the application is complex. Moreover, it is unreliable, as a single point of failure can bring down the application.

The monolithic architecture will serve the purpose when you want to build a lightweight application and are on a tight budget. However, it makes sense to use a monolithic model when your development team is working from a single location and not spread remotely.

Microservices Architecture

Microservices architecture solves several challenges that are encountered in a monolithic environment. In a microservice architecture, the code is developed as loosely coupled, independent services that communicate via RESTful APIs. Each microservice contains its own database and operates a specific business logic, so you can easily develop and deploy independent services. 

Since it’s loosely coupled, microservice architecture provides the flexibility to update/modify and scale independent services. Development becomes easy and efficient, and continuous delivery is enabled. Developers can quickly adapt to innovation. For highly scalable and complex applications, microservices is a good choice.

However, deploying multiple services with runtime instances is a challenge. When the number of services grows, the complexity of managing them grows, too. Moreover, microservices apps share partition databases. It means you should ensure consistency across multiple databases affected by the transaction. Learn more about microservices vs monolith on our blog.

Container technology is the best option when it comes to deploying microservices. A container encapsulates a lightweight runtime environment for an application that can run on a physical or a virtual machine. As such, applications run consistently from the developer’s device to the production environment. By abstracting execution at the OS level, containerization allows you to run multiple containers inside a single OS instance. While it reduces overhead and processing power, it increases the efficiency as well.

Containerization enables developers to add multiple app components in a single VM environment instead of segregating code into different VMs, thereby gaining more application processing power. With its lightweight nature, containers run quickly. They are flexible, reliable, and best suited to policy-based microservices environments.

Docker is the most popular containerization technology that offers a comprehensive ecosystem for containerization technologies. It offers greater performance,  easy-to-use technology and large community support.

Serverless Architecture

Serverless architecture is a model for developing software applications. In this structure, an infrastructure service provider manages the underlying infrastructure’s provisioning. It means you only pay for the infrastructure when it’s in use and not for the idle CPU time or unused space. Serverless computing lowers costs as resources are only used when the application is in execution. The cloud provider handles the scaling tasks. Moreover, the backend code gets simplified. It reduces development efforts, costs and brings faster time to market. 

Multimedia processing, live streaming, chatbots, CI Pipelines, IoT sensor messages, etc. are some of the use cases for serverless computing.

In a microservices architecture, you can perform serverless computing using AWS Lambda, API Gateway, and API Step Functions. 

presentation layer of web application

AWS Lambda is a serverless computing service offered by Amazon. Launched in 2014, Lambda offers an execution environment for functions written in languages such as Python, C#, Java, Node.js, etc. It automatically provisions and removes servers as per the traffic requirements. You don’t have to upload the entire app, only the required functions, then trigger it to run the service. Lambda offers ease of execution, improved app resilience, and a cost-effective solution. On the downside, there is no control over the environment.

API Gateway

An API Gateway is an API management tool that enables you to create, publish, secure, and manage HTTP, WebSocket, and REST APIs. Acting as a reverse proxy, an API Gateway receives various API calls, performs service aggregation to fulfill those calls, and delivers the result. API Gateways help you protect your APIs, run analytics tools on APIs, connect a billing service, manage older and deleted APIs, etc. In a serverless environment, resources are provisioned based on the API calls. API Gateway helps you to deploy and manage serverless functions. 

AWS Step Functions

AWS Step Functions is an AWS visual workflow tool that enables developers to break a process into several steps. Automation of IT processes, building distributed apps, and machine learning pipelines becomes easy with this low-code service. You can quickly build and deploy reliable and highly scalable apps and manage stateful and fault-tolerant workflows with less integration code. 

Read our slideshow for an overview of the types of architecture.

Here are some best practices for designing a grand web application architecture diagram.

web application architecture best practices

Scalable Web Server

A scalable web server is critical to delivering consistent app performance regardless of the number of concurrent users, location, and time. There are three types of scaling options: horizontal, vertical, and diagonal. While vertical scaling is about upgrading/downgrading the device configuration, horizontal scaling is about increasing/decreasing the number of devices. Diagonal scaling is about combining both models. Choosing a horizontal scaling model is recommended as you will not be limited by configuration or number of servers. Moreover, you can mix vertical scaling where applicable.

Adapt the Cloud with Elastic Infrastructure

With hybrid and multi-cloud environments increasingly becoming popular, adapting to the cloud and proactively provisioning resources is key to delivering high-performing web apps. Elastic infrastructure comes with preconfigured network systems, VM servers, storage, and compute resources, allowing the environment to be easily managed with self-service portals. It gives the flexibility to quickly adapt to changing market needs and customer expectations.

Immutable Infrastructure

Simply put, Immutable infrastructure cannot be changed once deployed. It enables administrators to provision resources using code automatically. When servers are to be updated or modified, they are automatically replaced by newer ones. 

Configurational drift is a big challenge in mutable infrastructure. Scaling and debugging issues while replicating the production environment adds to this challenge. Immutable infrastructure uses a validated and version-controlled image to provision new servers for every deployment. So, the previous state of the server is not a concern. You can test servers before deploying them. It eliminates configurational drifts and allows horizontal scaling while offering simple rollback and recovery with consistent staging environments. 

Microservice and Serverless Approach

Microservice and serverless computing are both critical to web application development. However, the difference is that microservice architecture offers a long-term solution with high scalability, while serverless computing offers code efficiency. Serverless functions run only when they are triggered.  

By combining both models, you can gain the best of both worlds. You can use AWS Step Functions to assign triggers to combine several functions into a service and assign triggers to them. With event-triggered microservices, you can build a combined system to gain code efficiency, long-term stability, cost-effectiveness, and scalability. 

modernize your saas enterprise with aws

Multi-tenant Architecture

Web applications are now being delivered as SaaS applications. There are two models to deploy SaaS apps: single tenant vs multi tenant architecture .

  • Single-Tenant Architecture : A single standalone environment is created for each organization comprising the infrastructure, software, and hardware ecosystem
  • Multi-tenant Architecture : A single cloud environment with fully centralized and logically isolated services is shared by multiple organizations. 

For web apps, using a multi-tenant architecture offers multiple benefits. Organizations can manage a single-user code base, reducing overhead and code conflict issues. It also reduces server infrastructure costs through economies of scale. Along with reduced development efforts, it also brings faster time to market. 

Python/Node.js + React + AWS is the new trend in building SaaS web apps. 

Secure the Architecture with HIPAA, PCI, and SOC2 Guidelines

Building a secure architecture is a minimal requirement for any organization. Applying security protocols and policies not only secures your data and environment but it also helps you easily manage audit tasks and comply with government regulations. 

  • HIPAA : The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is an important requirement that health organizations comply with. It helps in reducing healthcare fraud while securing private health information.
  • PCI DSS : The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) defines a set of procedures and policies for financial organizations that deal with customers’ sensitive financial data. 
  • SOC 2 : The SOC 2 auditing procedure is key to ensuring that the cloud service provider securely manages your data. While organizations don’t have to comply with SOC 2 guidelines, following them to secure customer data is good. SOC 2 guidelines define the five trust service principles based on customer data management.
  • Availability
  • Processing Integrity
  • Confidentiality
  • Privacy  

Automate Your Code Deployments in a DevOps CI/CD Environment

Deployment automation is about easily automating the process of code movement between testing and production environments. It enables developers to quickly and frequently deploy code to production without human intervention. AWS offers a fully managed deployment service in the form of AWS CodeDeploy. It enables you to deploy code automatically to various environments such as AWS Lambda, AWS Fargate, Amazon EC2, or on-premise.

Deployment Automation is a part of the DevOps Continuous Integration / Continuous Deployment pipeline. It consists of three important phases: build, test, and deploy. When the code is written, it is automatically tested and added to the central repository. These changes are validated and added to the application. Automating testing runs various tests at different levels to ensure the code is error-free. Then, the code is automatically deployed to production. 

Build your web architecture with Infrastructure as Code Tools

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is a method of automatically provisioning the infrastructure using code. It helps you treat servers, networks, databases, and other IT resources as software and manage them using config files. As such, you can spin up resources instantly on-demand, manage configuration consistency, and eliminate configuration drifts while increasing software development efficiency. It reduces software development costs as well. Terraform and AWS CloudFormation are two most popular IaC tools . 

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presentation layer of web application

Web Application Architecture Conclusion

In today’s highly competitive software world, creating quality products and services is not enough to gain customers’ trust. How you deliver the products and services to your customers matters the most. Web applications help you to do so. As such, organizations must create and deploy highly optimized web apps that cost-effectively deliver speed, performance, and superior customer UI/UX experience. Designing the right web app architecture is crucial here. 

Also read: How to Build a Fintech App

Web Application Architecture FAQ

It would help if you chose the model of web applications based on the number of databases and servers used in the application. There are three popular models: One database and one web server  One Database and multiple web servers Multiple databases and multiple web servers

The web application architecture diagram talks about the high-level components of the application and how they interact with each other, while web application design talks about the code level design and how each service or function interacts with other components of the application.

MVC stands for Model-View-Controller. The MVC architecture splits the app logic into three components based on the functionality.  Model: Data storage model View: Components that the user can view Controller: Intermediate component between the model and view components

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Guide on Web Application Architecture

Web Application Architecture


Web application architecture always plays a crucial role in setting up the foundation of business apps. It becomes necessary to consider understanding the concept characteristics and the behavior of the architecture.

This understanding ensures meeting the business needs and the goals in a hassle-free manner. That said, in this article, you would be getting the answer to what is web application architecture? You will also get access to highlights on the web application architecture layers, components, models and its types alongside the best practices for giving you enhanced results.

Our guide on Web Application Architecture suggests that the quality induced web architecture turns out to be the de facto of the good products and is always instrumental for the information and the data flow to achieve the desired business rules. That being said, it can work in the blueprint for the data and information flow while solving the business issues effectively.

Definition of web application architecture

Web application architecture refers to the pattern of the interaction between the various Web Application Components. The type of the application architecture is completely dependent on how the application will be finding distribution among the client and the server-side.

How does web application architecture work?

The web applications will have the client-side these other two programs that are always running concurrently. The code of modern web application architecture lives in the browser and keeps responding to the user input, and again the code which lives on the server responds to the HTTP request whenever you’re writing.

It is always up to the Web app developers to decide what the code on the server should be doing about what the code on the browser should do.

There will be all languages like PHP, Java, Python, JavaScript, Ruby On Rails, and C# with the server-side code. All the courts can respond to the HTTP request and always have a capability for running on the server. Certain attributes make it favorable. The client-side most popular programming languages include CSS, JavaScript, and HTML.

Apart from these, additional components like the database server will be sending the requested data to the server-side. The server always works for catching the request and sending it to the data storage for the page’s location and requesting for the data to get displayed on the browser.

Layers of Web App Architecture

There are commonly four layers of the web applications- presentation layer abbreviated as PL, data service layer abbreviated as DSL, business logic layer abbreviated as BLL, and the data access layer added as DAL.

  • The presentation layer is the one that displays a user interface and always makes the user interaction more straightforward and also comes with the UI components helping in showing data for the users. They are also good enough for setting user interactions in a hassle-free manner. It can give all the required information to the client side. The primary goal is to always get the input data and the user’s request by sending them to the data service and showing the results.
  • The business logic layer is responsible for considering the practices for the proper data exchange. The layer always sets definitions for the logic for the business operations as well as the rules.
  • Again, the data service layer works for processing the business logic layer to the presentation layer and always guarantees data security. Besides, it can work for isolation of the business logic from the client-side. The data access layer is fit to simplify access to the data stored in the persistent storage like the binary and the XML files. The data access layer also works for managing, creating, reading updates and delete operations.

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Web application components

The web application components are broadly classified into two parts.

  • The user interfaces components are the ones that work in the form of the part of the visual interface related to the web application and have no interaction with architecture.

That said, they are vulnerable to the restriction to the display of the web page and consist of the activity logs, dashboards configuration, settings, widgets, statistics, and notification. Overall it was for enhancing the user experience.

  • Structural web components always consist of the client and the server components. These are the components that exist in the user’s browser and will be helping in the interaction with the functionality of the web applications. JavaScript, HTML, CSS are the commonly used entities for building the components.

On the other side, the server components bifurcate into the web app server handling the business logic and database server for storing the data. PHP, Python, Java, node.js, .NET, and Ruby on Rails are some of the famous frameworks used to create the server components.

Models of Web Applications

For the right web architecture of the components, always should consider the future with applications performance.

One web server with the database is the simplest and the riskiest model where there is a single database in the form of the part of the web apps only server. In case the server goes down, the web will be going down as well.

The 2 + web browsers with one database are the idea where the web servers don’t need to store any data. Even when it is getting the information from the client, the web server will be processing and writing the data to the database and forgetting about it. When there are at least two webs there will be a reduced failure risk. If one of the webs is going down, then another is going to take over that immediately. However, one database will always be associated with the performance risk. The risk is in the form that if it crashes, then the entire system is going to crash.

Let’s now discuss the 2 + web service that serves with the two-plus databases. This model will be considered risk-proof because neither the webs nor the databases have their single points of failure. When the web application development project continues, and more than 5 services of the databases are there, the frameworks will be working to store the identical data on each of the database machines.

Again there is an alternative to evenly distribute the data between the databases. Get the advantage of the storage space-saving. The option turns out to be a risky one for becoming vulnerable to unavailability in the event of a database crash.

Microservices and serverless is another entity. The three models that we have mentioned above are always referred to as monolithic due to the stability and the rigid nature of web browsers. On the other hand, the microservices, AWS serverless architecture, have found the information for the simple reason of bringing simplicity to the web browsers.

By simplifying the upgrades and scaling in both the models will get the smaller components like the services and the functions. Each of these smaller components always considers the separate container and finds treatment independently that can be easier for modifying or scaling.

Types of Web Application Architecture

It is always a good practice to consider selecting the most appropriate architecture while considering certain aspects. Always pay attention to the app logic, functionalities, features, and business requirements. Here is a division of web application architecture.

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Web Application Architecture Best Practices & Tools

The designing of the architecture is always the first step, but you will always have to consider certain practices that can ensure good results for better success. For the avoidance of problematic circumstances, it’s always good to follow the practices.

  • Make sure about ensuring the system flexibility and efficiency
  • Pay attention to your component reusability
  • Always pay attention to high scalability stability as well as reliability.
  • Make sure the structure of the code is a refined one
  • Pay attention to easy bug detection and utilize the A/B testing. For that, also pay attention to the utilization of the security standards.
  • Ensure sectioning to collect the user feedback and the tools that will give you the best experience.

Some of the tools are as follows:

  • IDE tools: some of the most famous are Webstorm, NetBeans, AWS cloud9, ensuring working with productivity enhancement. Eighty percent of software developers are relying on these tools.
  • UX builder tools: Figma, Sketch are some of the commonly used tools that can improve the user experience. Standard UI toolkit reduced project development and testing time by 33 percent .
  • Frameworks and libraries: React, Angular, Express are some popular frameworks working to deliver quality and product. More than 5 million developers in around 200 countries use frameworks for the projects.
  • Integration tools: Multisoft, Jitterbit, are some of the famous tools that can ensure the delivery of a seamless, engaging and unified experience.

Key Takeaways

Web application architecture is always working in the form of the backbone of an application. There are chances of miscalculations and inaccuracy at every stage that turn out to be quite costly.

So always pay attention to the strategies and the tools you will have to use to eradicate the issues related to the web application architecture.

If you want to build a successful web application or have any feedback regarding the article then you contact us or comment below.

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DevOps and Security Glossary Terms

Web application development - definition & overview, what is web application development.

Web application development describes the process of designing, building, testing and deploying web-based applications that will be installed on remote servers and delivered to users or customers via the internet. Once a web application has been deployed on an application server, users can access the application and its functions and services using any web browser (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, etc.)

Key takeaways

  • Web application development is a collaborative effort between front-end and back-end developers.
  • Web apps are less costly to develop than native apps, as they employ a single user interface and back-end systems for users across all platforms.
  • Web application development typically results in software with limitations in leveraging native features on the user's device.
  • There are two basic roles in web application development: front-end developer and back-end developer.

Web application development vs. native application development

When an IT organization recognizes the need to develop new functions or services in the form of an application, one of the first decision points is whether to build a native application or a web application. IT organizations must be aware of the subtle differences and unique advantages offered by each model, as their choice will determine what infrastructure is required, how the app will be distributed, the cost of the project and many other factors.

Let's start by outlining the basic differences between web applications and native applications:

A web app is internet-enabled and accessed via the browser on a personal computer or mobile device. The user does not need to download any content to use the application. A native app is developed for a specific device or operating system. It must either be purchased in a hard format or downloaded onto a computer or mobile device before it will function.

Native apps can be more expensive to develop, especially because developers must customize the application based on the mobile platform or operating system for which it is intended. Different platforms may require developers to use different programming languages, which multiplies the work for development teams releasing a native app on multiple platforms.

Web apps are less costly to develop, as they employ a single user interface and back-end systems for users across all platforms. Organizations that build web applications do not require approval from any app marketplace, but they also lose out on the opportunity for app store distribution and payment processing. This may not always be a drawback though, as it gives the developer more control over monetization and their choice of payment processing mechanisms.

Native apps are also better at making use of the native features of a device - microphones, cameras, biometric sensors, and others. Web application development typically results in software that is limited in how it can leverage native features on the user's device.

Web application development roles and responsibilities

Web applications follow many of the same design principles as native applications, but their fundamental architecture lends itself to a web-based deployment model where application resources are stored on remote servers (often in the cloud) instead of on the user's personal computer.

Web application development is a collaborative effort between front-end and back-end developers, although some organizations employ full-stack developers that can fit into either role. Web application development also requires unique consideration when it comes to functional and non-functional testing and securing the host environment against malicious cyber attacks.

There are two basic roles in web application development: front-end developer and back-end developer. To understand their unique roles and responsibilities, we should start with a basic outline of web application architecture. The simplest web application architecture is based on a three-tier or three-layer model:

The Presentation Layer is the front-end layer of the application. Its main component is a graphical user interface (GUI) that allows users to interact with the application, accessing its functions and services.

The Business Layer contains the application and business logic that facilitate the functions and services that the application provides. The logic for all application services is contained within the business layer, which sits between the presentation layer and the data layer.

The Data Layer is a back-end system that houses any data required for the application to deliver services and functionality to users.

With our three-tier model defined, we can now effectively differentiate between front-end and back-end developers.

Front-end developers are responsible for programming the presentation layer. They are experts in web technologies like Javascript, HTML5, and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), incorporating these technologies to build a user interface that is both aesthetic and functional. Front-end developers may also be referred to as user interface/user experience (UI/UX) designers.

Back-end developers program the business layer and data layer of an application. The internal logic of a web application is more likely to be programmed in Java, .NET, Python or C++. Back-end developers also program the API calls that will allow the application layer to query the data layer.

In general, front-end developers program the way that an application looks while back-end developers focus on the functional aspects of web application development.

Web application development and cloud services

The cloud computing service model has empowered web application development teams with low-cost access to the computing resources, data storage and testing infrastructure that is necessary to build, host and maintain web applications. Software development teams generally choose between two cloud service deployment models to support their development process: infrastructure-as-a-service ( IaaS ) and platform-as-a-service ( PaaS ).

In the IaaS model, a cloud service provider supplies a physical data center with servers and data storage along with networking and security capabilities. A PaaS subscription includes all of these capabilities, along with operating systems and a range of web application development, database management and business analytics tools and capabilities that support the development process. The PaaS solution stack is designed to provide developers with the tools they need to develop a functional product, including source code control, test automation, and management tools, versioning and more.

Sumo Logic supports web application development in the cloud

IT organizations engaged in web application development depend heavily on their cloud infrastructure as they build, test and deploy new features. Sumo Logic provides a cloud security and operational analytics platform that helps developers monitor the behavior and health of applications deployed in the cloud.

With Sumo Logic, front-end developers can access real-time business analytics to assess the impact of GUI changes on user behavior. Back-end developers can monitor the latency, volume and overall performance of requests to the application's back-end, ensuring that code is optimized to deliver the best user experience.

Web application developers can use Sumo Logic's data analytics capabilities to streamline troubleshooting and issue resolution, enhance cloud security and reduce overall time to market.

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What is the Presentation Layer in Programming?

Trevor Page

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The presentation layer is one of the three main layers in object-oriented programming.

The three main layers include:

  • Presentation Layer
  • Business Layer

Now, these three layers are typically related to enterprise web applications. It's a design pattern used to help separate your code out in three distinct areas that (if need be) can easily be switched out with another programming language or technology.

So if you keep all of your presentation layer code in one area of your application, switching presentation layer technologies shouldn't be too difficult.

Same rules apply to the business and data layers. If you separated your code out properly, switching databases shouldn't be too big of an issue.

Having said that, we'll be focusing on the presentation layer.

The four big players (in terms of technology) in the presentation layer are as follows:

Let’s dive into the overviews of each of these big players, shall we?

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is a technology used to communicate with web browsers. All browsers follow the rules laid out in HTML (currently in its 5th iteration).

HTML defines a bunch of different HTML elements known as tags that are put together to make up the basic layout of a web page. These tags are used to define things like the title of the webpage (which appears in the tab of your browser), the actual text that appears on the page, images, buttons and more.

Thankfully HTML isn’t too tough to learn as it’s more of a game of memorizing the most popular tags and using them to create your simple web pages. HTML is not a programming language, as it doesn’t define variables, data types, control structure or the like. This is also what makes it fairly easy to learn.

We’ll be diving into examples of HTML “code” later, so stay tuned.

CSS (cascading style sheets) is used to add some “pizazz” to your web pages. CSS is used to add a design look and feel to your web pages through the use of its cascading rules. We won’t get into the exact rules that CSS uses to apply its designs just yet, but again, stay tuned for a more in depth explanation.

All you need to know is that CSS is used to make a web page look nice. You can use it to choose which parts of the web page should be which color, how big or small elements should be, what fonts should be used and more.

If you’ve ever landed on a web page that wasn’t able to properly load its CSS, you’d likely think that the website was completely broken. It is often fixed by forcing the page to reload and then the CSS usually gets picked up the second time and everything loads properly and the website goes back to looking great. This situation is quite rare, but I thought I’d mention it because it’s a great example of just how powerful CSS is.

JavaScript is used to make your web pages interactive. It allows you to put some real programming functionality into web pages (as HTML is not a programming language and thus cannot add real programming elements to a page).

Examples of what JavaScript can do is when you’re logging into an application and you forget to provide information in one of the fields. JavaScript can detect that you’ve forgotten to type in your username or password and can provide you with a prompt explaining that you need to fill in your username and password before you can continue.

JavaScript shouldn’t be confused with Java, as they are two different technologies. Java is part of the business layer and has no place in the presentation layer. Java is known as a server side language, as it exists and runs on servers. JavaScript is known as a client side technology, and thus lives where the “clients” are, which is inside the actual web browsers.

A good way to think of the difference between the two languages is that when you land on a web page and it loads in your browser, it will also load any JavaScript code inside the page and you’ll actually be able to access that code and read it. Whereas, you’d never be able to read the Java code, as it’s not loaded in your browser because it’s a server side technology.

That simple distinction between the two languages makes for two very different languages in terms of their use and functionality.

The syntax for JavaScript, however, is fairly similar to Java. This is nice since you’ll be able to look at a piece of JavaScript code and more or less understand what’s going on. So you should be able to pick up the JavaScript language a lot quicker if you already have a good command of the Java language.

JQuery is a technology that’s used in tandem with JavaScript. JQuery makes your life as a web programmer so much easier for one reason, it allows you to write code once and have it work across all the browsers.

In today’s world we have so many browsers that can be downloaded for free and used to peruse the web. This actually makes building websites a bit challenging, as every browser has made up their own minds on how to “render” an HTML web page.

This means that a webpage loaded on Safari might not look the same as if it’s loaded on Internet Explorer, or Firefox, or Chrome.

These inconsistencies drive web programmers crazy, so that’s why jQuery was introduced. It allows you to write your JavaScript in a sort of “browser agnostic” way. You can write it once, and jQuery will execute the code appropriately depending on which browser it’s loaded it. VERY COOL!

The best part of all of these technologies is that they are all free to use.

And thankfully, they are also free to learn via these tutorials!

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Network Hardware and Software

  • Types of Computer Networks
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  • Introduction of Internetworking
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Prerequisite : OSI Model

Introduction : The Application Layer is topmost layer in the Open System Interconnection (OSI) model. This layer provides several ways for manipulating the data (information) which actually enables any type of user to access network with ease. This layer also makes a request to its bottom layer, which is presentation layer for receiving various types of information from it. The Application Layer interface directly interacts with application and provides common web application services. This layer is basically highest level of open system, which provides services directly for application process.

Functions of Application Layer : The Application Layer, as discussed above, being topmost layer in OSI model, performs several kinds of functions which are requirement in any kind of application or communication process. Following are list of functions which are performed by Application Layer of OSI Model –

  • Application Layer provides a facility by which users can forward several emails and it also provides a storage facility.
  • This layer allows users to access, retrieve and manage files in a remote computer.
  • It allows users to log on as a remote host.
  • This layer provides access to global information about various services.
  • This layer provides services which include: e-mail, transferring files, distributing results to the user, directory services, network resources and so on.
  • It provides protocols that allow software to send and receive information and present meaningful data to users.
  • It handles issues such as network transparency, resource allocation and so on.
  • This layer serves as a window for users and application processes to access network services.
  • Application Layer is basically not a function, but it performs application layer functions.
  • The application layer is actually an abstraction layer that specifies the shared protocols and interface methods used by hosts in a communication network.
  • Application Layer helps us to identify communication partners, and synchronizing communication.
  • This layer allows users to interact with other software applications.
  • In this layer, data is in visual form, which makes users truly understand data rather than remembering or visualize the data in the binary format (0’s or 1’s).
  • This application layer basically interacts with Operating System (OS) and thus further preserves the data in a suitable manner.
  • This layer also receives and preserves data from it’s previous layer, which is Presentation Layer (which carries in itself the syntax and semantics of the information transmitted).
  • The protocols which are used in this application layer depend upon what information users wish to send or receive.
  • This application layer, in general, performs host initialization followed by remote login to hosts.

Working of Application Layer in the OSI model : In the OSI model, this application layer is narrower in scope.  The application layer in the OSI model generally acts only like the interface which is responsible for communicating with host-based and user-facing applications. This is in contrast with TCP/IP protocol, wherein the layers below the application layer, which is Session Layer and Presentation layer, are clubbed together and form a simple single layer which is responsible for performing the functions, which includes controlling the dialogues between computers, establishing as well as maintaining as well as ending a particular session, providing data compression and data encryption and so on.

At first, client sends a command to server and when server receives that command, it allocates port number to client. Thereafter, the client sends an initiation connection request to server and when server receives request, it gives acknowledgement (ACK) to client through client has successfully established a connection with the server and, therefore, now client has access to server through which it may either ask server to send any types of files or other documents or it may upload some files or documents on server itself.

Features provided by Application Layer Protocols : To ensure smooth communication, application layer protocols are implemented the same on source host and destination host. The following are some of the features which are provided by Application layer protocols-

  • The Application Layer protocol defines process for both parties which are involved in communication.
  • These protocols define the type of message being sent or received from any side (either source host or destination host).
  • These protocols also define basic syntax of the message being forwarded or retrieved.
  • These protocols define the way to send a message and the expected response.
  • These protocols also define interaction with the next level.

Application Layer Protocols: The application layer provides several protocols which allow any software to easily send and receive information and present meaningful data to its users. The following are some of the protocols which are provided by the application layer.

  • TELNET: Telnet stands for Telecommunications Network. This protocol is used for managing files over the Internet. It allows the Telnet clients to access the resources of Telnet server. Telnet uses port number 23.
  • DNS: DNS stands for Domain Name System. The DNS service translates the domain name (selected by user) into the corresponding IP address. For example- If you choose the domain name as, then DNS must translate it as (random IP address written just for understanding purposes). DNS protocol uses the port number 53.
  • DHCP: DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. It provides IP addresses to hosts. Whenever a host tries to register for an IP address with the DHCP server, DHCP server provides lots of information to the corresponding host. DHCP uses port numbers 67 and 68.
  • FTP: FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. This protocol helps to transfer different files from one device to another. FTP promotes sharing of files via remote computer devices with reliable, efficient data transfer. FTP uses port number 20 for data access and port number 21 for data control.
  • SMTP: SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. It is used to transfer electronic mail from one user to another user. SMTP is used by end users to send emails with ease. SMTP uses port numbers 25 and 587.
  • HTTP: HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. It is the foundation of the World Wide Web (WWW). HTTP works on the client server model. This protocol is used for transmitting hypermedia documents like HTML. This protocol was designed particularly for the communications between the web browsers and web servers, but this protocol can also be used for several other purposes. HTTP is a stateless protocol (network protocol in which a client sends requests to server and server responses back as per the given state), which means the server is not responsible for maintaining the previous client’s requests. HTTP uses port number 80.
  • NFS: NFS stands for Network File System. This protocol allows remote hosts to mount files over a network and interact with those file systems as though they are mounted locally. NFS uses the port number 2049.
  • SNMP: SNMP stands for Simple Network Management Protocol. This protocol gathers data by polling the devices from the network to the management station at fixed or random intervals, requiring them to disclose certain information. SNMP uses port numbers 161 (TCP) and 162 (UDP).

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