The ongoing competition in the market forces businesses to search for the most state-of-the-art and effective digital solutions to promote their products and services. There is a bunch of options these days such as native mobile and desktop applications, websites, and web apps. All of them can be effective depending on the type of business, audience, location, purpose, etc. There are also some software products that can bring tremendous profits for one company, and be a complete disaster for the other. A single-page application (SPA) is one of such solutions. There is a lot to keep in mind if you are thinking about employing this technology.
How is a SPA distinct from a multipage app (MPA)?
Strong points of SPAs
High loading speed
This pivotal point goes to a SPA. A user doesn’t have to reload the page, only data is sent over the wire. Most of the back-end elements like Scripts, CSS and HTML are loaded only once. These facts guarantee the high loading speed of SPAs.
At the same time, the loading speed parameter is of crucial importance for businesses. No one is fond of waiting. According to the 2018 year stats, a required web page time load shouldn’t exceed 3 sec. It takes much more time for massive web apps or websites to load. For example, the research conducted by Google showed that the average loading time of a mobile landing page is 22 seconds. And yet 53% of the questioned people admitted they are likely to leave a page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Quicker to develop
Great user experience
SPAs significantly enhance user experience. Using this kind of applications creates the impression of dealing with a native app. The page doesn’t reload each time anybody enters new information or clicks a button to see part of an app’s contents. This peculiarity streamlines interaction with a page creating a more natural user experience.
SEO optimization issues
SEO optimization is a well-known bugbear of SPAs. And the fear of this pitfall still discourages many from creating a SPA instead of MPA. The problem was related to page indexing. Special bots better known as web crawlers are used by search engines for visiting URLs in order to index them. It’ was impossible for these robots to reach the pages of a single-page application that actually has only one page. As a result, SEO metrics and ranking for this type of web solutions were unfavourable. Although Google managed to tackle the problem, SPAs are still regarded as a good option only for data storage, project management systems, CRM, etc.
Data sharing issues
Actually, all web apps, including SPAs, are genuinely easy to share. A user can copy the link with an app and send it whoever he or she desires. But there is a problem with linking to a certain tab or some section of an app. In an MPA each tab usually has a separate page, but a SPA consists of only one page. Anyway, this issue has a solution as well. The “#” or “hash” can be used to implement deep links for AJAX. The aim of a hash is to link to the anchor tag on the same page.
Did you know that you are a regular SPA user?
Single-page applications have already gained a firm foothold on the Internet. Curiously, many people don’t even realize that they have been using SPAs for years. Facebook, Twitter, Medium, Gmail – these world-famous web platforms are all created by means of SPA technologies.
When one can opt for a SPA
Despite all the benefits provided by single-page applications, relying on them is not always justified. There are several things to keep in mind while making a choice.
1. Company’s size and type.
SPAs perfectly suit for the promotion of one product, when there is no need in the variety of pages. Large companies owning big web stores should bet on multipage applications.
2. Urgency (speed) of development
SPAs can become a lifeboat in case you need a ready-to-use digital solution as soon as possible. You can also rely on a SPA as a temporary app. Later on, you’ll be able to create a more complex app having a simple but working solution behind your belt.
Despite the progress in this direction, many search engines still don’t index single-page applications. Only Google managed to solve this problem. That’s why if you strongly count on SEO, it’s better to turn to MPAs.
One more option – a hybrid app
A hybrid approach allows creating a SPA with synthetic pages that use URL anchors. This solution is as functional as an MPA and as convenient to navigate as a SPA. As a result, a hybrid app combines the best of both approaches.
So, is a single page application a curse or a blessing? The answer is something in between. It’s undeniable that using SPAs can offer significant advantages. But one should keep in mind that there is also a number of pitfalls that can play a decisive role in a particular case. Therefore, it’s better not to hurry, and allow business analysts to carefully study business requirements and give a piece of advice on what digital solution can be the most beneficial in the particular case: a single-page application, a multipage application or their hybrid.
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