Single Page Applications vs Multiple Page Applications — Do You Really Need an SPA?

You must have heard a lot of rage about Single Page Applications these days and if you haven’t, you are probably living under a rock.

SPAs provide a bunch of benefits like seamless and smooth user experience, easy development, simplified debugging and reuse of the same code to built mobile apps. Many apps that you frequently use are single page apps. To name a few: Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Google Docs, etc.

(Google Docs)

Unequivocally, SPAs are the chartbusters these days and everyone wants it for their business. But before you hire a web development company to built one, you must understand if an SPA is suitable for your business needs or a traditional multi-page web application works better.

To answer this, first let’s understand the types of web applications.

Types of Web Applications

The inception of web introduced hypertext documents but those were replaced by the sophisticated and feature-rich web apps. The current web application development scene can be divided into two approaches. They are:

1. Multi Page Application
 2. Single Page Application

What is Multi Page Application?

Multi page applications are the traditional web applications that reload the entire page and displays the new one when a user interacts with the web app.

Each time when a data is exchanged back and forth, a new page is requested from the server to display in the web browser. This process takes time to generate the pages on the server, sending it to a client and displaying in the browser which may affect the user experience.

However, AJAX had made it possible to render just a particular component of the application, but this makes the development process even more difficult and complex.

Benefits of Multi Page Applications

1. Performs well on the search engine.
 2. Provides a visual map of the web app to the user.

Drawbacks of Multi Page Applications

1. Comparatively complex development
 2. Coupled backend and frontend

What is Single Page Application?

As per the name suggests, single page applications consists just one single page. SPAs present the content in an easy, elegant and effective way as it loads all the content on just one single page rather than navigating the user to different pages.

SPAs are faster than traditional web applications because they execute the logic in the web browser itself rather than on the server. And after the initial page load, only data is sent back and forth instead of the entire HTML that reduces the bandwidth.

Benefits of Single Page Applications

1. Single Page Apps are smooth and fast.
 2. They are easy to develop and deploy.
 3. SPAs are easier to debug.
 4. Can be transited to mobile apps by reusing the same backend code.

Drawbacks of Single Page Applications

1. SPAs perform poor on the search engine. But now, with isomorphic rendering/server-side rendering even SPAs can be optimized for search engine too.
 2. Single page applications provide single sharing link.
 3. They are less secure compared to traditional multi-page apps because of its cross-site scripting.

So, should you go for the SPAs?

Though single page application approach can be used to build any kind of web app, here are some things you must consider before you go for it.

First of all you need to list down the feature and functions you need in your web app. Will an SPA do justice to all the function and features you need? For instance, is your site more content-intensive or will it be graphics-intensive? Or both? Can all the graphics and content be appropriately placed on one page?

Does your business deals with specific product or service, or you cater a variety of products and services. If your business deals with a single product, nothing can be perfect than a single page application. While, if your business caters a variety of services or products, you definitely need to give importance to each of them by bifurcating them in different pages with a multi-page application. This would even provide you the benefit of deep linking of every page.

(Trello — Single Page Application)

Do you want to provide a real-time experience without a page refresh to your user? For instance, a real-time car configurator. Check out our single page real-time car configurator made for Rezvani.

(Rezvani’s Real-time Car Configurator by Techuz)

Web apps these days, whether it be SPAs or MPAs are highly sophisticated, feature-rich and they provide amazing user experience. So, in order to get maximum out of these two approaches, you must consider the needs of your business and the customer. Above we have tried to cover the major factors that can help you to select between single page application and traditional multi-page application that would serve the maximum benefit to your business. If you still have any questions, do not hesitate to contact an experienced web development company like Techuz InfoWeb.

Originally published at www.techuz.com on March 21, 2018.