There are two principal ways of building a website: as multi-page applications (MPAs) or single-page applications (SPAs). Over the past couple of years, I’ve seen a clear increase in the number of SPAs compared to MPAs, as SPAs are considered more contemporary. Some of the most popular sites and platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Gmail, and Trello are all single-page applications, and a growing number of businesses are building them for themselves. But what are they and why are they popular?
Here’s a brief overview of what an MPA is and the pros and cons, before diving deeper into SPAs, the pros and cons, and when to use them.
Multi-page applications (MPAs) are the traditional web applications that reload an entire page and display a new page when a user interacts with the web application or website. Every time data is exchanged, a new page is requested from the server to display in the web browser. Most eCommerce sites, such as Amazon or eLearning websites such as Udemy are examples of MPAs.
A single-page application works within the browser and is a type of web application which is all loaded from one page, and all user interaction with that service is carried out using that one page. As soon as a user interacts with the app, only the required component will be modified, not the complete application. This makes a single-page app much faster in terms of interactivity. SPAs require no page reloads and no extra time for waiting, as content is all downloaded automatically.
Without having to reload the page, you can still create individual URLs for different sections for tracking views and interactions by altering the page’s URL using the HTML5 History API.
As mentioned above, there are two general approaches to building web applications: multi-page applications (MPAs) that perform most of the application logic on the server, and single-page applications (SPAs) that perform most of the user interface logic in a web browser, communicating with the webserver primarily using web APIs. The preferred approach to building web applications will differ from business to business, depending on a number of factors.
Additionally, if you are looking to provide real-time updates on your application, an SPA approach is a perfect fit as it effectively enables data streaming, notifications, and real-time charts and updates. Furthermore, SPAs are perfect for dynamic platforms with small data volumes and ideal for mobile app development. SPAs are particularly beneficial to SaaS platforms, social networks and closed communities where SEO isn’t important due to the challenges SPAs face with search engine optimisation.
Each architecture model has its own pros and cons, each suited to certain types of projects, companies, and business goals. There is no definitive answer on which is better. Everything depends on the specific project or business requirements, and the decision needs to be based on those needs and technical requirements.
If your business has a wide range of products and services to display on the website, and SEO is an important method of customer attraction, a multi-page application is more suitable. On the other hand, if you want to provide maximum functionality, in a limited webspace, and you want it to be more dynamic and flexible, a single-page application is probably more suitable.
Regardless of whether you build an SPA or an MPA for your business, you need top developers 'to ensure your web application is functional and fit for purpose, to deliver quality information and services to your users. If you’re ready to build or scale your Frontend Development team, get in touch today for confidential advice and support on attracting, hiring, and onboarding the top tech talent.