Single page application (SPA)

Definition of a single page application (SPA)

A single page application is an app that works inside a web browser and that doesn’t require the website visitor to reload the web page.

How does a single page application (SPA) work?

A single page application is a web app or site which only loads a page once, and then dynamically “updates” the page. Any interactions with the page or subsequent pages do not require a round trip to the server, which means the page is not reloaded. This provides a user experience that is similar to a desktop or native app.

In general, there are two ways of making web applications:

  1. More traditional web applications that do most of the work in the application logic to the server.
  2. Single page applications, commonly known as SPA.
    A SPA works by performing the user interface logic in the web browser by communicating with application programming interfaces (API). To put it simply, a single page application is an app that works inside a web browser, and it doesn’t require the page to reload when a user is using it.
    Single page applications are a great way to create engaging and exceptional experiences for your website visitors. This is why many of the most engaging apps and webpages we use are likely to be a single page application. Examples of SPAs include Paypal, Netflix, and Google Maps.

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What are the benefits of a single page application (SPA)?

There are many benefits to building a single page application, rather than sticking to a regular web application:

  • A quick and responsive page: Because a single page application doesn’t need to update the entire page but only the necessary content, they make a website significantly faster. And speed matters when it comes to conversions.
  • A continuous experience: Single page applications give your website visitors a constant experience. No matter who visits the website or where they are, visitors all get the same exceptional experience.
  • Ability to cache: A SPA can successfully cache data. So, if a website visitor has a poor internet connection, the web page can still be reloaded.

What are the challenges of a single page application (SPA)?

Despite all the benefits of single page applications, there are also some challenges attached to SPAs. Among these are:

  • SPAs do not save website visitors’ browsing history: This means that when a website visitor decides to go back, by clicking the back button, they are unable to do so. The page takes you to a previous page, but not to the state the page was in before.
  • SEO optimization is a concern: There is still wide concern that SPAs have poor search engine performance, and that the more traditional static HTLM websites are easier for search engines to read.
  • Content management systems and SPAs don’t work well together: While SPAs developers see this page as an app, marketing teams see it as a web page that must be constantly optimized. With a single page application, your marketing team needs to have various skills to be able to edit the SPA, otherwise, it will be a lot of back and forth with your developers.

What does the future of single page applications with e-commerce look like?

Single page applications have become highly popular solutions for companies wanting to create exceptional e-commerce experiences for their users. After most companies have SPAs, the next step is creating progressive web apps (PWA). PWAs provide a better online experience for mobile and eliminates the need for users to download apps from an app store.

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