Single-page apps vs. multi-page apps: Which is better?
Do you know if the site you’re currently reading this article on is a single-page application (SPA) or a multi-page application (MPA)? Does it matter? It might, if you’re planning on building a web app anytime in the future.
The majority of web apps used today are MPAs, but there is a growing trend for new applications to be developed as SPAs. When deciding which route to go for your own development, you need to consider the specific goals of your application and how they relate to both types of architecture.
Here are a few of the key differences between single-page application and multiple-page application development.
Facebook, Gmail, Trello and Google Maps are all examples of single-page applications. Single-page application architecture loads a single HTML page when the app is accessed. Whenever a user interacts with the app, the updates happen dynamically on that single page, rather than downloading additional pages every time the user clicks.
One of the benefits to using single-page application design is that it enables you to create more complicated and feature-rich applications with a faster and cleaner UI. One of the drawbacks is that single-page application SEO optimization is somewhat less effective, given the fact that search engine crawlers were designed for traditional websites.
Expect to spend more money if you go the SPA route because you’ll need to hire more advanced programmers and the QA process will be more complicated and time-consuming.
MPAs in their turn work in so to say traditional way: each time you click on a link or interact with the app, a new page is downloaded from the server and then rendered in the web-browser.
MPAs are initially faster than SPAs, as the first page will download much quicker. However, the rest of the application might be slower, as each page has sent a request to the server and wait for a response.
Multiple-page applications are less expensive and easier to build, due to the fact there is a larger and more affordable pool of development talent experienced in the technologies required. SEO will also be better on MPAs since the architecture is native to search engine crawlers.
So, which is better?
If you’re building a web app and trying to decide between anSPA and MPA, it really comes down to what your solution does and how you want it to perform.
The more complicated your application and the more features it has, the faster you will need it to work, so a single-page application is probably the right choice. Of course, you’re going to spend more money on this type of development and it will take more time.
If your web app is more similar to a traditional website and your budget is somewhat limited, you’ll want to go the multiple-page application route instead. This is especially true if you plan to publish a lot of content.
In the future, expect to see hybrid web apps that incorporate the best aspects of both types of architecture.