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How to Choose an Architecture for a Web Application

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This article was contributed by Michael Grebennikov who is Co-CEO at Digiteum.

The success of a web application depends on how all the details were thought out during its development. At the heart of everything is an idea that is embodied in an understandable form. The architecture of mobile applications allows developers to implement this view and understand the operation mechanism of all processes even before their development. If you have a task on how to choose an architecture for a web application, this article is for you.

What Is Web Application Architecture?

Application architecture is a set of decisions and actions that allow you to organize the program’s correct operation. It includes both interfaces and structural elements, databases, styles, and other components.

A well-built architecture should meet the following criteria:

  • be efficient and perform their functions, regardless of the load on the server;
  • remain flexible and expandable so that features can be added as needed;
  • easy to test, which will increase reliability and reduce the time to test and implement new features;
  • be clear and structured, because a large number of people can work on one project, and beginners should immediately understand how the application works.

In this case, the web application architecture can be considered high-quality and efficient. It is developed by a separate specialist – an application architect. He defines the internal structure of the program, based on the requirements, needs and capabilities of the future service. He also selects a stack of technologies for development, creates prototypes, maintains documentation and coordinates developers during product creation.

What Influences The Choice of Architecture

It is essential to understand that there is no ideal solution when building architecture, we cannot say that a specific architectural pattern is suitable for any task and only it should be used. It all depends on the specific project, its tasks, and how the web application works.

As a rule, to choose the architecture of a web application, you need to:

  1. Technical task
  2. Hire an architect or person with rich development experience
  3. Understand deadlines
  4. Understand the project life cycle
  5. Understand the load

Let’s look at the features of the main architectures so that you can have a good idea of the pros and cons of using one or the other.

Monolith

A monolith is an architectural solution in which all components and modules are closely interconnected and depend on each other.

Advantages:

  1. Ease of deployment. Monoliths are very quick and relatively easy to deploy since a monolith usually has a single-entry point
  2. Development. Development of a monolith is usually fast because all components and modules are in the same codebase and are always at hand.
  3. Debugging. Debugging a monolith is greatly simplified since everything is nearby, and it is possible to trace all the links of the code execution

Disadvantages:

  1. Scaling. Monoliths only scale as a whole. So, if the load grows only on one module, developers cannot scale only this module, they must scale the entire monolith
  2. Reliability. If the monolith fails, then the whole goes out
  3. Changing and updating technologies. In a monolith, this is almost impossible.
  4. Lack of flexibility. Monoliths are inflexible, meaning changing one module in a monolith will almost always affect another module

Microservices

Microservices are an architectural solution based on the distribution of modules into separate systems that communicate with each other through messages. The whole system is a collection of small systems that are interconnected.

Advantages:

  1. Flexibility. Microservices are very flexible since each service is an independent system, so changes in it can only affect it.
  2. Scaling. Unlike a monolith, developers can only scale a certain part of the system because it is self-contained
  3. Technology flexibility. In microservices, each of the subsystems can be implemented in any programming language and using any technology.
  4. Reliability. The usual failure of one of the subsystems does not break the entire system as a whole

Flaws:

  1. Development process. Microservices are very difficult to develop because you need to produce several subsystems and communicate between them
  2. Command communication. It often happens that one team develops one subsystem, so you need to establish communications between teams to establish interaction between subsystems
  3. Debugging. Microservices are very hard to debug because you have to find which service is broken and why
  4. Deployment. Initial deployment is very difficult and adding new services requires tweaking key parts of the project

Serverless

Serverless is an architectural solution that focuses on development instead of deployment and communication between services.

Serverless is an alternative to microservices that automates the entire deployment thanks to the cloud. From the name, you might think that there is no server part, but this is not so, there is no work with the server as an environment.

Advantages:

  1. Flexibility. Serverless is very flexible due to the isolation of one module from another
  2. Abstraction from the operating system. The cloud itself will decide which OS is needed and how it needs to be configured
  3. Easy entry threshold. Serverless is usually very simple, stand-alone code, so it’s easy to understand the project
  4. Reliability. With the correct construction of the project, the reliability is the same as that of microservices

Flaws:

  1. Flexibility. This is also a minus because the developer has limited influence on scaling, everything is decided by the cloud
  2. Debugging. Just like in microservices, debugging is complicated by the interaction between components
  3. Vendor Lock. Each cloud operates by its own rules, so moving from one cloud to another is almost impossible
  4. Cascade Fail. If the project is built incorrectly, components can greatly affect other components, which leads to the fall of the entire project.

Before you start choosing an architecture and designing a web application, you need to understand the overall goal. Many factors need to be analyzed to determine the overall architecture of a project. It is important to answer a number of questions, including why the application is being created, what tasks it will perform for the business, how it will generate income for the company and others. We recommend contacting Digiteum specialists who will help you decide on the architecture for your web application and develop a quality product for any industry. 

About the author

Michael Grebennikov is Co-CEO at Digiteum. He is always excited to see how technologies help small and medium businesses grow. What amazes him the most is how his team manages to turn ideas into fully-functional systems used by over 1 mln people around the world.

Last Updated on June 23, 2023 11:46 am CEST