What Is a Single-page Application (SPA)?

What Is a Single-page Application (SPA)?

A single-page application (SPA) is a JavaScript framework for distributing application functionality over the web. Learn about its role in the future of web development.

A single-page application (SPA) is a JavaScript framework for distributing application functionality over the web. Learn about its role in the future of web development.

Single-page application technology has become the de facto standard for creating modern web applications today due to the numerous benefits related to loading times and user experience. Industry giants of the digital space that have already adopted this approach to web development include Facebook, Gmail, Google Maps, LinkedIn, and Netflix.

But is a single-page application framework the right one for your upcoming web project? In this blog post, I’ll set out what a single-page application is, its benefits, and when you should use it.

What Is a Single-page Application?

A single-page application (SPA) is a JavaScript framework for distributing application functionality over the web. The three most popular SPA tools are:

  • Angular: developed by Google and now almost ten years old);
  • React: created by Facebook a few years later;
  • Vue: developed by an ex-Google employee and which has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the past few years.

Prior to the introduction of single-page apps, applications were built and rendered on the server-side and delivered — fully formed — to the client device: as the user navigated through the application, each page was created from scratch and so required to be constantly refreshed, leading to a ‘flickery’ screen. Data-intensive web apps, which pulled data from multiple different sources, could also be slow to load.

With single-page applications, presentation logic is rendered on the client-side and the visual structure of the web app remains consistent for the duration of the session, with newly requested data being refreshed in the background. This provides a much smoother experience for the user.



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