Web Application & Software Architecture 101

Web Application & Software Architecture 101 – When a user logs in to this desktop/laptop or mobile, opens a browser and types in the site name, the browser displays the required information and the user takes an action on the site. Have you ever wondered how the computer retrieves this information and what happens in the background? It is the basic structure of the website that makes this process possible. In this blog, you will learn what web application architecture is, what a web application architecture diagram looks like, and how you can design the right architecture for web applications.

Web application architecture provides an overview of all software components (such as databases, applications, and middleware) and how they interact with each other. It defines how data is delivered over HTTP and ensures that the client-side server and the back-end server can understand it. In addition, it also ensures that valid information is available in all user requests. It creates and manages records while providing permission-based access and authentication. Choosing the right design defines the growth, reliability and interoperability of your company and future IT needs. As such, it is important to understand the components in web application architecture.

Web Application & Software Architecture 101

1) Browser: The browser or the client-side component or the front-end component is the key component that interacts with the user, receives input and handles the presentation logic while controlling the user’s interaction with the application. User information is also verified if necessary.

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2) Web Server: Web server also known as backend component or server side component handles the business logic and processes the user requests by directing the request to the right component and handling all the operations of the application. It can manage and monitor various customer requests.

3) Database Server: The database server provides the data required for the application. It handles data related tasks. In a multitenant architecture, database servers can handle business logic with the help of stored procedures.

In a traditional 2-tier architecture, there are two components such as the client-side system or user interface and the back-end system, which is usually a database server. Here the business logic is incorporated into the user interface or the database server. The disadvantage of the 2-tier architecture is that as the number of users increases, the performance decreases. In addition, the direct interaction of the database and the user device also raises some security concerns. Train reservation systems, content management systems are some applications that are commonly developed using this architecture.

In this model, intermediate servers receive client requests and process them in coordination with secondary servers implementing business logic. The communication between the client and the database is managed by the middle application layer enabling the client to access data from different DBMS solutions.

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3-tier architecture is more secure because clients do not have direct access to data. The ability to deploy application servers on multiple machines provides higher levels of scalability, better performance, and better reusability. You can measure it horizontally by measuring each object independently. You can offload the core business of the database server to efficiently perform load balancing. Data integrity is improved because all data flows through the application server which decides how to access the data and from whom. Therefore, management change is easy and cheap. The client layer can be a thin client, which means that hardware costs are reduced. This modular model allows changing a single tire without touching the rest of the components.

Building a layered modern web application architecture helps you understand the role of each part of the application and easily make changes to the relevant layer without affecting the entire application. It allows you to easily write, debug, manage and reuse code.

What is a web server? Simply put, a web server runs one or more web pages or web applications. The web server uses Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) along with other protocols to listen for user requests through the browser. It processes by applying business logic and delivering the requested content to the end user.

While a static web server delivers content as is to the browser, a dynamic web server updates the data before serving it to the browser.

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Apache is a popular open source web server from the Apache Software Foundation. It was developed by Robert McCall in 1995 in C and XML. Apache is based on a process-driven model where each request results in the creation of a new thread. Apache’s modular design allows you to easily scale individual resources. With minimal configuration you can handle even large traffic. It works on MacOS, Windows and Linux environments. However, Linux is the best environment for Apache.

While it uses the file system to process static content, dynamic content is processed on the server. Using .htaccess files, you can make additional configuration to the server settings. Security is good. It offers support via IRC, Stack Overflow and mailing lists.

NGINX is another popular web server often pronounced as “Engine X”. Created by Igor Sisev in 2004, NGINX quickly became popular. It works on an event-driven model where thousands of requests are processed in a single thread, delivering more with minimal resources. It uses PHP to serve static resources and delivers static content 2.5 times faster than Apache. Dynamic content is served by external processes. When it comes to interpreting requests, Apache passes the file system location while NGINX passes the URI. This feature extends the capabilities of NGINX as a load balancer, HTTP cache, and proxy server.

While it supports Unix-based OS, Windows compatibility is limited. You cannot create additional settings. A smaller codebase offers better security. Dynamic modules are not supported. Along with mailing lists and IRC, there are also forums.

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NGINX has an advantage over Apache because it acts as a web server as well as a proxy server. An event-driven approach that processes thousands of requests in a single thread offers excellent performance, speed and cost-effectiveness.

The client-side component of a web application architecture enables users to interact with a server and backend service through a browser. The code resides in the browser, receives requests and provides the required information to the user. This is where UI/UX design, dashboards, notifications, layout settings, layout and interactive elements come into the picture.

HTML or Hypertext Markup Language is a popular standard markup language that allows developers to structure web page content using a series of page elements. Created by Tim Berners-Lee and published in 1993, HTML quickly developed and became the standard markup language around the world.

CSS or Cascading Style Sheets is a popular style sheet language that allows developers to separate web page content and layout for websites created using markup languages. Using CSS, you can define styles for elements and reuse them multiple times. Similarly, you can apply a style to multiple sites. It is simple and easy to learn. You can apply a style to a single element, an entire web page, or an entire web page. It is also a friendly device.

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Browser compatibility and security are two areas of concern. Similarly, different versions of CSS also create confusion. It is recommended for developers to check compatibility before making any changes to the design.

JavaScript or JS is the most popular client-side programming language used by more than 90% of websites in recent times. It was designed by Brendan H. of Netscape in 1995. JavaScript uses a simple, easy-to-learn syntax. The language is so popular that every browser comes with a JS engine to run JavaScript code on devices. It’s easy to embed JS code into any web page, which makes it highly interoperable. It allows you to create rich interfaces to deliver a better UI/UX experience. Staying on the client side, JS also reduces the server load.

However, developers must be concerned about security because the code is executed on the client side, which can sometimes be used by hackers.

React is an open source JavaScript that has gained popularity in recent years. It was created in 2013 by the Jordanian authority of Facebook. The benefits of React enable developers to easily create high-quality dynamic web applications with minimal code and effort.

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ReactJS is easy to learn and use. There is extensive documentation and many handy tools for developers. The code is reusable. ReactJS uses a virtual DOM, which means that related elements are updated when changes are made instead of rewriting the entire DOM tree. This improves performance and optimizes memory usage. ReactJS uses a one-way data flow, which means that changes made to “child” elements do not affect the “parent” element. The code is easy to test and SEO friendly.

On the contrary, the ReactJS development environment is very dynamic, which means that developers must actively monitor changes and adapt new capabilities quickly to take advantage of React. In addition, imaging technology is developing rapidly, yet documents are not able to keep up with this speed. One major concern is that ReactJS focuses on the UI component and you have to rely on other libraries for client-side functionality.

Vue.js is an open source JavaScript framework written in 2014 by Evan You. This framework enables developers

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