Software Architecture for Web Apps: A Beginners Guide [2024]

Software architecture is the science behind building a successful application and making it work efficiently. It is the pattern or the way that an application is designed and built. In this article, we will not talk about software architecture in general. Instead, we will take you through the software architecture for a web application specifically.

In short, software architecture serves as the blueprint for how a web application is structured. One approach is the monolithic architecture, where everything is put into a single, tightly coupled codebase. However, this is considered an outdated method for building web applications. Nowadays, we have a more modern and arguably better solution known as the microservice architecture.

This is the way that will make it possible for you to grow your app from, say, 100 or 200 users up to 10,000+ users. If you feel as excited as we are, then stay with us. There are two main approaches to how a web app is laid out, at least in the broad sense, and these two ways are:

client-server architecture

An illustration of a client-server network includes four computers and one server.

In this architecture, a server consistently provides its services to the clients. The clients, in turn, send their requests to the server when they require its services.

Here, the client cannot be a server, and likewise, the server can’t become a client to their own clients. So, every node or device always takes the same role, and this doesn’t change (remember that).

So, if we want to think about a web app architecture, there is a client side, or the front end, and the server side, or the backend, and the database where we collect our data.

But not all web apps have the same blueprint, so there are many types of client-server networks, including:

  • 1-tier architecture:This is where all of the web app parts (server, client, and database) are on the same machine.
  • 2-tier architecture: Here, the server and the client side live on the first machine and the database lives on the second machine, or the client side lives on one machine and the backend (server and database) will be on the second machine.
  • 3-tier architecture: In this type of client-server network, we have each part (client, server, and database) on its own machine.
  • n-tier architecture: It represents any application with more than three tiers.

In client-server networks, a user will interact with the app, and this interaction will create an HTTP request to the server, which will send a query to its database if needed. The database will respond with that specific data, and then the server will transform the data and create an HTTP response for the user.

An example of a client-server application

Every one of us uses around 6.6 client-server apps. Do you know what that number is? This is the number of social media platforms that an average user uses.

Yes, according to some statistics, an average user uses 6.6 social media platforms, and, you are right, all major social media platforms are client-server networks. In these examples, you are the client, and when you click on a Facebook short video (Reel), for example, you send an HTTP request to the Facebook server, which will check its database and return an HTTP response to you.

peer-to-peer architecture

An illustration of a peer-to-peer network includes eight computers connected.

Now, let’s check another type of web app architecture: peer-to-peer architecture. In this type, there is no main server or specific client. So, every device in the network (also known as a node) can be a client or a server.

An example of peer-to-peer architecture

 page from a newspaper with the headline Bitcoin A PEER-TO-PEER Electronic System

For example, the idea of crypto depends on peer-to-peer architecture. Any node can send or receive data; there is no major bank server that receives clients’ requests and responds with the information that they need. Both types have their weaknesses and strengths, but it depends on our needs to determine which type will work best for us. A bug in the server in a client-server network will affect all of the devices in the network. But, in a peer-to-peer situation, any problem with any node does not affect other nodes. Now, it’s time to talk about other types of web app architectures from another perspective, if we can see it that way.

the monolithic architecture

In this approach to web app design and build, we put all the modules into a single codebase. This means that any problem that occurs at any level will affect the entire app. If something goes wrong, it will break the entire app, and that’s because there is no separation in the resources. Every problem has a solution, and this one is no exception. But what is the solution to this problem? We will explore this in the next section of this article.

Microservice Architecture

In this method, we have a group of servers that work independently, and each one of them responds to a specific service that it serves. For example, if we consider LinkedIn, we have a search bar and a comments section. If the server responsible for the comments section goes down, this will not break the search bar or any other part of the app. In the same way, if we need to scale one server because of increasing traffic, we can do that without needing to scale all other services. It is a very safe and powerful approach to use when it comes to web app architecture.

Now, we are at the end of our journey with web app architecture. I hope you find this information helpful for your potential career as a web developer or any other career in the field of IT. If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments section down below. As you know, it has its own server (we are joking). We will write about different topics in the IT field, so if you are interested, make sure to come back and visit the website.

DastN GmbH, Ali Barakat 10 februari 2024
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