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Web Development by Web Preference Ltd

Single Page Applications

Traditional websites require a request (to the server) and response cycle, involving the rendition of the full page of content each time. Such an approach can lead to an unresponsive user experience - particularly on slower web connections.

A single page web application (spa) has a single (.html) page which loads all of the (JavaScript) code and after that initial loading, all page requests are fulfilled without a full (page) refresh. In addition, variables can be bound facilitating automatic updating (when one variable changes so does the other).

In a single page web application, the server is only responsible for returning data with the browser performing all of the logic and rendering tasks. This has been made possible by the rapid advances in browser technology over recent years, and makes for a far better user experience, one that is akin to a desktop or native app (for phones/mobile devices). The performance enhancements are magnified on mobile devices where traditional (and even mobile friendly) websites are often clunky to use.

Historically, the big drawback of single page web applications was the inability of search engine bots to understand the JavaScript required to produce them. However, this has all changed and Google is now capable of indexing such sites. The reason for this is that Google itself is employing such techniques throughout its business and it would not sit well if it could not index its own applications!!!

Not only can Google index such sites, but in my opinion they will start to favour them over traditional websites. The reason for this is Google reckon that 50-60% of searches are taking place on mobiles, which is why they have publicly declared they are now penalising websites which are not mobile friendly (responsive). They don't want people performing a search on their engine only to have a poor experience when they click on a link. Having a mobile friendly site helps enhance the experience, but having a mobile friendly single page web application would be even better!

This site has been produced using these techniques - we hope you agree it offers a much improved user experience over a traditional site!



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