How to Build a Scalable & Robust Web Application Design

How to Build a Scalable & Robust Web Application Design

An application architecture explains the patterns and techniques used in the design and development of an application. When developing an application, the architecture provides a roadmap and best practices that will result in a well-structured application.

When creating software apps, app architecture is essential. It defines the structure, behavior, and interaction of an app’s various components. The architecture acts as the blueprint for the entire app, guiding the development process and ensuring that the app meets all functional and non-functional requirements. One of the key goals of app architecture is to develop a strong and scalable application.

Are you looking to build a web application? Look no further! In this blog, we’ll take you on a journey through the essential components of web application architecture, discuss best practices for achieving robustness and scalability, and provide you with 7 key things to consider when building scalable web applications.

Components of Web Application Architecture

A web application architecture can be divided into structural components and user interface components.

Structural Elements

These components, as the name implies, form the structure of the application. These components include the client or web browser, database server, and web app server, which are directly responsible for functions that determine user interactions within the application. In most cases, JavaScript, CSS, and HTML are used for creating these components. It all depends on the web app developer.

User Interface Elements

The other type is user interface components, which contribute to the app’s visual interface. However, unlike structural components, these only display the web page and do not interact with the architecture. These components include a dashboard, widget, settings, notifications, and a variety of additional visual elements that enhance the user experience. In other words, these components are directly accountable for the UX or web app.

Designing Robust Applications

Robust applications are those that can function reliably and consistently, even when faced with unexpected errors or challenging circumstances. To design a robust application, it is important to consider the following key characteristics:

  • Fault tolerance: The application should be designed to handle errors and failures gracefully, without crashing or causing data loss.
  • Scalability: The application should be able to accommodate growing amounts of data or user traffic without experiencing performance degradation.
  • Maintainability: The application should be designed with maintainability in mind, making it easy to update, modify, and fix issues as they arise.
  • Testability: The application should be designed with testing in mind, making it easy to test different aspects of the application in isolation.

Best Practices to Achieve a robust application

Use modular design principles: Breaking the application down into smaller, modular components makes it easier to manage and update.

  • Handle errors gracefully: Use error handling techniques, such as exception handling, to handle errors and failures without crashing the application or losing data.
  • Implement automated testing: Automated testing helps to catch errors and issues early in the development process, improving the overall quality and robustness of the application.
  • Use caching and load balancing: Implementing caching and load balancing techniques can improve the performance and scalability of the application.

Examples of robust application design include

  • Facebook: Facebook is a robust application that can handle a large amount of user traffic and data without experiencing performance issues or downtime.
  • Google Docs: Google Docs is a robust application that can handle complex document collaboration and versioning without losing data or causing conflicts.
  • Amazon Web Services: Amazon Web Services is a robust platform that provides a range of cloud-based services that are scalable and fault-tolerant, ensuring that applications built on the platform can handle unexpected errors and traffic spikes.

Designing Scalable Applications

Scalable applications are those that can handle increasing amounts of data and user traffic without experiencing performance issues or downtime. To design a scalable application, it is important to consider the following key characteristics:

  • Elasticity: The application should be able to scale up or down as needed to accommodate changes in data or traffic volume.
  • Resilience: The application should be designed to recover quickly from failures or disruptions, without losing data or causing downtime.
  • Performance: The application should be designed to maintain consistent performance levels, regardless of the size of the data or traffic volume.
  • Availability: The application should be designed to be highly available, ensuring that users can access the application at all times.

Best Practices to Achieve a scalable application

  • Use distributed systems: Implementing a distributed system can improve scalability and performance, allowing the application to handle increasing amounts of data and traffic.
  • Implement load balancing: Load balancing can help distribute traffic evenly across multiple servers or instances, improving performance and availability.
  • Use caching: Caching can help reduce the load on the database and improve performance by storing frequently accessed data in memory.
  • Design for horizontal scalability: Designing the application to scale horizontally, by adding more instances or servers, rather than vertically, by adding more resources to a single server, can improve scalability and availability.

Examples of scalable application design include

  • Netflix: Netflix is a highly scalable application that can handle a large amount of data and traffic, with over 200 million subscribers worldwide.
  • Uber: Uber is a scalable application that can handle a large volume of ride requests and driver locations in real time, ensuring a seamless user experience.
  • Instagram: Instagram is a highly scalable application that can handle a large number of users and images, with over 1 billion monthly active users.

7 Essential Considerations for Building Scalable Web Applications

Now that you understand what application scalability is and why it is important, let’s go over the steps to build scalable web applications.

1. Establish the need for scaling and managing expectations

Don’t strive to improve scalability when you don’t have to. Scaling could be costly. Make sure that your scaling expectations justify the costs. Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Collect data to ensure your online application is supporting your growth strategy.
  • The storage plans you’re using (is it adaptable to size changes?).
  • Define your choices in case of a significant rise in user and data traffic.

2. Define your scalability problem using metrics

Assume that your web app now has to be scaled. You must determine which scalability issues to prioritize. This can be achieved by using four scalability metrics:

  • Memory Utilization: The amount of RAM used by a particular system in a given unit of time.
  • CPU utilization: A high CPU usage often implies that your software is facing performance issues. Most app-monitoring tools can measure these essential metrics.
  • Network Input/Output: It refers to the time spent on sending data from one recorded process to another. Verify the cases that take the most time.
  • Disc Input/Output: This term refers to all of the operations that take place on a physical disk.

3. Select tools to monitor application scalability

Let’s move on. You’ll need app-monitoring tools to track related metrics now that you’ve decided on the metrics to focus on. Popular PaaS (like Heroku) and IaaS (like AWS) solutions include good application monitoring solutions (APM), which simplify the task.

4. Use scalable infrastructure alternatives

Assume you are a startup creating a web app. Because cloud services handle a variety of web app development and maintenance, using a PaaS (like Heroku) or an IaaS (like AWS) is advised. These components include the runtime environment, servers, networking, databases, middleware, infrastructure and storage.

5. Select a scalable software architecture pattern

This is one of the most important elements of application scalability. The Scalable architecture enables web applications to adapt to user demand and deliver high performance. As a result, architecture issues can have a major impact on scalability. The two primary architecture patterns for scalability are Monolithic architecture and Microservices architecture.

6. Choose the right database to scale

The database is an important factor to consider after you have addressed the infrastructure and architecture when scaling. The type of database you use will depend on the data types you need to store, which can be relational (like MySQL or PostgreSQL) or unstructured (like MongoDB).

Whether you use relational or unstructured databases, they should be easy to integrate into your application.

7. Choosing the best scalability framework

Frameworks can have significant effects on application scalability. Therefore, choosing one influences app performance as features are added. You have a number of choices depending on the language you choose. However, keep in mind that the success of your application’s scalability will depend on how effectively you choose the infrastructure and architecture patterns to support large scales.

In conclusion, designing a robust and scalable app architecture is essential for creating successful applications that can handle increased traffic and data volume while maintaining reliability and security. By following best practices and considering key factors like scalability, security, and performance, developers can build web applications that can stand the test of time.

For expert assistance with app development or to learn more about designing effective app architectures, reach out to Synergent today.


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