Introduction to Single Page Applications (SPA) using Essential JS2 Components

Introduction about SPA

A Single Page Application (SPA) is a web application in which a single root view page will be loaded from the server and then, based on the user interaction, the application will dynamically update the content on the client-side without any page reload.

SPAs are more fluid and responsive than conventional multipage applications and they are best suited for creating SaaS (Software as a Service), enterprise dashboards, and other form-driven web applications.

In this article, I’ll walk you through some fundamental concepts for building SPAs and some single-page web applications created using Syncfusion components.

Lifecycle of a SPA

There are multiple frameworks to build an SPA, but the concept of the SPA in every framework remains the same. The entire client-side UI or view will be fetched from the server at the initial load and, based on the user interactions or navigation through the application, the UI will be refreshed dynamically at the client-side.

SPA uses minimum bandwidth to contact the server to update the data from user interactions or to fetch the updated data while refreshing the webpage.

Image source : https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/dn463786.aspx

Advantages of SPA

SPAs are more fluid and responsive than multipage applications. Due to this, these applications are also well suited for mobile devices, with no need to build a separate native mobile application.

SPAs support rich interactions with multiple components, such as editors and pop-ups on the view page. These components may have intermediate states that can be harder to implement with server-side rendering.

Apart from the initial page load, SPA uses less bandwidth for updating the UI, with no page refreshes while a user navigates the application, making the application more comfortable to use in mobile devices.

As the view layer and data layer are maintained separately in the SPA, this will be much easier to deploy in production.

Important concepts of SPA

Routing

In SPA, all content is maintained with separate URLs and one can navigate to different content swiftly using these URLs.

Single-page applications maintain state using URLs or track states internally while a user navigates through the application.

The major use-case with page routing in SPAs is when one shares the URL and can be sure that anyone opening that link will see the exact same content by the navigating to the exact URL in the application.

Data binding and syncing

SPAs use minimal bandwidth for contacting the server for fetching data or for updating the data model after the user interaction in the application.

While a user navigates through the application, the data model in the server will be updated simultaneously using an asynchronous HTTP request (AJAX).

Based on the user interactions, the data is updated to the data model in the server. And these data changes are refreshed back to the UI simultaneously, thereby making the user always able to view an updated webpage without refreshing it.

Fast and fluid response time

SPAs are known for their fast and seamless responses to user interaction. Their rich interfaces handle the user action and refresh the UI dynamically without any delay or request from the server, thereby avoiding interruptions in the experience and making the web app behave more like a desktop application.

Separation of view and data layer

SPAs are built using Model-View-Controller (MVC) and Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) patterns, but you can still build the application on your own MV* pattern.

The view file (along with the CSS bundle) that holds the UI rendering for the application and the data layer of the application are well maintained separately in the SPA architecture.

The separation of the view and data layer is intended for the user to reuse the view page for different data sets or alter the view page without affecting the data model in the production.

The view and data layer separation in SPAs ease the versioning and rollback vows in the production.

Real world examples

There are some real-world applications built with SPA architecture using Syncfusion components.

Expense tracker

The expense tracker application showcases several Essential JS 2 components together to track and visualize daily expenses with a great UI.

The different webpages available in the application, Dashboard, Transactions, and About, use the grid, chart, and other Essential JS2 components for visualizing the data model. This application uses a page routing mechanism for page transitions to navigate among views.

Users can navigate among these views using the URLs, which will be created for each webpage because of routing. Since this application is built using SPA architecture, all the webpages will be downloaded at the initial loading of the web application, and the page transitions will happen completely on the client-side without requesting any webpages of the server. While navigating to different views, the URL of the application will be updated accordingly.

Data binding has a major role in SPAs. Since all the webpages are downloaded at client-side, the UI components should be refreshed with the updated data then and there. While performing any editing action in the Transaction webpage, the changes will be updated to the data model simultaneously, and these changes are reflected in the UI components available in other pages, also.

Since SPAs are well suited for rendering both in desktop browsers and mobile environments, this application is built with a fluid and responsive design for rendering in mobile devices.

The live demo of this application is available on our website and you can find the GitHub source here.

Web mail

Web mail is a single-page application with an Outlook-like user interface built for managing a mailbox.

This application is built with rich interfaces and an interactive design using Syncfusion components like accordion, list view, and sidebar as a single-view webpage. The application is split into three sections for managing the mail box: mail folders, mail items, and the mail content area. Due to its responsive design, this application can be rendered with ease across mobile devices and desktop browsers.

Data binding plays a significant role in this application for updating the mailbox and for displaying the mail content based on the user interaction. The mail list items will be refreshed with the appropriate content based on user selection in mail folders, and the mail area will be refreshed with the updated content when the user selects a mail item from the mail list.

You can find the live demo of this application on our website and you can find the source on GitHub.

The application handles multiple user interactions and refreshes the content accordingly without any page refreshes, making the application look like a desktop application.

The responsive design of this application makes it render across mobile devices with the best UI.

Loan Calculator

Loan calculator is single-page application that showcases components like grid, chart, slider, and others together in a single view page for calculating a loan payment based on the loan amount, interest, and term.

The data binding in this application works in such a way that, while adjusting the values of a loan amount, interest, and term using the slider component, the data for the chart and grid components will be refreshed with the appropriate data accordingly.

One can also refresh the chart content by choosing the desired month to be viewed using the date picker component. When the month to be viewed is changed, the data for the corresponding month will be returned from the model, and the same will be updated in the chart component.

You can find the live demo of this application on our website and you can find the source on GitHub.

Considerations for SPAs

Besides the multiple advantages of the single-page application, there are some special considerations to keep in mind with SPAs:

  • One should ensure object-oriented principles while creating an SPA. If ignored, it will lead to memory leaks within the browser, causing the application to slow down, thereby degrading its performance.
  • SPAs are mostly built for enterprise dashboards, SaaS, and form driven websites, but if the main websites are built with SPAs, then one should consider search engine optimization (SEO) so that users can make use of an appropriate version of the page.
  • The browser back button should be handled properly in the single-page applications. If not properly handled, the user can click the browser back button, leading to workflow loss.

However, all these issues can be addressed with the right techniques.

Summary

In this blog post, we saw the benefits of single-page applications over multipage applications. Also, we saw the real-world single-page applications Expense Tracker, Loan Calculator, and Web Mail built with multiple Syncfusion components.

The previously discussed single-page applications are also available for Angular, JavaScript, ASP.NET Core, and ASP.NET MVC platforms, and you can find the live demo of these applications on our website. You can also check other real-world applications built with Syncfusion components here.

We recommend checking out the source code yourself, available on GitHub, which is readily runnable, to see just how single-page applications are built using Syncfusion components.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comments below. You can also contact us through our support forum or Direct-Trac. We are always happy to assist you!

 

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