Like many software development trends, the value of creating single-page applications is sometimes diluted by myths regarding how and why they should be used. While the primary goal for building SPAs is to enhance user experience by reducing the number of page loads a Web visitor experiences, not every program will be an ideal fit for the paradigm.
As TechTarget contributor Tom Nolle noted, the SPA paradigm treats Web pages much like software components, meaning that developers create local scripts as opposed to ones that span multiple pages. This reduces the number of page shifts required to complete a function.
"The primary goal of an SPA is to restructure Web applications around Web 2.0 page-event-interactive principles so the experience can be translated easily to multiple devices and is productive for users," Nolle wrote. "That means designing the user interaction first, with the goal of supporting one logical activity with a single page and a single set of scripts, loaded at one time and run until the activity completes."
While SPAs can be beneficial, programmers must consider the type of applications they're building. Nolle highlighted software that is innately multi-step and that must be mapped out to numerous components as an example of where traditional Web applications would function better compared with an SPA.
More complex is not always better
As new development strategies take hold, it will be increasingly important that programmers align their philosophies with the rest of their organizations. For instance, the the launch of a BYOD program would significantly impact users' ability to interact with company-provided IT resources. The growing variety of devices has been of particular concern with Web developers in both consumer- and business-facing projects. As ClickZ contributor Benjamin Spiegel observed, products such as Google Glass create new challenges for software. Whereas smartphones still have touch interfaces, Glass relies on voice and does not have a typical Web browser.
As more devices emerge with even greater interface diversity, Spiegel argued that programmers will need to focus more on APIs. This would better enable their software to communicate with other applications and devices that lack traditional user interfaces.
"Unfortunately, there will be some old methods and technologies that will become outdated soon, and Web design as we know it may be one of them," Spiegel wrote. "However, as with all technological advances, this will be replaced by a new normal for the 21st century; we just don't know yet where or how we'll consume it!"