Gartner Research

Modern Web App Architecture

Published: 26 September 2013

ID: G00251864

Analyst(s): Danny Brian , Kirk Knoernschild


Modern Web apps can provide rich user experiences that mimic mobile app characteristics, but not by using traditional Web app architecture. Modern Web apps require new architectural patterns that treat the modern Web browser as a full-blown application runtime.

Table Of Contents

Summary of Findings


  • The Modern Web App
    • Apps Are Not Just for Mobile
    • Apps Drive Modern Web Architecture
    • Using Web Technologies to Develop Apps
    • Characteristics of Modern Web Apps
    • Examples of Modern Web Apps
  • Traditional Web App Architecture
    • Server-Side Logic to Enable Dynamic Content
    • Server-Side Templating and the Bouncy Browser
    • Model-View-Controller and the Web
    • Template-Driven Functionality
    • Synchronous and Tightly Coupled
    • Data Models as the Building Blocks
    • Mobile UX Challenges Web Apps
  • The Modern Web Browser
    • HTML5 and CSS3 Patterns
    • JavaScript Execution and Layout Engine Speed
  • Modern Web App Architecture
    • Single-Page Design
    • An App Lives on the Client Runtime
    • Service Orientation Yields True Decoupling
    • JavaScript Frameworks and Design Patterns Are Not Optional
    • CSS Libraries and Frameworks Are Not Optional
    • Event-Driven Functionality
    • The Challenge of the New
    • The Challenge of the Old
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Create a Culture That Is Conducive to Purposeful Web App Design
  • Regard the Browser as a Full-Blown Application Runtime
  • Foster Serious JavaScript and CSS Expertise
  • Use Robust JavaScript and CSS Frameworks
  • Build and Use Web APIs

The Details

  • History API
  • Zoom Controls
  • Scroll Control
  • Hiding the Address Bar
  • Media Queries
  • CSS Transitions
  • JavaScript Frameworks
  • Event-Driven Programming
  • Full-Screen Toggles
  • Network Availability
  • Offline Storage
  • Networking Alternatives

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