Gartner Research

Modern Web App Architecture

Published: 29 April 2015

ID: G00276515

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 developers and architects to learn new patterns that treat the modern Web browser as a full-blown application runtime.

Table Of Contents


  • Understanding the Modern Web App Enables Better Software Design
    • Apps Are Not Just for Mobile
    • Apps Drive Modern Web Architecture
    • Web Technologies Can Be Used to Develop Apps
    • Modern Web Apps Exhibit Certain Characteristics
    • Examples of Modern Web Apps
  • The Challenge of Traditional Web App Architecture Pivots on Complexity
    • Server-Side Logic to Enable Dynamic Content
    • Server-Side Templating and the Bouncy Browser
    • MVC and the Web
    • Template-Driven Functionality
    • Synchronous and Tightly Coupled
    • Data Models as the Building Blocks
    • Mobile UX as a Challenge for Web Apps
  • Modern Web Apps Require Modern Web Browsers
    • HTML5 and CSS3 Patterns
    • JavaScript Execution and Layout Engine Speed
  • Modern Web App Architecture Rises to the Challenge
    • Stand-Alone Design Stretches Traditional Developer Skills
    • 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 Simplifies and Scales
    • The Challenge of the New Centers on Immaturity
    • The Challenge of the Old Concerns Support for Outdated Browsers
  • 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, Use and Manage Web APIs

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