Why are more and more applications migrating to the Web these days? With no chunky installation requirements or platform constraints, the software-as-a-service (SAAS) model makes for a great force to reckon with!
But if your web application works smoothly, is the architecture any good? While every solution has something different to offer, there are certain benchmarks that any good web application architecture should meet.
Take a good look at your previous or current web application and check how much you score with this list of 12 effective quality attributes:
It can be tough to measure objectively and it only gets more difficult with the size of your team. But developers are the backbone of your project and any architecture, interface or framework that has been built needs to optimize developer productivity over time.
A few prerequisites for good architecture from the developer productivity point of view would be:
- Great support tools
- Standard format of performing activities
- Less feedback loops
- Concise and not slow
How elegant your solution is and how perfectly it eliminates the problem pretty much explains how coherent your web solution is.
Check if your web architecture:
Maintains a consistent way of tackling a problem
- Can perform the most common tasks with utmost ease
- Does not have loose coupling and has high cohesion
When it comes to good web architecture, usability is extremely important as it gauges the quality of a user’s experience while interacting with your website and it is automatically interlinked with your brand, customer satisfaction thereby reducing support costs.
- Technologies are not vendor specific
- Latest standards are supported
- The user interface provides quick response time
- Graphic and charting capabilities can be used
- Animation is allowed where appropriate
- Analytics have to be supported
Maintaining security within your web architecture greatly reduces the chances of any malicious or accidental actions outside the system and also prevents any disclosure or loss of important data.
- Follows latest security practices
- Uses latest security standards wherever possible
- Successfully clears all 3rd party penetration tests
While building your web architecture, it needs to be resilient against component failures, which include software, hardware as well as network crashes. The reliability factor is measured by proving not to fail and performing its intended functions over a specified time interval.
- Zero crashes
- Automatic healing when/ if it crashes
- No single point of failure
Your web architecture’s performance is an indication of its responsiveness to execute the specific actions within a given time interval which can be assessed in terms of throughput or latency. Latency refers to the time taken to respond to any event whilst throughput is the number of events that take place in a given timeframe.
- An appropriate level of performance is supported
- The user interface receives low latency, or else provides mechanisms for compensation in the form of caching, messaging etc.
Amidst the other factors, another one that is just as important is the effort needed to increase capacity to handle huge amounts of load or in other words the scalability of your web architecture.
- Scaling out is preferred to scaling up
- It should be easy to add a higher number of processing nodes and load balance new nodes
- Ensure that licensing at no cost prevents scaling
Yet another important factor. Testability clearly shows you how well your web architecture allow you to develop test criteria and successfully execute tests to determine if the criteria is successfully met.
- Mechanisms are provided to mock data
- Back end processes are triggered via scripting
- Known data is easy to create
- Ability to automate User Interface (UI) testing
How well do you play with others? When the factor of interoperability is considered, interfaces, communication protocols and data formats are the key considerations. Also, standardization has to be considered during the process of designing an interoperable system.
- Use open standards wherever it is available
- Ensure you are provided with numerous options while selecting 3rd party systems
Transparency and troubleshooting
In case something goes horribly wrong, is it easy for you to walk through the error and re-do the entire thing? Thus check for:
- Important events and errors must be logged in a meaningful way
- Debug logs can be turned on and off
- Tracing errors all the way through the web application must be an easy process.
Community and Product Growth
Your product or brand must have a strong community backing. If you have other people who have already solved the issues you may be facing, it is a major indicator that your product or framework is easy to deal with.
- Many plug-ins and open source projects related to the framework
- Multiple questions and answers related to stack overflow.
- A mandatory Google trends graph that is going upwards and to the right
- Books, tutorials and blogs
If your product is extremely difficult to deploy it automatically indicates longer release cycles which makes it tough to respond to any further updates or fix bugs.
- Automated scriptable deployments
- Automated tests are simple to write
- Multiple environments should not be prevented by licensing
- Easy rollback
How well do you score?
The next time you check your current web stack or application architecture do ensure you go through the above list and tick as many of the boxes listed above. If you keep the above points in mind while developing your app you will be guaranteed with a stunning end product.