Modern Web Architecture for Corporate Websites

WEB DEVELOPMENT, INFRASTRUCTURE.
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Modern web architecture refers to the evolution that has taken place in web development, where the creation of monolithic or mono-focused websites, that is, websites that only serve to communicate information without offering interaction with users, has become obsolete. 

This update in web architecture occurs because the way in which digital content is presented, whether it's products, services or ideas, has evolved.

The transmission of information, which is the most important part of a system, through different media and platforms, acquires a central place and must be treated in a different way than before. 

Web pages ceased to be a simple informative medium to become a means of active participation. Their evolution to new architectures and horizontal development models makes maintaining and supporting changes and high access frequencies much easier.

Today we have decoupled websites that offer multiple services. This is done through the use in their architectures of microservices, either through headless or serverless structures.

These modern sites are more scalable, easier to maintain and simpler to develop than monolithic websites. However, although their components are decoupled, they are better integrated with each other and allow more agile sites to be developed. 

Web architecture refers to how we accommodate the information that needs to be communicated on sites, i.e. everything that happens behind the scenes, in the code, that users do not see. 

The process of creating a modern web architecture for a corporate website

When planning the architecture of a corporate web site we take into account, among others, the following considerations:

  • What services will be used?

  • How to approach these services with respect to the development and "actual" use environments, both at the testing and end-user level?

  • What data frameworks, or data models, will be used?

These questions establish the basis of the project. 

The content model is the first thing that is defined and in this part the entire development team participates. It is a practice that has been developing over the last few years and that we at Aplyca integrate in our projects.

This allows us to plan more effectively the architecture of a corporate web portal, manage faster deliveries and be more efficient in the communication within the team. 

From there, in order to revamp a web portal, it is initially important to focus the development on microservices and build on there. For example, in the case of a search, different services are used to help improve the user experience.

Although the user browsing the page does not see the difference, internally there is a development that consists of using specialized search services, and not handling that information directly in databases, which would be a more cumbersome and difficult process in terms of development.

Similarly, for maintaining static files there are cloud services that specialize in this area. In the old way, it would be done in ways that could overload the server and consume its capacity, for example in the management of images. Today there are services that work quickly through caches, generating the images in an optimal way, depending on geographic locations or whether the site has been visited by the same person before.

All this is done through microservices. 

In this way there is greater confidence in the operation of the different tasks: you can more easily know what is happening in case of an error and there is greater availability at the time of an update.

At the user experience level, although in the final presentation these changes are not "visible", the interaction experience with the site is more optimal. 

Web architecture is the way in which all these microservices, including, among others, searches, databases, payment systems, etc., are put together, integrating the different components.

Challenges when renovating a portal architecture

When we work with corporate groups and companies of different sizes, we see some common challenges at the architectural level. 

  1. Updating the web architecture while maintaining the existing information. When upgrading large sites or sites that handle centralized information, challenges can be encountered in decoupling it to implement new features or functionalities. The information must be managed so as not to lose the previous content. It is important in this case to work hand in hand with the editors. 

  2. Understanding how these new technologies work. Some may think that the information is very loose, almost unstructured, and it is important to know that the information is there, fulfilling its function and available for use in multiple channels.For example, a project can start as a web page development and along the way find that you can also have a progressive web application. All this is from the same base development.

  3. Other common challenges. Some scenarios to consider, include anticipating high traffic peaks, and understanding users' browsing and search patterns by industry and business type.

To meet these challenges, it is essential to define the tools that best suit the customer's needs.

Decide which tools to use

When defining the architecture structure, the tools to be used are also defined. Often when using a specific cloud, such as AWS or Google Cloud, it already has all the tools that the client wants to use, and so the tools that are needed can be implemented progressively. 

These tools are service tools: the important thing is that the cloud chosen has the solution that the company needs. 

At the development level, other tools are used to emulate the real environments in order to maintain a development equal to what will be presented later, so that there are no problems at the time of deployment. Automation strategies are used to develop and maintain continuous integration and continuous deployment. 

This is something that is always automated from the beginning, along with a version controller, the language to be used, the use of docker and the plugins that connect with the cloud services and tools that have been decided. Developers make from these initial decisions the integrations that are needed on a case-by-case basis. 

The following aspects are taken into account when defining the tools: 

  • Isolated" data models: It is essential to understand that organized information must be available for any event that is important for the market. You must first think about the data model and from this you develop the design of what is going to be presented.

  • APIs and microservices: The delivery and distribution of the information to be brought closer to the end users must allow second and/or third parties to access it in an agnostic way to its final presentation. APIs allow the different services to be integrated and the information to be reused in the different delivery channels. This type of architecture integrate microservices, which separate the different aspects of the code so that they can be better managed. 

  • Serverless and cloud: Cloud services solve problems with memory, processors, etc., and make it possible to delegate physical equipment maintenance and administration tasks to providers. This makes it possible to adapt the use of resources according to the needs of each moment. For example, server usage is scaled and de-scaled according to traffic. Serverless allows developers to stop worrying about solving server problems and focus instead on developing other functionalities.

Modern web architecture is a new form of development that allows the creation of optimized pages, handling information in a decoupled way, and integrating microservices to respond to user needs. 

It is a form of agile development that allows for better response time, easier integrations, and the ability to leverage solutions already provided by cloud and serverless service providers. 

At Aplyca we are specialists in modern web development for corporate portals. Contact us to discuss your project needs. 


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