Between social media, mobility, and the cloud (SoMoClo), the demands on IT and organizations are changing rapidly, and one of those changes is the growing adoption of Single Page Applications. According to Dru Henke, Executive Director, NVISIA, a consulting firm and software developer, implementing SPAs in an IT department¹s application development process and tools can provide significant cost savings and other benefits. “It’s an opportunity to bring a much richer user experience… rather than loading the page every time,” he said.
Henke believes with the huge growth in mobile devices, apps, downloads, and the Internet of Things, SPAs are enabling a more seamless experience. “If you look at the Internet of Things … how you might manage… and interact… I would be surprised if Single-Page App wouldn’t have a bigger role.”
A Single Page Application is a web application or web site that fits on a single web page with the goal of providing a more fluid user experience akin to a desktop application. The term has been around since 2005, but it’s only now, as Internet usage is skyrocketing, that it is gaining interest.
Then let’s consider some of the drivers for SPA: by 2020 there will be (at least) 50 billion connected devices, including smart sensors. By 2016 there will be 305 billion mobile app downloads, and there will be 5 business apps per device. Smartphones and tablet sales passed the billion mark last year.
Social networking is another driver, with more than 55% of companies identifying it as having a strategic significance to their company’s growth. According to IBM CIO, CEO and CMO studies: 60% are ready to embrace cloud computing as a means of growing their businesses and achieving competitive advantage; 70% of companies cited human capital as the single biggest contributor to sustained economic value, while 82% of CMOs are saying they plan to increase their use of social media over the next three-to-five years to communicate with their clients.
According to Aberdeen, SoMoClo business value results include:
-average 2.5 hours faster in responding to customer inquiries than non-SoMoClo respondents;
-reported a higher percentage of better-than-average customer satisfaction;
-33% more likely to provide secure remote access to their mobile works;
-66% more likely to provide cloud-enabled mobile file sharing;
-55% greater workforce productivity improvement year-over-year;
-50% greater revenue increase year-over-year; and,
-38% less employee turnover, indicating higher employee satisfaction.
What does all this have to do with SPAs? According to Nvisia, the average person shifts his attention between his smartphone, tablet and laptop 21 times in a single hour. As such, organizations have realized the need for a seamless transition between desktop, browser, mobile browser and native mobile apps. Single Page Applications are one way to streamline the development of applications for web, mobile web, and native mobile users to realize cost savings and improve customer experience.
Google and Twitter are among the companies that have been leveraging SPAs for years, but this approach is now starting to take off in large enterprises. SPA’s inherent separation of UI and application logic creates an opportunity to share common application logic and testing assets, allowing an organization to use a single copy of application code on the “back end” to develop a web application that quickly addresses both web and mobile web users.
There are significant programming benefits, said Henke. “It used to be you would spend 30% of your time coding around IE6, so you gain that time back.” Another enabler is the emergence of second and third-generation Java script frameworks which take care of a lot of the housekeeping, as well as more sophisticated tools, he added.