6-point Checklist for Large-Scale Web Applications

Say you have an amazing marketing plan you’re implementing that directs thousands and millions of people on your web app. But guess what? Instead of keeping up with your user growth, your web app crashes! Such a hindrance, don’t you think? 

Since 64.4 percent of the world population accesses the internet, summing up to 5.16 billion users, this is a realistic scenario. 

Internet-users-timeline

 

Now, we don’t want that to happen to you or anyone planning to quickly scale their business. This is why we think you need to consider whether you need large-scale applications for your business or not.

Try considering some popular platforms themselves, which have grown immensely in the past few decades. As of 2023, there are 2.6 billion active users on YouTube. That is 130 times more than what it used to be in 2010!  

A similarly popular large-scale application example, Instagram, had 2.35 billion active users every month in 2023. That’s a whopping 2,350 times more than it was in 2010, the year it was launched. This growth wouldn’t have been possible had they not planned on large-scale software development beforehand. 

 

Monthly-active-users-of-youtube-and-instagram

For this reason, you need to understand that the old ways of building apps based on one-size-fits-all development methods are far gone days. Now, when businesses are thinking of scaling quickly and taking advantage of a growing base of internet users, your application must be built to handle and cater to this huge influx of traffic.

Our clear answer to how to scale web applications is large-scale web application development. We’ve created this detailed guide on large-scale software development to help you understand:

 

  • When and why you may need large-scale software development 
  • And what you may need for developing large-scale applications.

 

Keep reading to dive into the subject of large-scale web applications.

 

What are large-scale applications?

 

What are large-scale applications?

 

Large-scale applications mean exactly what they convey with their name. In simple words, large-scale applications are web apps that can handle the traffic and data volume when it significantly increases without compromising on the quality of service it provides and the operations it undertakes. 

So, for example, when your large-scale web app has 10x or even 100x more traffic, it will not crash and work perfectly as intended!

 

When should you focus on having a large-scale web application?

 

When should you focus on having a large-scale web application?

 

Moving on to the important question, does your business need large-scale applications? Honestly, not all businesses can expect an overnight boom in their web traffic. So it’s obvious they will not need it. However, some product businesses might have plans to leverage proven marketing tactics, such as influencer marketing, that would increase the user influx overnight. Then yes, we think you might really need to plan on how to scale a web application with millions of users.

Our advice is that you don’t waste time trying to increase scalability unless you really have to. The price tag for building large-scale web applications might be high. 

Verify in advance that your expansion plans are realistic in light of the costs that come with them. We’ve compiled a list of some things that can help you decide whether you need to invest in large-scale software development or not:

 

  • Data that backs up your plan for scaling

How many users do you currently have? To what extent do such data predict a rise in users down the road? If so, by how much and how quickly do you anticipate that happening? When looking forward to a few weeks/months, what do you anticipate happening? – if your answer to this question is that you expect an influx of 100x or more in a few days, then yes, you need to consider large-scale applications.

 

  • The storage plans and servers currently in use

Is your storage plan not enough for current users? Can it accommodate more? If not, then you need to think about upgrading. You should also consider how long will your present server(s) be able to accommodate your current volume of customers/users and if they increase.

 

  • Outline what you would do if you saw a sudden surge in the number of users or the amount of data sent.

 

If you’re certain that your product will be successful, then it makes sense to scale both the front end and the back end to accommodate its expanding user base. 

But maybe after considering the above things, you may find out that you don’t need support from large-scale software development, and you have no good reason to expect expansion right away. This is often the case with brand-new businesses or businesses that leverage applications for their internal affairs.

After proper consideration, if you’ve decided in favor of building a scalable web application for your business, we’re here to help you how to go about it. Let us tell you about six things you need to consider in large-scale software development. 

 

6-point checklist to follow while making large-scale web applications

From our extensive experience, we know that there are certain things one needs to consider for large-scale web development. Here’s our 6-point checklist to keep in mind before you start with large-scale software development:

 

6-point checklist to follow while making large-scale web applications

1) Architecture

Ask whoever you know in the software development industry, and they’ll tell you that architecture is the most important part of building an application. We’ll say over and over again that you can’t compromise with architecture in large-scale software development, so you must make the right choice. 

Architecture pattern will be the basis of your architecture, but the technologies and methods you use for large-scale software development are also a part of the architecture. We’ll talk more about the architect pattern after we’ve covered our checklist because we think it’s important. 

Through our years of experience, we’ve realized that what matters the most is how comfortable you are with the technology you choose to employ. We know that there are certain tools and frameworks better for large-scale web applications than others, but you certainly don’t want to work with something you’re not absolutely familiar with. There are two things that you need to select carefully to have a high-performance web application architecture for your project:

  • Tools and framework: This includes languages like PHP, Java, Python, etc, and also includes front-end and back-end tech stack. It can be React, Angular, or VueJs, for the front end and Laravel, Node js, Firebase, etc., for the back end.
  • Server provider: Choosing a server provider that is secure and provides ease with horizontal scaling/vertical scaling, support, and data management.

 

2) Test-Driven Development (TDD)

We all already know that testing and trying and applying is a great way of building a successful application. With TDD, each software requirement is transformed into a test case as part of the large-scale software development process, and your developer works on that to make a complete picture – a large-scale web application. 

During the development process, you will identify certain scalability problems you wish to tackle with this app and metrics to judge them with. These identified problems and metrics will provide you with test cases to work on.

In our opinion, this approach is really helpful for scalable development, especially if you decide to bring in a fresh developer to a project who needs to code. The entire application’s continuity will be preserved during the testing procedure. Some frameworks that can be used for testing are:

  • Cypress
  • PHPUnit
  • Pest
  • Mocha
  • Jest 
  • Rspec

 

3) Continuous integration

This is a must-have for any project when developing a large-scale application, as it brings automation into the picture. Continuous integration is a DevOps strategy that enables the seamless incorporation of new and updated code. By automating and streamlining repetitive processes, continuous integration and delivery (CI & CD) free up engineers to focus on creating cutting-edge new features. 

It’s the age of automation, and it only makes sense to leverage CI when a project demands rapid results and has several contributors.

 

4) Security

Despite our best efforts, we all are aware that the online space is not completely safe. Hackers are waiting out there to get into your system and cause havoc. When data from web apps is your most valuable asset, its security must be bulletproof. Because of this, security should be one of your top concerns when building large-scale web applications. Here are a few practices to ensure security:

  • Client-server conversations may be made safe and secure using JSON web tokens.
  • Time limits may be placed on session cookies that hold the JWT.
  • Password storage databases may be made more secure using hashing and salting techniques.

 

5) Performance of the website:

Websites need to have a good performance if you’re hoping to scale over time. To ensure that your website has optimal performance, you can consider the following:

  • Server-side rendering: This is great for developing public-facing webpages for large-scale web applications. SEO is improved as your site’s content is produced on the server before being delivered to the browser since search engines may “see” it before sending it to visitors. Here, the large-scale application stores the rendered pages in a cache that contains material pulled from a CMS.

 

  • Quick loading time: Your users won’t wait too long for your web app to load. You’ll quickly lose your user base if you don’t optimize loading time. There are several ways to ensure fast loading time, and one of them is using Content Delivery Network (CDN). You can even add the feature of lazy-loading and infinite scrolling.

 

  • Database Queries: Large-scale web application performance might be negatively impacted by database queries with excessively long response times. That’s why it’s smarter to enhance it by doing things like indexing data, restructuring code, and cutting down on iterations.

 

We highly recommend you use google’s free tool to check the performance of your web pages. With this, you can ensure that you can optimize the three performance key metrics:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
  • First Contentful Paint (FCP)
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

The metrics allow you to analyze the loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability are on point. The tool will also suggest some helpful tips to achieve the best user experience. 

 

6) Persistence

We know what persistence normally means. Persistence, when discussing data storage in a digital environment, isn’t too far from its traditional definition. It refers to the fact that the data remains accessible long after the initial generation process has finished. 

The following is a checklist of things relating to data storage that might help developers: 

  • Take Advantage of ORM or Object Relational Mapper: The Object Relational Mapper (ORM) package will let programmers of web apps interact with databases without having to craft queries manually. In addition, ORM provides an abstraction layer atop the storage mechanism.

 

  • Leverage Migrations: In order to construct a database for large-scale web applications from the ground up, migrations might be helpful. Usually, developers must start again whenever they make alterations to the database design. But migration contributes to the process of re-establishing the database from scratch.

 

  • Use Seeders: It’s possible that the first data testing will fall on the developer. Hence, seeders can act as dummies to populate the database.

 

What should be your large-scale web application architecture pattern?

 

What should be your large-scale web application architecture pattern?

 

 

We mentioned earlier how important architecture is in large-scale applications. So making the right choice with architecture pattern for a high-performance web application architecture will be a make-or-break decision.

 

 Let us introduce you to the four common architectural patterns that we know of:

 

1) Layered

As the name suggests, layered architecture means architecture that is layered one after another.  In this architecture, data travels through each layer and every layer in this architecture functions separately. 

 

2) Event-driven

In an event-driven architecture, there is a core component or control unit surrounded by modules that handle their own data. When the control unit is triggered by an event, it sends the data to a specific module that is optimized for processing and handling its own set of operations and data.

 

3) Microkernel

The basic system of a microkernel architecture is supplemented by plug-in modules that provide extra features and customized operations. The two most popular examples of this architecture are WordPress and Laravel.

 

4) Microservices

Saving the right one at last microservices architecture is what you want in your large-scale web application. Why? Because it is a distributed network that allows for the development of versatile applications by connecting diverse web services with little overhead. The microservices architecture allows you to build, test, and launch parts of the application independently from one another.

 

The reason why we think you should lean towards a microservices architecture when thinking of building large-scale web applications is that it is perfect for: 

  • Applications with distinct functions interact in this architecture but aren’t really dependent on each other to function.
  • While various features and elements of an application with this architecture work independently, they communicate well with each other and work to create perfect harmony. 
  • An application that may see quick growth.
  • Application with a development team dispersed around the world.

 

How can Anglara help?

There you have it, a checklist of the six most important things to consider when developing large-scale web applications. At Anglara, we always advise our customers to consider scalability when they come to us with their project to create a world-class web application for their business. We’re also transparent about the challenges of time and cost that come with large-scale software development. For this reason, we help our clients determine if their current apps can be improved to accommodate scalability and consider going that route. We’d be more than happy to help you, too, if you need guidance on how to scale web applications. Simply leave us a message, and we’ll schedule a free consultation with you.

 

FAQs

 

What is a large-scale application?

A large-scale application is an application made to process massive amounts of information and traffic, as well as respond to sudden shifts in demand without degrading service.

 

What are the characteristics of large-scale web applications?

Some common characteristics of large-scale web applications are:

  1. Consistent performance even when user traffic and transaction per second increase multifold.
  2. Scalable on the web server and database level.
  3. Largely distributed through Content Delivery Network (CDN) with numerous server nodes ranging from a few hundred to thousands.
  4. Supports a huge number of backend and frontend functions

 

Which language is best for large-scale web apps?

Any language can be used for the development of large-scale web apps, and we often advise choosing one that the developer is the most comfortable with. Some of the widely used languages are Java, HTML, CSS, Php, etc.

 

What are scalable web apps?

Scalable web apps are applications built to handle more and increasing workloads. They may start by onboarding a specific amount of user traffic at first, but their capabilities aren’t hindered when traffic influx increases. This is often achieved with horizontal scaling, where the infrastructure of the app is enhanced with an increase in the number of servers and nodes, so one server doesn’t get overloaded at any point.