A study for understanding the navigational model of the modern web applications

Title A study for understanding the navigational model of the modern web applications
Publication Year 2016
Author(s) Dissanayake NR, and Weerasingha T
Conference / Journal Managing Systems from Source to Sink: Current Theories and Applications
Abstract Text Traditional Web applications used Page Sequential paradigm, where the navigational models is often embedded with multiple Web pages towards accomplishing a single functionality. There are dedicated methods – like Navigation Diagram of UML-based Web Engineering – to design page sequential navigation models; and the source of these applications is usually maintained based on the navigational model, which spawns complications in the context of development methodologies, such as Object-Oriented-Development. Advanced Single Page Application paradigm offers benefits over the Page Sequential applications, where they use desktop application like navigational model to navigate through the features, which is more user friendly; however the complexity of these applications is greater, thus the complexity of the source. We try to examine the effective balance between these two extremes towards better navigation model designing, in the direction of efficient development and source management. We studied popular Web applications – selected based on several ranking sites – under main categories: Entertainment, Society/Community, Business, and News/Reference/Learning, to understand how they deliver good user experience, eliminating the traditional navigational model, yet without using Single Page Application paradigm, however combining characteristics of both. Under main categories, sub categories were selected, and in each sub category three popular Web applications were selected to be studied. It was identified that popular and advanced Web applications use a hybrid navigational model of Page Sequential and Single Page Application paradigms. Common noticeable characteristic is that the Page Sequential navigation model is compacted and structured into a functionality based model; and each functionality is exposed to users via Single Page Application like interface, containing a set of sub functionalities, bound to the context of the main functionality. Use of rich communication techniques like AJAX has enabled delivering all the sub functionalities via a single page, while providing good user experience. This hybrid approach has the potential to provide modular designing and development of Web applications, while delivering enhanced user experience using advanced web technologies. The functionality based modularity can also offer a structured arrangement of the source, which also assists resources management; where efficient resource management can further assists in efficient maintenance of the system, and also can contribute to sustain the modifiability. Furthermore, the knowledge gained from this study can be utilized to introduce a better navigational model designing and system designing approaches for Rich Internet Applications.
Keywords Page sequential paradigm, Rich internet applications, Single page application paradigm
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