What is a Web Application Framework?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 May 2020
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Web application frameworks are software tools that are commonly used to aid in the creation and management of various types of online applications. They can involve designing and launching pages for a website or provisioning various applications to provide a wide range of web services to consumers. The framework tends to include all the elements needed to accomplish the desired tasks, thus eliminating the need to secure the necessary tools from different sources.

One of the key elements of any web application framework is the software library. As the name implies, software libraries are a central repository for all types of software that may be utilized in the creation and ongoing function of online activities. A typical library will include software to help manage the creation and maintenance of online databases, provide security to the web pages, and also help with mapping the pages so there is a sense of continuity and order.

An effective web application framework will also provide for basic housekeeping functions that are necessary to managing data housed on the servers that host the web pages. This includes caching of essential web documents for easy editing and retrieval. At the same time, the framework will also house a variety of templates. This makes it possible to change backgrounds on web pages without impacting the arrangement of graphics, text, and other elements on the page.

The automatic configuration aspects of a quality web application framework is of key importance. An excellent example is the framework known as Ruby on Rails. This versatile framework is able to define and run a database schema in two different ways. First, the framework can define the properties of any model objects in use on the framework at the point of runtime. The definition is based on the configuration of the database schema. Alternatively, the web application framework may create a database schema based on the properties of the model objects in use at runtime.

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