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We present a component-based, conceptual architecture for Semantic Web applications. It describes the high-level functionality that substantially differentiates Resource Description Framework (RDF)-supported applications from database-driven applications. We provide a strong empirical grounding for this architecture through a survey of Semantic Web applications over most of the past decade. Our empirical approach allows us to describe the current state of the art for the development and deployment of applications on the Web of Data. In addition, we determine how far the adoption of signature research topics of the Semantic Web, such as, data reuse, data integration, and reasoning, has progressed. We, then, discuss the main implementation challenges that developers using Semantic technologies are facing, as observed in the survey. We build on this in order to suggest future approaches to facilitate the standardization of components and the development of software engineering tools to increase the uptake of the Web of Data.