Web apps have evolved into a crucial tool for business with its most basic functions as the web has become commonplace in almost every workplace globally. The creation of web applications as a whole today is a crucial component of improving your company’s image. You will learn everything you need to know about web application development from this comprehensive guide, including what they are, how they work, and the best examples.
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What is Web Application Development?
A web application is a user-accessible interactive app created with web development technology. The client-side (front-end) of the program is where the user enters data, while the server-side (back-end) manages data storage and processing. Web apps and websites are conceptually related, therefore there are many similarities between the two.
Web App vs a Website?
In contrast to websites, which are primarily used to convey information, web apps are created to be interactive. Web technologies are the only ones that web app developers employ. Web applications, as opposed to standard websites, instead put a lot more emphasis on user interaction, much like a mobile app would. Users of traditional websites might scroll or click to read more, or they might even provide an email address or more personal information to make an online purchase. However, a web application enhances the user experience (UX) to allow users to perform a lot more. For these kinds of interactions, web apps also need to be dynamically updated.
For instance, you’ll discover that accessing Twitter or Facebook through a web browser is more engaging than visiting the website of your neighborhood pizzeria. Because the latter are web pages and the former are web applications,
The distinctions between a website and a web application are summarized as follows:
Web App vs a mobile app?
Although web apps and mobile apps have many similarities, they also have numerous differences. Mobile apps are created specifically for mobile devices and work with Android, iOS, and cross-platform operating systems. Mobile apps typically put the user’s device first, which means they perform well on smartphones, tablets, and other portable mobile devices. The majority of mobile applications also function offline. Examples include Uber, Amazon Kindle, Google Maps, etc.
Web apps, on the other hand, require an internet connection to work. A web app uses CPU resources in a web browser to operate in real-time. Mobile apps can be downloaded from the app store or play store if your device has enough internal storage.
Progressive Web Apps
In the digital sphere, progressive web apps (PWAs) are a special class of web software. PWAs blend appealing elements of hybrid and native apps. PWAs are installed in a web browser, like any web app should be. PWAs are accessible there just like any other website.
Even yet, using a PWA requires completing the standard download and installation process that users are accustomed to with mobile apps. But this is advantageous because PWAs can always be accessed from the user’s device, making them somewhat similar to mobile apps.
Progressive web apps can provide push notifications directly to your mobile device and can launch from the user’s device without requiring the user to first open a web browser. They can also function offline and load quickly. PWAs are so tempting because of how well they perform. An idea like web apps ought to be appealing in and of itself given its cross-platform nature. PWAs meet the following requirements:
- connectivity independent
- app-like interactions
Types of Web Applications
Depending on how they were created, various types of web applications exhibit various characteristics.
1. Client-Side Web Apps
Front-end development is dominated by client-side web programs, which means that the user interface (UI) is the key component of these apps. They frequently give user experience (UX) top priority and boost users’ productivity. At startup, the app loads any data or business logic that it would need to function.
Client-side rendering eliminates or significantly reduces page loading delays. This quickens content interactions and significantly improves the responsiveness of the page.
2. Single-Page Apps
In contrast to conventional multi-page applications, single-page applications (SPAs) load new pages only when a link is clicked. Instead, SPAs combine the positive aspects of client-side and server-side software.
SPAs control everything from a single page and often use an infinite scroll feature to show all of their material.
Many web developers or web app developers use this SSR capability to create SPAs so that actions can be performed or new data can be fetched without having to reload the entire page.
3. Server-Side Web Apps
In many ways, back-end development and server-side software are interchangeable. Back-end web app development entails creating the databases, servers, application programming interfaces (APIs), and any other background operations that occur in an application.
The web server is where the most dynamic code is located, even if server-side applications still frequently display content and/or user interfaces.
Given that it can take some time for the web browser to send a request and wait for a response from the server, server-side rendering (SSR) is best suited for static material.
In contrast to client-side web apps, server-side web apps typically offer greater security and browser compatibility.
4. Static Web Application
5. Dynamic Web Application
A dynamic web application is one that responds to user queries in real time and communicates with the client. To engage the visitor, it has a variety of interactive features. On a technical level, dynamic web apps are significantly more involved and complex. Dynamic web apps can be created using a broad variety of computer languages, but the two most popular ones are PHP and ASP.NET.
Facebook is an illustration of a dynamic online application; it allows for simple login and seamless communication with friends.
6. eCommerce Web Application
E-commerce refers to any web application that promotes purchasing or selling anything online, such as a store or shop. A personal cabinet for users as well as an efficient administration panel for administrators (listing, updating, and deleting products as well as managing orders and payments) are essential aspects for this online application. Technology platforms including electronic payment gateways, inventory management systems, mobile commerce, supply chain management, and the internet market are the focus of eCommerce apps.
These and other well-known e-commerce sites include Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Swiggy, and Zomato.
7. CMS Web Apps
A content management system (CMS) software allows people to generate, maintain, and alter website content without any technical expertise of web programming or markup languages. CMS is widely used in personal blogs, corporate blogs, media outlets, and so on. WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are the most widely used content management systems.
8. Portal Web Application
The term “portal web apps” describes software that permits authenticated and authorized users to access a company’s data repository. Portals that enable users to build personal profiles and feature numerous details like chats, emails, and forums to submit material are best suited for corporations and organizations. Data can only be accessed by portal members. The service provider records each time a user logs into the portal so that they may access their online activities. Different web portal types are frequently connected to distinct sectors.
Portal online apps include Education Portals, Employee Portals, Banking Portals, Student Portals, Patient Portals, etc.
9. Rich-Internet Web Applications
Rich Internet Applications are applications that share a lot of desktop applications’ functionality and aesthetics. Primarily, it is more functional, interesting, and quick than typical web-based apps. Because of the constraints imposed by their browsers, they depend on customer-side plugins. These programs can be used offline and were created using AJAX, Java, JavaFX, Adobe Flash, and Adobe Flex. Rich-internet web apps offer a fantastic user experience and have beautiful visuals.
Popular examples of rich internet web apps are Google Docs, YouTube, and Google Maps.
Advantages and Disadvantages of web application development
|Speed and expense
Compared to developing native apps, web application development is quicker and less expensive. Therefore, web application development is the greatest option for organizations if the main objective is to expedite time-to-market.
Despite all the accolades, web apps cannot completely replace mobile apps and will function a little slower than a local server-hosted program.
Although PWAs make an effort to lessen this negative effect, there is no concrete proof that they have been successful in doing so.
Any operating system can run web apps since they are designed to. Web applications can be easily adapted to Android, iOS, Mac OS, and Windows phones thanks to their cross-platform capabilities. The responsiveness of web apps to different devices also aids in removing OS requirements.
In most cases, web apps require internet access to function well or at all. The most engaging online apps won’t reply if you don’t have a web connection, even though PWAs do break this typecast.
|Compatibility with browsers
Using an accessible URL, a web application runs on the device’s browser. All current web browsers, including Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Bing, are compatible with modern online applications. Software compatibility issues are thus never a hindrance.
The use of native technology will always be superior to the use of non-native technology. Web apps aren’t native, thus they don’t have the same ability to work well with the operating system and hardware of your particular device.
Since web apps are by definition cross-platform and system settings vary from device to device, developers obviously don’t design their software to comply with such requirements.
|Decreased operating expenses
Web application development is an excellent method to reduce operating expenses. It works to cut costs associated with maintenance of various systems, frequent device updates, and hardware purchases.
|Simple to update
Only the server(s) would need to be upgraded, making updating web applications simple.
The advantages of web application development include features that are specific to the users. With a reliable internet connection, these programs are easily available through browsers. Only necessary features need to be implemented for custom web apps, saving time and money. A custom web app can help you acquire a competitive advantage in the target market you have chosen as well as increase brand awareness and business traction.
Dedicated servers are often used for web application development, and skilled server administrators are responsible for their ongoing maintenance and management. This is more efficient than using desktop apps to monitor hundreds or even thousands of client computers. Additionally, it guarantees stronger security and finds any potential breaches that might go undetected.
There is no requirement to download web apps from marketplaces like the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. As a direct link via a web app is cost-free, this results in financial savings.
Frameworks and Technology stack of web application development
To develop web applications, the frameworks and technologies listed below will be quite helpful:
Technologies for databases
MySQL is one of the most popular databases used in web application development due to its ease of use and versatility. Oracle Database, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, MongoDB, and RavenDB are a few further well-liked database technologies.
- React JS: React JS is a reliable and popular JS framework for creating complicated, large-scale dynamic web applications.
- Angular JS: Google’s AngularJS, a well-liked front-end framework, is ideal for creating dynamic web apps while leveraging HTML to create static web pages.
- Vue JS: This relatively new JS framework works wonderfully for apps. For developing extremely sophisticated page apps, Vue JS offers a primary framework that is accessible as well as an ecosystem of supporting libraries.
- Backbone JS: This compact JS package adheres to the MVC (Model-View-Controller) application design pattern and offers a RESTful JSON interface. Backbone JS aids with the creation and organization of client-side web applications.
- Node JS: Node JS is a cross-platform, open-source JS runtime based on the V8 engine that is made to help create scalable network applications.
- Ember JS: Open-source JS framework Ember is perfect for creating single-page applications.
Some of the most potent back-end development technologies include frameworks like Go, Ruby, Java, Django, and Python:
- Ruby: Ruby is a free, general-purpose, object-oriented programming language that is used to create web applications that are both quick and highly secure.
- PHP: PHP is a well-liked general-purpose programming language that is quick, adaptable, and practical, making it particularly well-suited for web development. It is an effective tool for developing dynamic, interactive web pages.
- Java: Java is a general-purpose programming language that is used to create desktop programs, web apps, and Android apps. Excellent stability and security are provided by Java.
- Django & Python: Python is adaptable, sophisticated, and has a short learning curve, as is Django. This programming language is used for developing back-end websites. Python and its framework Django are capable of handling back-end development chores well.
- Go: Go is an open-source programming language that is quick and statistically compiled. It was created by Google’s developers. It aids in creating straightforward, dependable, and concurrent web applications.
Web Application Development Process
1. Specify Your Problem
The first stage of the web application development process is defining the issue you hope to solve or pinpointing the precise reason why users should use it. In order to design a web application, you must first identify the issue you’re trying to solve and gather all the necessary data. A clearly defined problem will offer the project a great head start and assist you in choosing the best solution. Clarify the application’s purpose and ultimate objectives next. The planners will go on a run to provide answers to the following questions:
- Which application do you want to create?
- What capabilities and features ought to be present?
- Who are your products’ target customers?
2. Workflow planning
The different components of your web application development can be organized in a methodical manner using a workflow. Consider the components of your web app and how you may use the resources you have available to you to meet the criteria. Your process should be both business- and technology-oriented because you are developing software. Depending on when you want your web app development to be finished, adjust accordingly. Make careful algorithms that will advance your progress.
3. Prototype & Development
In order to communicate the solution to the target users, the web application development step entails building a wireframe or prototype.
The design components will be laid up first by the developers to give the target audience a wonderful user experience. Potential users are then shown the wireframe, and iterations are made till they are pleased after taking into account their feedback.
Web application development comes after design. This phase will include the following actions:
- The developers must decide what data and data kinds are necessary for the application to function properly before building a database for storage.
- The front-end application will be made by developers using the components that were authorized by users throughout the wireframing process. The top frameworks for front-end development must be determined by the developers.
- The user and server will interact thanks to developers.
- When creating a web application, programmers can either start from scratch or leverage front-end and back-end frameworks.
- Programming is done based on the type of application, i.e., client-side, server-side, or single-page.
4. Test Your App
Testing for web applications, whether automated or manual, is a continuous process in web application development throughout the software development life cycle. The process of developing software must always include testing.
The testing (QA) team will test the program for usability, compatibility, functionality, security, and performance to get rid of issues and make sure it runs smoothly.
Testing also aids in locating any future modifications and changes that might be necessary. The following tests are run on a typical web application:
5. Host & Launch Your Web Apps
You can ultimately put the application into use on your company’s or your client’s side once testing in web application development process is over. To establish a server location for the app, you must purchase a domain and pick a hosting company. You can be assisted in making a decision between shared hosting, dedicated hosting, or cloud hosting based on your needs. Every digital product needs regular checks and improvements, whether it is a basic website or a big online application. In order to maintain the application or website:
- Permanent QA checks
- Enhancements and bug fixes
- using user feedback to make adjustments and add features
- Updating frequently and offering assistance with technology
Prime examples of web application development
You can find examples of web application development anywhere or in some outsourcing software services lists. The driving idea for your own web app may be inspired by how you utilize web apps on a daily basis.
1. Google Docs
The most infamous item on this list is Google Docs. Users can edit and suggest changes to documents directly in the web interface through Google Docs. The fact that Google Docs automatically saves any adjustments you make as soon as you make them is one of its outstanding advantages. Your work is practically impossible to lose.
The popularity of Notion is rising significantly. It is a web application that serves a variety of demands and objectives. Notion can be used as a calendar, task list, notebook, wiki, and other things. You can add and modify the components that make up the app from the comfort of your web browser.
A marketing software called Mailchimp enables advertisers to send targeted, automated bulk emails to their leads. For anyone who wants to set up an email marketing campaign, its user interface is simple to use.
Customer relationship management (CRM) service Salesforce Salesforce uses a software-as-a-service (SaaS) paradigm. Companies may provide excellent customer support from the Salesforce web app and even link Salesforce into other platforms, such as HubSpot CMS, for example.
As such, since web application development can be used by any user regardless of the user’s device, operating system, or network, it is a superior option than alternatives like native app development and even hybrid app development. A web app allows anyone with an internet connection, and on rare occasions even people without one, to profitably interact with a business and utilize all of its services. However, just like any other software development project, developing web apps takes time and resources so that you must handle it adequately.