Web Apps: definition, pros and cons in comparison

Web Apps: definition, pros and cons in comparison

The Internet is seen as a communication medium that is both accessible and affordable to businesses. Your business must employ web apps to comprehend, store, and process all necessary data and processing resources, nevertheless, if you want to trade rapidly and communicate market knowledge efficiently information administration. So what is a web application? What distinguishes web apps from websites and how do they function? The following article has the solution.

What is a web application?

An program that can be accessed through a web browser is a web application. Web apps appear and function like mobile apps when used on a mobile device through a browser, but they aren’t the same.

What is a web application?

Advantages of Web Apps

  • Platform-agnostic: Web apps are not created for any particular platform; they are platform-agnostic. They can be created for any platform as long as a web browser can run them.
  • Low initial expenses: Web apps take less time to create and don’t need a lot of developers because they aren’t platform-specific. Web apps will therefore initially cost less than other kinds of software.
  • Easy to maintain: Web apps are simple to maintain because they don’t require the usage of a particular coding language because they are platform-independent. Instead, they employ coding languages that are widely used across various platforms, often a blend of client- and server-side scripts like HTML and Javascript. They are consequently relatively simple to construct and maintain.
  • No app marketplace: Web apps don’t follow the guidelines set forth by operating systems, hence they are exempt from an app store’s review process. They can therefore be made available in the format and at the time that the developers decide.
  • Automatic updates: Users don’t have to visit the app store to manage updates because web apps aren’t downloaded from one. Each time a user opens a web app, they always see the most recent version.

Disadvantages of Web Apps

  • Internet connection required: Because web apps are used in browsers, users must have internet connectivity in order to utilize them. As a result, they are unable to operate offline, which may aggravate consumers who are having connectivity issues.
  • Lack of discoverability: Since web apps are not available in app stores, they are not advertised or promoted there. A web app may find it more challenging to get visible and to attract users as a result.
  • Less functionality: When it comes to utilizing hardware and software characteristics of devices, web apps have a considerably smaller reach. Web apps lack access to an operating system’s functionality because they are not created for that system. As compared to other app kinds, this implies less functionality.
  • Poor UX: Web apps are not required to follow an operating system’s protocol requirements, and they are also not required to follow an operating system’s UI standards. Offering users a smooth experience becomes more challenging as a result.

What is a mobile app?

The most popular kind of app is a mobile app. A mobile app, also referred to as a native app, is created for a particular platform, which determines the language in which it is developed. For instance, native Android apps are written in Java or Kotlin, whereas native iOS apps are built in Swift and Objective-C. Before comparing a web and mobile app, let’s first examine the benefits and drawbacks of a mobile app.

What is a mobile app?

Advantages of a Mobile App

  • High-performing: The most effective kind of app is a mobile app. Mobile apps shine in terms of quality, security, and device compatibility since they must follow established operating system standards in order to be accepted by their respective operating systems.
  • Superior UX: Since mobile apps are created specifically for an operating system, they may access all of the capabilities of that system. This enables them to offer more features that cater to consumer needs. Mobile apps are also likely to provide users with a more seamless experience because they must follow the operating system’s UI guidelines.
  • Support from the app market: App marketplaces provide support and disseminate mobile apps. This can increase their downloads and make them more accessible.

Disadvantages of a Mobile App

  • High up-front costs: Creating mobile apps takes a lot of time and skilled developers because they are platform-specific and must follow operating system rules and protocols. This implies that compared to other app kinds, mobile apps will be more expensive up front.
  • App store authorization is required: App store clearance is necessary since mobile apps follow the same operating system procedures as other software. The app’s format and release date cannot, therefore, be determined by developers.
  • Manual updates: Users must go to the app store to handle their updates because mobile apps are downloaded from an app store. If they do not upgrade the mobile app as soon as it becomes available, they will see an out-of-date version when they open it.
  • Difficult to maintain: Because mobile apps are platform-specific and must adhere to language, protocol, and user interface constraints, they can be challenging to maintain and update.

Native Apps vs Web Apps

A native app is created specifically for a platform, downloaded from an app store, and occupies space on a user’s smartphone. On the other hand, a web app is not native to a particular platform. A web app can be accessed using internet browsers and will adjust to the user’s device without having to be downloaded from an app store or taking up storage space. Some websites will offer both a web app and a native mobile app.

To further grasp the differences, let’s examine the two Goodreads app types below, starting with the native app.

Native Apps  Web Apps
Native Apps vs Web Apps Native Apps vs Web Apps
The titles on your “Want to Read” shelf will display as they do in the above screenshot when using the native Goodreads mobile app. Take note of the sort and filter buttons for viewing these titles, as well as the preview buttons for each title. In order to access the homepage, discover page, or search for a title to peruse, the navigation bar also appears at the bottom of the screen. The web app’s color scheme, design, and overall appearance are comparable to those of the mobile app, but there are some obvious differences in functionality and design.

First, there are no preview buttons or options to filter or order the titles when viewing them. Second, a navigation bar with different options than the mobile app appears at the top of the screen. Additionally, a banner encouraging users to launch the Goodreads mobile app may be found below the navigation bar. Only two book titles fit on the screen due to the excessive amount of content, although practically four titles do so on the screen of the mobile app.

The native mobile app offers a superior user experience compared to the online app, even though both apps achieve the identical purpose of allowing users to access the book titles on their “Want to Read” Shelf. Goodreads made a wise decision to offer both, allowing people who haven’t acquired the mobile app to continue access the website on their phones.

Progressive Web App (PWA)

Progressive web applications (PWAs) were developed in order to integrate the greatest features of both native apps and web apps because web apps lack key native app features like working offline or sending push notifications. PWAs, which combine web pages with native apps, offer advanced features that web apps lack, such as sending push notifications, operating without an internet connection, and allowing touch gestures and instructions. PWAs, however, are comparable to web apps in that you don’t need to download or install them.

How to Build a Web App

The general procedure for creating web applications is as follows:

  • Select an idea.
  • Make sure it will fill a need by conducting market research.
  • Establish the features of your app.
  • Draw up user journey maps.
  • Build a wireframe.

Your web application is now prepared for development. For online app developers, there is no software development kit (SDK), in contrast to native mobile apps. But there is a standard for web applications. Most of them are created using a mix of client-side and server-side script, such as HTML and Javascript, and server-side script, like PHP.

Web apps can be created relatively quickly and easily compared to native apps because the majority of developers are familiar with these coding languages and because they have less functionalities.

How to Build a Web App

Some famous examples of web apps

There are many different types of web apps. They can include email, word processors, spreadsheets, shopping carts, and more. Let’s look at some of the most popular online applications available right now.

1. Gmail

One of the most effective web applications is Gmail. It does much more than just show emails. It enables users to communicate with other users through chat, compose new emails, archive old ones, and reply to emails. Additionally, they have the option to star communications, flag spam, and search their inbox. You cannot get push alerts or new mail using the Gmail web app, which is the main distinction between it and the native mobile apps for Android and iOS.

2. Twitter

One of the most well-known use of this new technology was Twitter’s progressive web app, which it unveiled in 2017. Twitter’s PWA is a fantastic, lightweight alternative to its mobile app for consumers with limited phone storage. You can write tweets, like them, retweet them, and react to them using the PWA. Tweets can now be scheduled or saved as drafts using the web app as of May 2020. The web app does not, however, offer all of the features that the native app does.

3. Uber

In 2017, Uber overhauled its online application from the ground up to ensure that consumers could request a ride no matter where they were, what device they were using, or what network speed they had. With a file size of less than 50KB and compatibility with all recent browsers, m.uber may load rapidly on any device and even on 2G networks.

4. Starbucks

In 2017, Starbucks created a PWA ordering system from the ground up for users who may not have regular internet access or may lose it intermittently during the day. With fluid animations, a minimal download size, and caching, this PWA looks and feels like the native app – but it’s faster, more responsive, and performs better. Customers can use the PWA to examine menu and nutrition information, view prices for their exact location, and modify and place orders.

Web Apps Examples

As such, this article has given you the most fundamental information possible on web applications, including the idea of what a web app is, how it functions, the advantages it offers, and how it differs from a website. I hope you found this post helpful, were able to fully utilize it, and learnt some key points for using web apps efficiently.

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