Building web-based projects with web app development allows them to function like traditional applications found on mobile devices, without the need to download or install them. Instead, these web applications prioritise active user involvement and interactive responses.
While a website mostly provides static content such as text and images for viewing, web applications offer a more interactive experience to users by allowing them to interact with the content on the page. Creating a web app that satisfies the user’s needs requires careful consideration of how they will engage with the site and how the site will respond to their actions.
Distinguishing between traditional web development and web app development can offer insights on how either method can add value to your business.
This tutorial will delve into the advantages and disadvantages of web applications and provide detailed guidance on how to create them.
Defining a Web Application.
“Web application” refers to any software created using web development technologies and accessed through a web browser.
Back-end and front-end web development tools are used to build web applications, which share similar characteristics with websites. The process of designing a web application involves many elements that are common to web design in general.
Unlike traditional websites, web applications are accessible from any mobile device.
A “web application” is any software that can be accessed via a web browser.
Differentiating Between Websites and Web Applications
The main purpose of a web application is to increase user engagement, while websites are primarily designed to offer content.
While it may initially appear insignificant to differentiate between web pages and applications, understanding the distinction is crucial.
When browsing a typical website, users can use their mouse to navigate between pages or scroll down for more information. Users may also be prompted to provide personal information when making an online purchase or subscribing to email updates.
Thanks to web applications that enhance user experience, users have access to a wider range of online services. Regular updates are necessary for web applications to remain responsive to the constantly evolving nature of user interaction.
A comparison of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to a local deli’s website would reveal that interaction within a web browser is more engaging on the former. This is because Facebook and Twitter offer an experience that is distinct from that of a typical business website like a deli’s.
The main objective of a website is to provide information, while web applications are designed to be utilized by multiple users simultaneously.
What Are PWAs, Exactly?
In the realm of web application development, the Progressive Web App (PWA) has emerged as an innovative offering that combines the advantages of hybrid and native applications in a single, hassle-free package.
Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) can be accessed via web browsers, much like traditional web applications. They are public, just like any other website.
Unlike mobile apps that require downloading and installation, users can access Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) without any of these steps. The key benefit of PWAs is that they remain accessible on the user’s device at all times.
Progressive Web Apps can currently be found on Microsoft Store and Google Play Store. While there are similarities between Progressive Web Apps and traditional mobile apps, they are distinct from one another.
With Progressive Web Applications, users can directly access them from their device without having to open up a web browser first. These apps may also prompt users with push notifications. PWAs can work even without an internet connection, and offer speedy loading times.
The criteria for determining what constitutes a PWA were originally established by Google engineers Alex Russell and Francis Berriman as follows:
- Works offline regardless of connection status
- Features an interface resembling that of a native app
The allure of Progressive Web Apps lies in their efficiency and cross-platform compatibility. However, it is commonly acknowledged by software development experts that hybrid apps and web applications often have slower performance compared to native apps.
It should be highlighted that the purpose of Progressive Web Applications is not to replace mobile apps, debunking any existing stereotypes.
Think of Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) as web pages that are specially tailored for optimal performance on mobile devices. They are more user-friendly than regular websites and offer a more immersive experience than conventional web applications.
PWAs stand out due to their unique behavior that sets them apart from both traditional mobile and web applications.
How Do Web Applications Benefit Users?
To comprehend the web application development process, it is necessary to evaluate the pros and cons that come with it.
There is no denying the multitude of benefits that building web applications provides, particularly in terms of improving user experience and interaction. Hence, it is highly recommended to delve into the potential of this approach.
1. Improved Accessibility
Web applications can be accessed without having to download or install them. Additionally, with Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), device storage is only utilized when the application is opened.
With mobile devices progressively featuring larger storage capacities, some users are finding that having too many apps can be cumbersome. In contrast, some individuals may have insufficient space on their devices for adding more applications.
By choosing progressive web apps, users can enjoy the convenience of not having to consistently update their apps. Additionally, consumers can reap the benefits of mobile applications while avoiding their downsides.
2. Convenient Portability
Users have the flexibility to access online applications from any of their devices. Consumers can utilize web applications on any device that is connected to the internet, including tablets, smartphones, or computers.
Web applications are created to be platform-independent, which means they are accessible to users regardless of their operating system. By having an internet connection, users can participate in an interactive information exchange on any device, whether it’s a PC, iOS or Android mobile device.
3. Easy Scalability
Web applications simplify production and staffing processes.
Opting for native development would require creating two distinct applications to feature your mobile app on both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
To support a mobile app on all major platforms, you would need three times as many resources.
Web app development never suffers from these problems as only one codebase is utilized.
Kindly elaborate on the disadvantages of utilizing web-based software.
Here, we’ll delve into some of the downsides of developing for the web.
1. Limited Access
Internet connectivity is a must-have for web applications to function effectively. Although Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) have challenged this idea, the most sophisticated web apps require an active internet connection to operate.
2. Significantly Reduced Capabilities
Domestic technologies are commonly more advanced than foreign ones. Since web applications are not native, they are unable to fully leverage the mobile device’s operating system and hardware.
As online applications are cross-platform, developers do not create applications with precise requirements for each device, as system settings can differ between them. As a result, the app’s capabilities are limited in contrast to those of a native app, which has been specifically designed for the user’s operating system and mobile device.
3. Decrease in Speed
Although online applications are commendable, they cannot act as a substitute for native mobile apps and operate at a slower pace than locally hosted software.
Progressive Web Applications aim to alleviate this limitation, but there is presently no reliable evidence to support their success.
Categories of Internet Software
Different web application frameworks possess unique features due to their individual designs. Although they all use web technologies, they are frequently classified as client-side, server-side, or single-page applications.
As opposed to a conventional multi-page application, where new pages are only loaded after a user clicks a link, a single-page application (SPA) concurrently loads all pages. SPAs provide the advantages of both server- and client-side programs.
Web app developers have the capability to create single-page applications that do not mandate full page refreshes when an action is implemented, or new information is acquired, using server-side rendering.
Applications Executable on a Client Computer instead of a Server
This web front-end software has been designed to aid website creation, making it crucial for mobile app designers to factor in user experience. These web applications prioritize their users’ requirements and offer them with robust features.
To commence the application, data and/or business logic necessary for its operation is dynamically loaded. Client-side rendering eradicates delays between page requests, enhancing website responsiveness by accelerating user interaction with the data.
Applications Hosted on a Web Host
Crafting websites solely operated on the server or back-end is a logical progression from crafting any website. This type of programming entails the development of APIs, databases, servers, and other auxiliary functionality pertinent to an application.
Although server-side applications still present content and user interfaces, the webserver holds the most lively segments of the code.
While Server-Side Rendering (SSR) necessitates the browser to send a request to the server and wait for a response, affecting the application’s performance, it is recommended to incorporate static content for this web application.
Server-side web applications are more secure and support a broader assortment of browsers, in contrast to client-side web applications.
Seven Simple Steps for Web Application Development
With a comprehensive understanding of web application’s advantages and disadvantages, we can now contemplate building one. Nevertheless, it’s imperative to acknowledge the essential steps required to develop a prosperous web application.
Many programmers are familiar with the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), which can also be employed for web application development. Developing a well-thought-out web app development framework is essential to comprehending how to create a web application.
1. Identify the Problem
The first step in developing a web application is comprehending the problem you intend to solve with your application or identifying the purpose of your web app for end users.
Innovation is a constant process for many individuals, but frequently such ideas are void of practical solutions to existing issues.
2. Develop an Action Plan
Workflows provide a systematic approach for handling the different phases of web application development. When weighing the features of your web app and determining how to meet its needs, it’s crucial to examine the existing resources in a creative manner.
If you’re a software developer, it’s essential to ensure that your procedures meet both technical and business requirements. Tailor the schedule to achieve the desired web application launch date. Employ algorithms to implement incremental enhancements as and when necessary.
Developing a prototype is a crucial element of web application development. It involves creating an app version with limited features, but offers users a glimpse of what the final product may entail, for instance, a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
4. Prototype Verification
Since users are already exhibiting interest in the end product, it’s vital that the app prototype is of superior quality to inspire confidence and commitment in continuing with the project.
To determine the feasibility of your web app prototype, present it to potential customers and integrate their feedback into future plans.
5. Mobile Application Preparation
In order to efficiently develop your app, it’s crucial to have a comprehensive knowledge of the back-end and front-end technologies and frameworks that align with your project requirements. Once you have identified and acquired the requisite resources, you can proceed with constructing your web app.
Software development teams often consider testing as a vital component of the project life cycle, verifying that any web applications are bug-free in each version released.
Paying close attention to software quality assurance is crucial before launching a web app to the public. It is vital to take appropriate steps to verify that the web app aligns with the requisite standards.
7. Launch your web app.
To launch a web app online, you need to procure a domain name and cloud hosting service, similar to what is required while hosting a website.
Technologies and Methodologies for Web-Based Application Development
Now that we have defined the process for developing a web application, we can determine the necessary tools. To ensure success in web application development, your organization must possess both back-end and front-end technologies. Each aspect of the web project necessitates a unique combination of technologies and frameworks.
The front-end of a web application constitutes the user interface that most users directly interact with. It necessitates the development of the client-side of the application. Over the years, the technologies employed to create web applications have largely remained unchanged.
HyperText Markup Language (HTML)
Almost all webpages that you have ever encountered have been built utilizing HTML. Its primary function is to format and arrange the document’s media files, such as text, images, audio, or video.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Scripts
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) can be used to format web pages. They establish a framework for organizing the text and elements included in the HTML document, such as font style, color, and positioning.
CSS is primarily responsible for the aesthetically appealing visual design of websites.
In web application development, the server-side logic should be housed in the back end. To ensure optimal user experience and performance, it is critical to thoughtfully evaluate the application’s technology stack.
Programming Languages for Computers
Before beginning to work on the project’s functionality, it is important to establish communication and interaction with a variety of back-end components, such as databases, and potentially construct APIs.
As technology has progressed, different frameworks have emerged to standardize the process of creating back-ends, with each framework using its own preferred programming language.
Whether it’s user details or product specifications and stock levels, databases are the primary storage option for every type of online project.
Services stored on servers are interacted with by the front-end application and its users. To secure the system, all data requests must be routed through a server, which will authenticate the user and confirm their access. Typically, these servers will also host the databases required for the program to operate correctly.
Application Programming Interface (API)
APIs grant access to back-end systems, enabling the service to integrate with other associated applications and services. Publicly exposing certain aspects of the service allows for a smoother connection.
A web application can either use an API provided by another service or create an API for use by other applications.
Widgets and applications that use APIs from external sources to provide a service or convey information include those that enable users to make in-store payments via PayPal, check weather forecasts for specific locations, and collect travel timetables.
Examples of Applications that Run on the Web
Take a look at some prevalent Web Applications that you can access from your browser and use (or that you might already be using) in your daily routine.
Google Docs (and its accompanying Google Drive) is an online platform that provides comparable services to traditional office suite applications, such as word processors, spreadsheet editors, and presentation creators.
As a web-based service, it also offers benefits over competing products, including the ability for multiple users to edit and collaborate in real-time.
If you are searching for a music streaming service, one of the most popular options is Spotify.
By utilizing their online application, you can listen to music, generate and distribute playlists, and receive customized recommendations based on the music you already enjoy.
Dropbox is a cloud storage service, similar to Google Drive and other comparable services. You can access your synchronized files from your personal computer or use their online application to view all of your files in your browser, as well as upload and download new files.
Timer Log Application
Toggl Track is an excellent tool for efficiently tracking time spent on various tasks or projects. It is easy to generate time reports that show the amount of time dedicated to tasks within a specific timeframe, for a particular project or client, or a combination of the two.
Evernote is a highly popular note-taking application that can be downloaded to personal computers or accessed online. It allows users to create notebooks to organize their notes in an efficient manner, clip webpages for future reference, and generate to-do lists to ensure timely completion of all tasks.
Hire a Freelance Web Developer
Works can assist you in finding and hiring a qualified remote web application developer at a competitive price and within a reasonable timeframe. Proper management of expenses and scheduling are crucial when undertaking any software project, and we strive to provide you with the highest quality service possible.
We possess the resources to match skilled web developers with appropriate companies and ventures. Drop us a message, and we’ll assist you in getting started.