What is a Web App?

What is a Web App?
What is a Web App?
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In our daily lives, we use numerous web apps to perform daily routine tasks and we cant even recognise them. To make sure that you know what kind of web app you are using, today I am going to talk about web apps.

What is a Web App?

Any application program that is stored on a remote server and delivered over the Internet through via browser interface is known as a Web App. Web services are known as a web app by definition. But no every website contains web apps.  According to Web.AppStorm editor Jarel Remick, “any website component that performs some function for the user qualifies as a Web app”.

These web applications are versatile and can be used for various purposes. Any individual or organisation can use them for different reasons. The most used web applications in our daily lives are webmail, online calculators, or e-commerce stores. Mostly all of the web apps can be accessed on any browser, but some of them can be only accessed by a specific browser.

How Web applications work

You do not need to download any web application as they are accessed through a network. You can easily access various web applications via web browser for example, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Safari.

There are three components that are required for a web app: Web server, application server, and a database. The web server manage the requests that come from a client. The application server completes the requested task. The database is used to store any needed information.

The development cycle of web apps are short and can be made with small development teams. The common programming languages to create web apps are JavaScript, HTML5, or Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). These languages are typically used by client-side Programming. These languages are used to build the front end of a web app. While the server-side programming is done to create the scripts used by a Web App. The common programming languages used in server-side programming are Python, Java, and Ruby.

What is an advantage of using web apps

There are variety of web apps in use, and so are its benefits. Here are some of the benefits of Web Apps:

  • The user does not need to install it on the hard drive, so there is no space limitation issue.
  • It does not need a lot of support and maintenance from the businesses.
  • It has lower technical requirements from any user’s computer system.
  • The web application is capable to reduce costs for both the end user and the businesses.
  • The user does not need to update web applications every time as they are updated centrally.
  • There are no compatibility issues as all the users can access the same version.
  • The user can can access web applications anywhere with a web browser.
  • The user only needs a compatible web browser, as web applications can run on multiple platforms irrespective of the operating system or device.
  • Web application ensures that a developer does not have to build a client that is compatible with a specific type of computer or an operating system.
  • In subscription-based web applications, Web applications reduce software piracy as well. 

What is a Progressive Web App?

The modern APIs are used to build and enhance Progressive Web Apps (PWA) to deliver enhanced capabilities, reliability, and installability. Progressive Web Apps (PWA) can reach anyone, anywhere, on any device with a single codebase.

How to build/make a web app: slow-code vs low-code

Like any other app development, there is no single way to develop a web app. There are various kinds of tools, methodologies, techniques, and standards out there that can be used to develop a web app. This is good news because it means that there is a suitable option out there for every skill level and project scope. In other words, even a beginner can create a web app.

The web app development is generally divided into two categories. The first one is traditional development and the second one is new technologies. Let’s look at the definition of these categories, and then later will jump into native apps and hybrid apps.

Traditional development

The traditional development is also known as a slow code, and it means building everything from scratch, including all the interfaces, data connections and business logic. As expected, this is one of the pretty labour-intensive processes and you will need specific technical skills to achieve this.

Few tools are also available that can make this easier including component libraries, code frameworks, and other various shortcuts. But even with these tools creating a web app is an involved process.

Building a web app via new technologies

These days, developers use more high-level, abstracted tools to build web apps. That is because the no/low-code revolution is at the centre of this.

Developers these days are extremely smart, they have realised that instead of building apps from scratch, they can use low code tools to develop all sorts of simple and complex projects. They know that using low code tools is faster, cheaper, and more effective. And that’s only for those who already know how to create a web app.

For all of you who are less technical types, low-code will work just as much. For example, Budibase enable beginners to build fully functional, professional web app without writing a single line of code.

I will now introduce few prerequisites to create a web app.

Prerequisites to create a web app

If you want to create a data centric web app from the bottom up, then you will need to understand following three:

  1. Backend language (e.g., Python, Ruby) – It controls how your app works.
  2. Web front end (HTML, CSS, Javascript) – This is to design the look and feel of your app.
  3. DevOps (Github, Jenkins) – It is required to Deploy / host your app.

If you do not have any experience in back-end language, web front end and DevOps, then you have following two options:

  1. I would recommend go to code Academy, and learn about back-end language, web front end and DevOps. There are also other lots of resources available online where you can learn these three.
  2. Then use a web builder like Budibase to develop a desired web app.

Moving on. The time has arrived to quickly dive into the Web app vs native apps vs hybrid apps.

Native and Hybrid Apps

Web apps are sometimes compared with native apps and hybrid apps. Native apps are the apps that are specifically developed for a particular platform or device and installed on that same device. Such apps can employ device-specific hardware like cameras or GPS and thus have an advantage in functionality over hybrid or web apps.

Hybrid apps as it is evident from the name are a combination of native and web apps. The inner workings of a hybrid application are like a web application, but its installation is like a native app installation Process. Although hybrid applications have access to internal APIs just like a native app, but they are not as efficient as native application.

I hope that now you can understand the basic concept of a web app. Drop me a comment if you want more articles or tutorials about this topic.


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Muntaha Saleem
She is an Editor-in-Chief . She is a Telecom engineer and a blogger. She loves to blog about latest technology news and products.

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