What is a Web App?
A web application is computer software accessed through a web browser via the Internet (or Intranet). Web Applications are found in every industry and category, such as Antivirus, Office Management, Audio, Billing, Backup, Email, File Transfer and Networking just to name a few. Often web applications are connected to a database to provide an interactive experience specific to the individual using the application. Web applications that can be found online are often called Software As A Service (SaaS). The advantages of SaaS from a business perspective are many, including: worldwide accessibility, online storage and backup, and not having to deal with individual Operating System requirements. An easy example is accessing your Webmail program such as Gmail or Hotmail while on an out-of-country trip.
How is a Web App different from a Website?
While web apps and websites can be built using similar (or the same) programming languages, websites generally display information and media, where web apps instead interact with the user and are more data driven. For example, Amazon can be considered a web app because if performs tasks specific to the user’s preferences, rather than simply displaying information. When you differentiate the two categories you will notice that static websites are mostly a thing of the past and popular sites are generally hybrids, allowing the user to customize information specific to their interests.
When should you choose Web App Development?
The clear advantage to building a Web Application which can be accessed via the internet is the ability for your team to access this information from anywhere in the world with their web browser. A web application is also not stuck to a specific operating system version, so having to make software changes and support users when a machine is upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 8 is a thing of the past.
Web App versus Mobile App Development
With the early hype of Mobile Applications settling down (now that most of the population has converted to smart phones), it’s important from a business perspective to look at whether investing in a web app or mobile app is the best way to reach your customers. and to drive new business. Generally speaking web app developers can pack more ‘bang for your buck’ as your concept only needs to be built once, then include multiple layouts for the different mobile browsers accessing the app. Mobile applications on the other hand, often require a new build for each Operating System (iOS, Android, Blackberry) which can get expensive.
Mobile Apps are the preferential choice when you require the use of native device objects such as GPS, the camera, or download accessibility via the App Stores. However, with the inception of HTML 5 and responsive design (creating sites which provide optimal viewing based on the user’s browser) responsive web applications are poised to deflate the popularity of Mobile Apps. Mobile phones have increasingly powerful browsers and speed which puts Web Applications at the forefront of smart business choices by creating something that is universally accessible to smartphones, tablets, kindles and desktop computers.