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What is a Web Application?


A web application is a software or program which is accessible using any web browser. Its frontend is usually created using languages like HTML, CSS, Javascript, which are supported by major browsers. While the backend could use any programming stack like C#, PHP, etc. Unlike mobile apps, there is no specific SDK for developing web applications. Client-Server used to be the buzzword for web application. Web Applications came to prominence with the advent of Software as a Service (SaaS) movement.


Millions of businesses use the Internet as a cost-effective communications channel. It lets them exchange information with their target market and make fast, secure transactions. However, effective engagement is only possible when the business is able to capture and store all the necessary data, and have a means of processing this information and presenting the results to the user.

Web applications typically have short development cycles and can be made with small development teams. Most Web apps are written in JavaScript, HTML5, or Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Client-side programming typically utilizes these languages, which help build an applications front-end. Server-side programming is done to create the scripts a Web app will use. Languages such as Python, C#, and Ruby are commonly used in server-side programming.

How a web application works

Web applications are usually coded in browser-supported language such as JavaScript and HTML as these languages rely on the browser to render the program executable. Some of the applications are dynamic, requiring server-side processing. Others are completely static with no processing required at the server.

The web application requires a web server to manage requests from the client, an application server to perform the tasks requested, and, sometimes, a database to store the information. Application server technology ranges from ASP.NET, ASP and ColdFusion, to PHP and C#.

Example of a web application

Web applications include online forms, shopping carts, word processors, spreadsheets, video and photo editing, file conversion, file scanning, and email programs such as Gmail, Yahoo and AOL. Popular applications include Google Apps and Microsoft 365.

Google Apps for Work has Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, online storage and more. Other functionalities include online sharing of documents and calendars. This lets all team members access the same version of a document simultaneously.

Benefits of a web application

  1. Web applications run on multiple platforms regardless of OS or device as long as the browser is compatible
  2. All users access the same version, eliminating any compatibility issues
  3. They are not installed on the hard drive, thus eliminating space limitations
  4. They reduce software piracy in subscription-based web applications (i.e. SaaS)
  5. They reduce costs for both the business and end user as there is less support and maintenance required by the business and lower requirements for the end user’s computer

Why you need a Website?

  1. An effective method to showcase your products and services
  2. Developing a site helps you to create your social proof
  3. Helps you in branding your business
  4. Helps you to achieve your business goals
  5. Allows you to increase your customer support

Why you need a Web Application?

Web applications are more popular because of the following reasons:

  1. Compared to desktop applications, web applications are easier to maintain by as they use the same code in the entire application. There are no compatibility issues.
  2. Web applications can be used on any platform: Windows, Linux, Mac… as they all support modern browsers.
  3. Mobile App store approval not required in web applications.
  4. Released any time and in any form. No need to remind users to update their applications.
  5. You can access these web applications 24 hours of the day and 365 days a year from any PC.
  6. You can either make use of the computer or your mobile device to access the required data.
  7. Web applications are a cost-effective option for any organization Seat Licenses for Desktop software are expensive where SasS, are generally, pay as you go.
  8. Web-Based Apps are Internet-enabled apps that are accessed through the mobile's web browser. Therefore, you don't require to download or install them.

Characteristics Of Websites

  1. Quality and relevant Web Content is which richly displayed.
  2. User-friendly navigation and web design
  3. Can be easily searched using search engines like Google.

Characteristics Of Web Applications

  1. Cloud-hosted and highly scalable
  2. Mostly Cross-platform
  3. Modular and loosely coupled
  4. It is easily tested with automated tests.

Web Application Components

When we say web application components, we can mean any of the following two:
  1. UI/UX Web Application Components – This includes activity logs, dashboards, notifications, settings, statistics, etc. These components have nothing to do with the operation of a web application architecture. Instead, they are part of the interface layout plan of a web app.
  2. Structural Components – The two major structural components of a web app are client and server sides.
  3. Client Component - The client component is developed in CSS, HTML, and JS. As it exists within the user’s web browser, there is no need for operating system or device-related adjustments. The client component is a representation of a web application’s functionality that the end-user interacts with.
  4. Server Component - The server component can be build using one or a combination of several programming languages and frameworks, including Java, .Net, NodeJS, PHP, Python, and Ruby on Rails. The server component has at least two parts; app logic and database. The former is the main control center of the web application while the latter is where all the persistent data is stored.

Types of Web Application Architectures

A web application architecture is a pattern of interaction between various web application components. The type of web application architecture depends on how the application logic is distributed among the client and server sides. There are three primary types of web application architecture. Each one of them is explained as follows:

  1. Single-Page Applications (SPAs) – Instead of loading completely new pages from the server each time for a user action, single page web applications allows for a dynamic interaction by means of providing updated content to the current page. AJAX, a concise form of Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, is the foundation for enabling page communications and hence, making SPAs a reality. Because single-page applications prevent interruptions in user experience, they, in a way, resemble traditional desktop applications. SPAs are designed in a way so that they request for most necessary content and information elements. This leads to the procurement of an intuitive as well as interactive user experience. - The client component is developed in CSS, HTML, and JS.
  2. Microservices Microservices Architecture framework has a number of advantage that allows developers to not only enhance productivity but also speed up the entire deployment process. The components making up an application build using the Microservices Architecture aren’t directly dependent on each other. As such, they don’t necessitate to be built using the same programming language. Hence, developers working with the Microservices Architecture are free to pick up a technology stack of choice. It makes developing the application simpler and quicker.
  3. Serverless Architectures in this type of web application architecture, an application developer consults a third-party cloud infrastructure services provider for outsourcing server as well as infrastructure management. The benefit of this approach is that it allows applications to execute the code logic without bothering with the infrastructure-related tasks. The Serverless Architecture is best when the development company doesn’t want to manage or support the servers as well as the hardware they have developed the web application for.

Posted on by OSE Software.

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