In recent years, web applications have become much more common than downloadable software. They have firmly taken the lead because you can access them at any time, with any device, as long as you have an internet connection.
However, it is true that the term “web application” is still very broad. That’s why in this article, we will explain everything there is to know about web applications.
What Is a Web Application?
A user might have a lot of difficulty distinguishing between a website and a web application.
According to the dictionary definition, a web application is “a program or set of programs designed to help the user of a computer perform and process a specific task.” So, we can say that a web application is a tool that fundamentally aims to facilitate the execution of a specific task using the web as its method of operation.
Unlike a website, which is a communication tool that allows a company to present its brand, and mission, and offer services or products, a web application is more about task execution.
A web application is a software application hosted on a remote server and accessible via a web browser. It allows users to perform specific tasks.
Furthermore, unlike traditional software, a user of a web application does not need to install it on their machine; everything is done through a web browser. You simply need to access this web application using a browser to have access to the same functionality as software installed on your computer.
What Are Web Applications or Web Software Used For?
Now, we can ask ourselves what web software is used for and why this solution is much more advantageous than a native application or a simple website. Here are the many advantages that web applications can offer:
- Accessibility: By hosting web software on a dedicated server or in the cloud, you are no longer dependent on the type of device your client has or its power. Some devices’ power can be a real problem for native applications, requiring a lot of analysis to make a native application run on all existing devices. This is the advantage of web applications, as they only require an internet connection and access to a web browser to run on all devices.
- Updates: Web software can be updated continuously, even though many do not. The advantage here is that for a web application, updates are done on the server side, so all users benefit from them without having to install them.
- Development: Web software only needs to be developed once, whereas a native application needs to be designed to be compatible with both Android and iOS.
How Does a Web Application Work?
To work, a web application requires an internet connection. This means that if you do not have access to an internet connection, you cannot use a web application. To better illustrate this, imagine accessing Facebook without an internet connection. It’s impossible, right?
So, Facebook is a web application that allows its subscribers to create and share content, as well as perform various actions.
Apart from Facebook, there are now countless web applications on the internet that allow users to perform specific tasks.
In the case of a business, a custom web application would be software accessible from a URL that allows the owner and their employees to quickly complete tasks that could take an eternity to do otherwise. In business jargon, the term “management software” is also used to refer to a web management application.
In the dynamic world of app development, web app and mobile app development are essential components, encompassing progressive web apps (PWAs) and native apps. The comprehensive web application development process involves a dedicated development team collaborating on the application server to build a web app that can be experienced across web pages or downloaded from an app store.
These examples of web development exemplify the adaptability and accessibility that web developers strive to achieve, ensuring that users can access their products seamlessly, regardless of the platform.
Different Types of Web Applications
Static Web Application:
A static web application displays minimal information and generally does not change much. In fact, these web applications are displayed to the user exactly as they are stored on the server. They are generally developed using HTML and CSS, and animations and videos can be displayed somewhere in the application.
However, it is not easy to change the content of static applications. To do this, you need to edit the HTML and update it on the server. Normally, these changes are the responsibility of the webmaster or the development company that programmed the web application design.
In addition, static web applications lack flexibility and offer little to no interaction for the user; they are generally informative.
However, these static web applications can be complex to modify their content because, to do so, you absolutely must edit the HTML and update it on the server. Moreover, to make these changes, you will have to go through your webmaster or the development company that programmed your web application. This is why we move directly to dynamic web applications.
Dynamic Web Application:
Regarding dynamic web applications, they are much more technically complex because they use databases to load different information. In addition, the content of these dynamic web applications is updated every time the user accesses the web application.
For the programming of these dynamic web applications, the most common programming languages are PHP and ASP, as they allow for good content structuring.
However, dynamic web applications have an advantage over static web applications because the design of dynamic web applications can also be modified to suit the administrator. Dynamic web applications also offer users a wealth of information based on user interaction and change continuously.
Examples of dynamic web applications include booking and TripAdvisor.
E-commerce Web Application:
You are probably familiar with this type of application if you have ever ordered something online; they are part of e-commerce. These web applications are generally called online stores or e-shops.
The most important thing in this type of web application is to include electronic payments with credit cards or other options such as PayPal, for example. Therefore, the developer must create an administration panel for the administrator to manage product stocks, sales, and more.
That’s why we recommend entrusting the development of this type of web application to development agencies specialized in this field, such as Oshara, to ensure there are no security vulnerabilities.
Thanks to this, products will also be downloaded, updated, or deleted, and you will have control over various orders and payments.
Examples of e-commerce web applications include
Web Portal Application
A web portal application refers to websites or services that offer a wide range of resources or services, such as email sending, a forum, or a search engine.
In this type of web application, the homepage provides access to various sections, categories, or topics.
You should view web portal applications as a bridge that provides access to different information on the internet. Web portal applications offer a consistent appearance and user-friendliness with control and access procedures for multiple applications and databases.
Web Application with Content Management
Generally, these web applications are paid or available as open-source solutions. Web applications that offer content management are called CMS (Content Management Systems).
These systems allow you to manage all the content of a website, whether it’s textual, visual, or auditory elements. Web applications with content management can also allow you to manage elements related to ergonomics, layout, or web design.
The advantage of this solution is that these web applications are intuitive and straightforward to manage.
Animated Web Application
Animated web applications are typically developed using FLASH technology. This can be complex for someone who is not an expert in the field, but this solution allows you to have a completely animated web application.
These animated web applications are the most modern and will allow you to add movement to your web application to stand out from the competition.
What Are the Benefits of a Web Application?
- No Installation Required
Unlike software, a web application requires no installation. You won’t have compatibility issues or other concerns. Installed on a web server, your application is accessible to all users through a web browser. The web application can also be opened on all operating systems (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, etc.) without any additional installation, as they all come equipped with a default web browser.
- Work Quickly and Efficiently
With a web application, you can speed up certain management or operational processes in your organization, especially through automation.
- Save Thousands of Dollars
Thanks to a web application, you can eliminate some operational costs that used to inflate your expense budget. Investing in a custom web application can be expensive depending on the complexity of your needs, but it’s the best solution to save substantially and grow your business.
- Work from Anywhere
All you need is a PC and internet access, no matter where you are on the planet. This is cloud computing. With a custom web application, you can even monitor what’s happening in your business in real-time, analyze performance reports (KPIs), and make quick and informed decisions.
- Simultaneous Work
Being hosted on a server, a web application allows all your users to work simultaneously. They can work on a file at the same time, for example. You can track the progress of tasks in real-time.
- Simplified Updates
With a web application, you no longer need to worry about updates or adding new features. You don’t have to install the new version for all your users before they can benefit from it. Simply update your application on the web server, and you’re good to go. Thanks to this easy access to updates, your application can afford regular updates, thus fixing bugs or other issues.
- Enhanced Data Security
A web application gives you better access and control over your data. With features like “controlled access through identification and certificates” or “automatic backup,” you benefit from the secure means of large data center infrastructures.
- You Contribute to Environmental Preservation
Goodbye to software on CD-ROMs that need to be locally installed on your computer. Goodbye to the excessive use of paper and, sometimes, fuel.
A custom web application integrates all your business needs into a single tool, allowing your employees and collaborators to improve their productivity and performance.
What Are the Steps to Create a Web Application?
Define the Objective and Concept of Your Web Application / Software
It is essential to start by defining the objective or concept of your web application. The most important thing is to identify the need that your web application will address.
Determine what your software will be used for. Will you use your web application for your own business or make it available for public use? Or do you plan to sell this web application and offer it with a monthly, annual, or weekly subscription? To help you, ask yourself why you want to create this web application. You probably want to create it based on an experience you’ve had in life or a need you had for which you couldn’t find a solution.
For example, Canva is a web application that allows you to easily create visuals for various purposes. It offers a free version, but for more in-depth access to the tool, it sells a monthly subscription with many benefits.
Conduct Market Research
Market research is often overlooked, but it is an essential step in creating your web application. This will help you save time, avoid mistakes, and gain a real insight into the market you want to target with your web application.
Through market research, you’ll validate the assumptions you had when you wondered what your web application would be used for. Additionally, there are two important elements you should address in your market research: analyzing the mistakes made by your competitors and finding out if there is a real market for your web application.
Choose the Features
How will your web application work?
You need to define the main features your web application will have – these are the features that will address the primary needs of your users. As we discussed earlier, you can later update your web application to add secondary features, so start by focusing on the main feature(s). To help identify these features for your web application, ask yourself how your web application can help users solve their problem.
Design the Prototype of Your Web Application / Software
A prototype is an approximate preview of how your web application will be laid out on different screens, as well as the user journey that you find most intuitive and relevant.
Here’s a tip: avoid adding colors or other unnecessary design elements at this stage; your goal is to build the skeleton of your web application, so stick to creating wireframes.
In other words, wireframes should answer various technical questions, such as how to move from screen A to B, what effect a button will have when a user clicks on it, or how to arrange content for a clean display.
Develop the Design of Your Web Application / Software
Once you have established the different wireframes and the links between the various pages of your web application, you can proceed with the design of these wireframes. In other words, add colors to the various elements and choose the fonts you want to use for your software. Your web application should have its own graphic identity to set it apart from other web applications.
Develop Your Web Application / Software
Once the final design of your web application is ready, you will now need to develop it yourself or contact a web agency specialized in web software development, such as our Oshara agency, which has been specializing in this field for over 10 years now.
This step will be the last one before launching your web application. It’s probably the most technical and complex part because you’ll have to choose a technical solution from a large number of options for its implementation. You’ll need to decide on the programming language to use or whether to use SaaS, a CMS, and many other considerations.
If you have completed all these steps, you are now ready to launch your web application and introduce it to the market you have defined. Don’t forget that for a web application to function and endure over time, you must continually update it and consider adding additional features.
Why Choose Oshara for the Design of Your Web Application?
When the software available on the market does not meet the needs of your business, it’s a sign to consider investing in the development of a custom web software or web application.
Push the boundaries of your business with web application technologies and keep your team productive and efficient with a web application tailored and designed just for you.
With custom web software or a web application, you have the assurance of having a personalized management tool for:
- Better control over your activities, costs, and monitoring.
- Improved performance of your team and employees.
- Better operational results.
- A positive return on investment.
At Oshara, we strive to use the best technological resources to optimize your business processes. Our custom software and web application solutions are designed to precisely meet your needs and help you reach your full potential.
Whether it’s analysis, custom web applications and management tools (SAAS, CRM, ERP, Productivity, etc.), web applications and dashboards, software integration solutions through APIs or interconnected applications and SSO, automation, or the Internet of Things (IoT), web application development is complex, but this allows it to be adapted to any device.
Our role is to provide our custom web application development tool to optimize your business, design it, and, by definition, create custom software. Designed by us and for you. We are the reference, and our experts are ready to assist you.