Web applications began to grow in importance as developers gained the expertise and technology needed to turn static web pages into highly functional and interactive browser-based programs. We all use such applications almost every day.
Which companies use web applications? What does the process of creating them look like?
What is a web application?
A web application, due to the fact that it is accessible from a browser, is very often mistaken for a website, while in terms of definition, it should actually be placed somewhere between a standard application and a website. However, let us start from the beginning. A website is nothing more than a collection of logically interconnected elements that are displayed to the user in the browser when the domain address is entered. As a rule, websites are fairly static and primarily serve an informative function. Applications, on the other hand, are utility programs – they require installation on a computer, can perform a variety of functions, depending on business needs, and offer great opportunities for user interaction.
Web applications combine the best features of websites and classic applications – i.e. they are interactive, allow the implementation of various functions, and, what is important, are accessible through a web browser, which means that they do not require prior installation and are not dependent on the operating system. Another important advantage is that web applications can be used on any device – computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Where are web apps used today? Their applications are virtually endless and, although we may not realize it, we use them all the time. Web apps include various communicators, social networking sites, mailboxes, educational platforms, auction sites, and so on. We can thus say that they have an enormous impact on the way the Internet looks today and how we take advantage of the opportunities it offers.
What is it that makes web applications so popular with businesses today? At this point, mention should be made of their high efficiency in the context of achieving a wide variety of business objectives. They can be used to streamline and automate the internal processes of an organization and thus contribute to considerable savings, as well as supporting various sales or marketing activities. Investment in a web application is also prompted by factors such as:
● Speed and stability – even when using a low-power device or a slow internet connection, they can be fast and stable.
● Accessibility – due to the way web applications work, they can be used at any time of day or night, regardless of where you are and what device you are using.
● No need to install and periodically update – all changes are made on the server-side, so no action from the end-user is required.
● High level of data security – this security comes from the fact that an external server is used, where the data is saved.
● High possibility of expansion and modification – in part this depends on the technology, but – as a rulemaking changes in the case of web applications is easier, as everything takes place on the server-side.
Top progressive web app examples
There are endless examples of progressive web applications today, as some time ago businesses recognized their immense potential and advantages, which native applications simply cannot deliver. These include, above all, smooth operation, no need for the user to take additional actions, and the possibility of using the application even when the Internet connection is slow or lost, as web applications save data to the cache.
But let’s move on to specific examples of progressive web applications that can be considered top of the line: Pinterest, Spotify, Uber, Starbucks, Twitter, Trivago, Facebook, Google Maps, or AliExpress. Take a look at them and be inspired when creating your own solutions.
What technology should you choose for your web app?
When setting out on a project involving the creation of a web application, activities should begin with careful planning and establishing the business objectives that the application is to achieve. This is extremely important as it largely determines the choice of programming language, framework, and method of project implementation. If you are not competent enough to make the right decision, it is essential to consult the experts.
By far the wisest approach is to develop a web application using an external entity – i.e. a carefully selected software house. Why? Such a method of building applications will allow you to choose the optimal technology for your project and enable you to work with experts who can boast extensive experience and a proven track record of specific implementations. When developing an application with your own development team, you are very often forced to decide between just a few programming languages that your team feels most comfortable with. Although such a solution may seem natural and reasonable from the point of view of costs (after all, this is what we maintain our own team of programmers for!), it is not necessarily so from the perspective of reliability, speed and efficiency.
How are web apps developed today?
The process of developing a web application is not much different from other processes involved in developing any software. The first step always involves a thorough analysis, which aims not only at identifying the needs reported by the business, but also assessing the feasibility of the project. It is a lengthy process, but undoubtedly, a very important one. Indeed, a cursory and incomplete analysis may result in a project that, at some point, will have to be terminated because it fails to achieve its objectives. As a result, the organization will be left with an unresolved problem, plus considerable and completely unnecessary costs.
After feasibility studies and thorough identification of needs, it is possible to proceed to the stage of building a prototype (MVP), i.e. a version of the application providing the minimum necessary functionality. With this approach, it is possible to test the application, identify bugs and even extend it with additional functionalities at an early stage of the development process. The MVP model of application development is undoubtedly very safe for organizations, as it allows them to decide at the early stages of development whether the application engine works as the business expects it and if there is any point in developing it further.
If the MVP meets your expectations, you can proceed to the next stage of application development – i.e. adding new functionalities and improving the graphic layer to make it as clear and attractive as possible for the end-user. The last stage of the project usually comprises tests, possible training, and implementation of the application in production, i.e. making it available to users.
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