What is a web application and how does it work

In today’s world, the usage of web applications is growing day by day. The most common web applications include email programs, online forms, shopping carts, video and photo editing, instant messaging services and more.

In a few words, a web application is a software that runs in an Internet browser. Any website implying interactive elements can be called a web app. This means that the user can interact with the platform by pressing buttons, filling out forms, requesting a price or making purchases. Similar to desktop computer software or a mobile application, a web app provides a user interface, offers utility or entertainment, and the ability to access, create, store, or modify data.

Traditionally, a web application is divided into two parts: client and server. The client part is the “face” of the application, it is responsible for the interface and for the direct interaction with the user. In order to perform complex operations, the client generates requests to the server and processes the responses from it. The most common client-side technologies designed for developing dynamic web applications are React.js, Angular.js, and Vue.js.

The server part is the “brain” of the application where all complex computations are performed, bulk data is stored, and the work is coordinated in general. Millions of clients can simultaneously interact with one server. Server-side development uses specific tools and frameworks to build dynamic programs that generate dynamic web app. Node.js and Laravel are among the most popular ones.

Building a web application gives the developer the opportunity not to worry about building a client for a specific type of computer or a specific operating system, because a web app can be used by anyone who has internet access, since the client runs it in a web browser.

Over the recent several years, there's been a big leap in web application development, and now we can use web apps for functions that do not normally need a server to store the information. For example, your usual word processor stores documents on your PC and doesn't need a server, however, if a web application acts as a word processor, you can have access to it from any computer with the Internet connection and since all the information is stored in the cloud you have a possibility to download the document onto your personal hard drive.

Web applications offer a lot of different ways of usage and can provide the same functionality and benefit from working across multiple platforms.

Besides, some other benefits of web applications are:

  • Multiple users can have access to the same version of an application
  • You do not need to install a web app to use it
  • They can be accessed through all kinds of platforms such as a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile and through multiple browsers
  • They reduce costs for both the owner and end user because it needs less support and maintenance from the owner’s side and lower requirements for the end user’s device

Speaking about the business, increased Internet usage among companies and individuals influences the way businesses are run pretty much. That is why web applications are adopted widely - companies are getting away from traditional models to cloud-based models. And that is what gives businesses the ability to streamline their operations, reduce costs and increase efficiency. A lot of web apps can provide the same functionality as its desktop versions, however, their added advantage of working across multiple platforms and being easily accessible from anywhere makes them more and more marketable.

by Anastasiya
on 17 April 2020

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