What is a Web Application and why is it Popular?

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A web application or web app, as it is popularly called, is an application that is accessed through a search engine. Unlike the normal system application (app) that we use for mobiles and computers, the web app is a unique creation as it is not an operating system based app, that is – it is not based on Apple or Windows. Anyone with an active internet connection can access the web app easily. 

The web app is a combination of the features of the website and an application. The apps are interactive and fun to play around with. On the other hand, websites are a great tool to present your business to the world. Both seem advantageous. So why not go with both of them at once? And that’s the exact strategy behind the development of web apps. 

Features of Web Applications

An integral feature of web development is the interaction between the user and the software. The most popular web app is Google docs. It is a tool that can be used to create and edit text without the requirement of special software. If we use MS-Word, we must install Microsoft office. But with Google docs, everything can be done in a matter of seconds, provided you have an active internet connection.  Plus, multiple people can access the same document at once! 

Other examples of web apps are YouTube, Facebook, Gmail, and Twitter. Web apps are designed to have an interactive user interface and also facilitate interaction between several users of the app.  There are also web apps that can be used for video editing, for playing live interactive games, and more. 

Considering that both website and website application sounds similar, are they the same? No!

Websites allow only one-way communication. The vendor or the website owner displays whatever they want on the website and the user can simply read them. Through a website, the user cannot communicate with the company. They are generally presented with images, videos, and podcasts.

Websites are generally static, that is they don’t change recommendations based on our preference. For example, if we watch reels on Instagram, we are automatically updated with the reels and posts of our preference. This is called a dynamically active app.  

Web apps on the other hand are extremely user-friendly and dynamically customisable based on the user requirements. We all have our own custom YouTube page based on what we watch and the suggestions keep changing with every video we watch. That is the beauty of web apps. If the user doesn’t like the video suggested by YouTube, they have an option to mark ‘not interested.’ 

Pros of Web Apps 

Here is a list of some of the top advantages of web applications that make it popular among users:-

1. Device Friendly

Web apps are typically used on all devices. It can be used on a tablet, PC, laptop, or even mobile phone. They are also used in all devices irrespective of the operating system like iOS, Android, etc.

2. Easy Access

The web apps can be accessed easily with the help of the internet and don’t require the installation of bulky and time-consuming software. With the work-from-home situation, everyone is bound to have an internet connection and hence it is easier for everyone to access and use a web app. 

3. Interactive Features

The major advantage of the web application is its feature to interact with the customers. Every web app comes with AI software that allows easier communication and automation. For example, if we consider Amazon, then it has got an interactive chat box called Alexa that solves all problems in one go, and in case of unsolvable queries, it immediately redirects you to the customer care of the company. 

4. Dynamic 

Unlike websites, web apps are dynamic. The recommendation changes as per the recent search of the user. Every time you watch a series on Netflix, it comes up with recommendations similar to the one you have recently watched. This feature is very useful to engage the audience to your app and also make them love your app because it features everything that you like. 

5. Convenient 

The web apps are a boon for those who have limited storage capacity on their PC or mobile phones because the web apps don’t have to be downloaded and can be easily used by simply typing their name in the search engine. For example, if you want to create a spreadsheet for the debits and credits for a particular month, you need not download the Microsoft office package that requires 10GB of ram space along with high-speed internet to download it. 

But with the development of Google sheets, the process is much easier and simple. All you need to do is open your browser, type Google sheets, and you are done! This opens up an editable sheet which can also be edited by many persons at once and can be easily shared by Email or even Whatsapp! 

Cons of Web Apps

While there are many benefits that a web application brings forth for the users, there are also some disadvantages of these web apps. Here are some cons:-

1. Internet requirement

Let’s face it. We all have been in situations wherein our internet is stuck and we cannot proceed with our work. If we were traveling or living in a rural place, the availability of the internet is such a precious thing because it is rarely available. 

Lack of internet makes the web apps inaccessible and all the wonderful features cannot be used. If you are living in a place where you don’t receive internet, think twice before jumping into the development of a web app. 

2. Difficult to develop

Along with personalisation, comes the difficulty of development. It is proven that websites are much easier to develop than web apps because of their dynamic nature and platform, operational system independence. 

Generally while developing a mobile app, two different apps of the same application are developed for the users of apple and android respectively. Since a web app is independent of this, it needs twice the effort of the developer to develop a single app. 

3. Specific to a particular theme

Web apps generally are domain-oriented. For example, if you consider Netflix, one can simply watch series and movies and cannot write blogs or do shopping. This is the problem of web apps. They are developed to work on a single field only. 

If we consider YouTube, it is developed to create and watch videos. YouTube doesn’t allow us to create codes, for that we have to use another website/platform. If we consider fitness web apps, they allow us to monitor our fitness regime only and not make a spreadsheet of our schedule. 

4. Takes time to gain popularity

Web apps are typically not available in the play store or App store thus making their availability and popularity limited. Only those who know your business are likely to check out the web app because it is extremely specific and domain-oriented. Hence if you are in the starting stage of your merchandising rethink the development of a web app because it takes a toll on the costs as well as the creator and the rewards might not be instantaneous. 

Final Words

After viewing the advantages and disadvantages of web applications, now let’s analyse why it is extremely popular. Instead of developing perfectly curated websites, web apps are easy to develop and observe a quick change in the trends. We know, there is no alternative to Google, at least in the recent future as it took Google 20 years to become what it is right now! Are we ready to wait for decades to see our business flourish or do we settle with quick options? The obvious answer is quick options and that is what web apps are!

It is extremely dynamic and user interactive, thus allowing dual communication between the business and the clients. When we have proper communication, we can understand the client’s needs and work our business to that mark. Another reason web apps are more popular is the ease of expressing one’s creativity. 

Do you want cute animated faces on your welcome screen? Do you want to include a thank you message after every successful placement of order? Do you want to see your product by creating a gif on it? Do you want your products to be animated so that they could be loved even by children? Web apps answer your entire requirement with ease.  Consider all the pros and cons to decide on which way the web app would suit your business. 

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