But what exactly is a web application?
In the simplest terms, a web application is a piece of software that runs in a web browser like Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.
Web applications are distinct from websites because they enable users to interact with and manipulate the content displayed on the screen.
For instance, an online banking application enables users to perform transactions and interact with their financial data in a way they wouldn’t be able to on a static web page.
Today, web applications are some of the most popular consumer apps on the market, from Netflix to Microsoft Office, Google, Docs and Trello.
With the mobile application market anticipated to reach $366.34 billion by 2027, it appears likely that many organisations will take the plunge into developing web applications.
After all, these consumer-grade applications are just the tip of the iceberg. Web apps provide a medium to offer features ranging from email inboxes to IM services, contact forms, social media platforms, online portals and eCommerce sites.
Now that we’ve explained what exactly is a web application, we’re going to take a closer look at how web applications work, and why you need one.
Building a web application enables users to access your application without installing any software. This means they can use your app across multiple platforms and devices without needing to go through a lengthy installation process.
Generally, organisations build web applications when they want to offer users functions or features that they couldn’t provide with a static website.
For example, if you wanted to launch a new social media platform, then you’d need to build a web app to enable users to interact to submit content and view their personalised feed in real-time.
You can also monetise this channel through a mixture of in-app purchases, subscription services, advertising and affiliate marketing, to drive revenue.
It’s important to note that monetising your web app can be a very lucrative option.
In fact, global app spending reached $64.9 billion across the App Store and Google Play in the first half of 2021, highlighting that consumers are willing to spend money on in-app purchases if you can offer the right digital product or service.
In addition to understanding what exactly is a web application, you also need to understand how a web application works. Web applications are built under a client-server communication model. Under this model, when the user loads the web application, the client sends a request to the server, which handles the client’s request, and executes the tasks requested by the client, storing and retrieving information from a database.
The process is outlined briefly below:
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