The modern first world is a world revolving around convenience. Businesses are...
Business Software Solutions: Web Apps
Mini-Series: Part 3 of 5
Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Get updates about software solutions for your business
What is a Web Application?
Let’s start with the most obvious question. What is a web application? Since we’ll be discussing both web and mobile applications throughout this post let’s start with a more generic question: what is an application? Or more specifically, what is a software application? A software application is a collection of software that accomplishes a specific task. The task itself can be as simple as adding two numbers, or as complicated as managing all of the marketing leads that your business establishes daily. Generally, these programs are built with end-users in mind. If you want to read more about applications and understand the difference between software and an application, I think this is a great, short read with a nice table: https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/difference-between-software-and-application/.
So now that we understand what an application is, you’re probably starting to understand what a web app is and does, as well as the difference between a web and mobile app. If you’re still a little confused, don’t worry, we’ve still got a lot to cover!
A web application is a collection of software, built generally for end-users to accomplish a specific task AND runs in a web browser environment. In simpler terms, web apps are specific applications that run on your browser. Now, because the modern smartphones have built-in web browsers, the confusion between a web and mobile app is completely understandable. If you’re still a little shaky on the difference, it’s quite simply that mobile apps are a reserved term to mean applications that run natively on the mobile device. The more you dig through a topic such as this, the more you’ll come across the term native. This just means that something is built with, or boils down to, the native code for that particular device. Or even simpler, the programming language the device was built with.
So it’s Basically a Website?
Endless Business Possibilities
Now that we understand the difference between a website and a web application, let’s go over their benefits for you and your business. As the section header suggests, the possibilities are close to limitless. Pretty much any problem that your business has can be solved by developing the right web app. There’s a reason why “there’s an app for that” has become a household expression. If you look at any problem with a scientific mindset, the problem can almost always be solved given enough data and experimentation. Oftentimes, deriving the solution takes a creative approach, but that’s part of the fun! I mention this because that’s what apps are designed to do: solve specific, sometimes obscure, problems to improve productivity, efficiency or, in the case of a business, profitability. Let’s take leads as an example. Many businesses out there need leads in order to sustain and grow, but tracking leads can be difficult. That’s why there exists quite the number of SaaS products that help manage leads, and why we build custom web apps tailored for your needs. Basically web apps exist to make running your business easier!
Does my Business Need a Web App?
Good question! We’ve been circling around this topic in the last couple sections but really the only question you should be asking yourself is if you’d like there to be additional user interaction outside of the standard online shopping experience. While you can build a web app with a custom Stripe implementation, their API is comprehensive enough to support static websites and their integration into WordPress builds is extremely simple. The user interaction you should consider is usually some sort of login functionality where the user can access some sort of portal or dashboard that handles the specific services you offer or provides additional value to the user.
If the answer is no, another reason companies often switch their web build to an app is for the performance boost I mentioned. With the new MVVM (Model-View-ViewModel) architecture that most of the SPAs utilize, includes clever ways to speed up rendering of the page content. React, for example, has a layer called the virtual DOM, or V-DOM. As things change within the data, the V-DOM is constantly changing, but will only update the HTML DOM when there is an HTML element change and that element is currently mounted. Pretty cool stuff!
Cons of Web Apps
Well, that’s all I had for ya this week, folks! Obviously I had a lot to share on this topic and still have a lot more. If you’re still interested in learning more about web apps, or if you’re considering switching your website over to a web app, please let us know in the comments below and we’ll be sure to get back right away! The end of this article means that there’s only 2 more left in this mini-series. Check back next week for digital marketing and why every business could benefit from it. Bye for now!