In this article ,We go over the different types of web applications.
But first, lets understand what a web application is.
A web app is a website that designed to look and feel like a downloadable app.
And just like websites , some are static and rarely updated , while others are responsive and offer a great deal of interactivity .
The main advantage of web applications is that they are cheaper, quicker, easier to build and can be used offline In addition they function on a desktop as well as mobile .
Their only downsides: they work only through the browser and do not have access to all the features on the phone.
Lets dive into the different types.
Static Web Applications
Users can only read the information.No other interaction is possible .Used only when the information requires no more modifications.
Unless it is changed physically on the servers hard disk, content does not change.
Static web apps are loaded on the clients browser exactly how they are stored on the server.The content is not modified by an application server before the page is sent to a browser.
Advantages of a static web application :
- Cost effective .
- Takes less time to load .
- Suitable for small website’s with no/very few content updates.
Dynamic Web Application
A dynamic web application generates the pages/data in real time, as per users request.
When the web server receives a request for a dynamic page, the page is passed to a software called the application server.
Databases are used at the server end , so the user gets the updated content.The application server reads the code ,customizes the page and passes it to the web server which then sends it to the browser.
They are used when the information changes often.And are much more complex to construct and design.
Tools used in the creation of dynamic web application: CGI (Common Gateway Interface), ASP (Active Server Pages), JSP (Java Server Pages), ASP.NET, PHP etc
Single Page Apps (SPA)
They are smooth and fast .Easy to develop, debug and deploy.
Users don’t have to navigate to different pages ; all the content is loaded on one single page .
Here’s an example :
(Trello — Single Page Application)
SPAs are faster than traditional web applications because they execute the logic in the web browser itself rather than on the server.
Advantages of Single-Page Applications
- Fast: Most HTML/CSS/Scripts resources are only loaded once throughout the lifespan of an application. The content updates dynamically .And the page never reloads completely.
- Caching: An SPA sends only one request to a server and then stores all the data it receives.And then is able to work offline.
Disadvantages of Single-Page Applications:
- Poor SEO optimization.
- SPA’s are less immune to cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks than are multi-page apps.
Multi-Page Apps (MPA)
Multi page applications are the traditional web applications that reload the entire page and displays the new one when a user moves to another page
A new page is requested from the server to display in the web browser.
This process takes time to generate the pages on the server, which may affect the user experience.
Advantages of Multi-Page Applications
- SEO : Much better chance of ranking for diff keywords since each page is optimized for one keyword.
- Scalability : With no page limitations you can include as much information about products or services.
Disadvantages of Multi-Page Applications
- Slow Speed:When moving from page to page the browser has to completely reload the page’s HTML CSS and scripts .This affects speed .
- Development, Maintenance and Updates: MPA’s take longer to develop compared to SPA .The larger the website the longer it take to develop, maintain and update.
If your business deals with a variety of products or services ,it would be better to have them on different pages with a multi page application
Portal Web App
Portals enable enterprises to have personalised interfaces that serve their users needs.
Only members having access can see the content of web portal.
Once the user logs in, the service provider can track user’s website activity .Based on the access assigned , certain features may be restricted for certain users.
Since web portals are websites that require you to login the languages used are similar to web design and development services .
Some of the languages include: Angular JS , Laravel ,React ,JS ,Node JS ,Ruby on Rails, Asp.Net etc
Examples of portals
- Student & Faculty Portals
- Patient Portals ,
- Employee Portals
- Government Portals,
- Online Banking & Insurance Portals
Animated Web Applications
Animations in web apps are useful in holding people’s attention longer and highlighting relevant information .Only add animations if it meaningfully enhances the user experience.
Animations can be non-interactive like a GIF
[Loading animation. Image source: Dribbble]
OR be dynamic where it changes based on how the user interacts with it
Event Website Design by Julien Renvoye
Web Applications with a Content Management System
A content management system (CMS) is a software that helps users create, manage, and modify content on a website without the need for technical knowledge of web programming or markup languages.
They are easy to use inexpensive .
Without a content management system, you would need to write the content in a static HTML file and upload it to your server.
- Easy Editing and plug-ins to extend existing functionality
- They are easy to use inexpensive
- Multiple users can edit and make changes to the content and these changes can be tracked .Previous versions of the content can be easily retrieved.
Examples of content management systems include : WordPress,J oomla and Drupal.
Rich Internet Apps (RIA)
A Rich Internet Application (RIA) is a Web application that has all the features of traditional browser applications but is faster , more engaging and has better data communication.
They can even be used offline.
RIAs generally split the processing across client side and the application server side.The user interface and related activity are handled on the client machine, and the data manipulation and operation on the application server side
Basically the Data on the server , rest of the functions client side.
This makes the application more interactive than traditional browser applications
Using client machines for this kind of processing also improves server performance.
An RIA usually operates in a sandbox, a designated desktop area in a client machine.Limiting visibility and access to the client machine’s file system and OS,reduces security vulnerabilities.This approach also lowers the amount of client-server bandwidth traffic and resource usage
Technologies used to build RIA’s include :AJAX,Java ,Java FX,Adobe Flash ,Adobe Flex and Adobe Integrated Runtime(AIR), Google gears, Microsoft Silverlight ,Curl.
Examples of RIA’s :Google Maps Google Docs and Youtube
Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
[Image Source: Medium]
It is an app that works on any browser or mobile device.They have the look and feel of an app when used on mobile .
E-commerce Web apps
Majority of online shopping traffic comes from mobile; this makes web apps the perfect choice to drive engagement and revenue .
Any company that sells online would benefit from helping shoppers make a purchase quicker.
Enter Progressive Web Apps.
These apps are not just faster,but more reliable, engaging and high converting
Developing a Web Application?
Before investing your time and resources on developing a web app evaluate your needs ,and choose the type wisely.
Whatever the size of your business ,when you’re at a technological crossroad always choose what will best serve your audience
Not doing this could cost the whole project.
Need help building your web app?
Get in touch with us -the best web development company in Chennai.
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