The evolution of Internet has given rise to many new things, and one of them is the ‘web app’ (short for web application). The number and significance of the apps have grown steadily in the last few years. Like the traditional websites, even web apps follow the similar client-server format, where the information is supplied from the server and is displayed on the user’s screen using the web browser. However, the app takes this a step further and combines the functionalities of a typical website with installable software. Through this, a web app can provide advanced interactive experience for a user that was earlier possible only through the software that had to be installed.
The advent of the web app has added many innovative features to a website as it can be easily integrated into a simple site with ease. Various novel tasks such as displaying of real-time graphs, conversion of data into various file formats, etc., can now be integrated into a simple site to make it more advanced. It can also be a standalone application that makes full use of evolving browser capabilities. Google Docs, Web mail, and Google Maps, are some of the simplest examples of such apps that offer an enhanced user experience.
The flow of data on the web is sustained by HTTP protocol. In the traditional schema, all the website resources get stored on the server. The web browser that displays the web page of the site is the client and can only display the content. Whenever a website is refreshed, all the assets have to be retrieved by the client from the remote server, even if they are shared across the pages. This leads to unwanted stress on the network, which can make the process quite slow.
In order to solve this issue, the data flow using by web apps has a database embedded right into the browser. The technique, known as IndexedDB, then locally manipulates the data without having to send the request to the remotely placed server. Another technique known as AppCache caches the data resources locally. As the resources are now permanently cached, the browser does not have to request them from the browser thereafter. In addition, the use of APIs (Application Programming Interface) enables a local communication between the web app and other software resources. Thus, it can continue to perform its functions even without the connectivity to the Internet and the server. Thus, the entire process cycle of the app can be performed inside the browser, while the connection to the server is required only during installation. This form of data flow has maximized the speed of access while minimizing the stress on the network, resulting in improved efficiency.
If a business is looking to have an advanced website that offers its users a range of innovative features, then integrating the apps into the business website can be beneficial. Apart from this, there are various other reasons when a business may need a web application as discussed below.
One of the primary advantages of an application is that it can perform all the vital tasks locally on the user’s computer. As it does not have to request the resources from the server constantly, the risk of unwanted manipulation or corruption of the data at the time of many such requests is minimized. Moreover, as the user’s computer does not have to be constantly connected to the net, the risk of being attacked by online threats like viruses and hacking attempts can also be reduced.
As apps maximize the speed through which the users can perform their tasks, they can play a major role in improving the website’s accessibility. Businesses can utilize the advanced features like geo-location capability, and interactive user interface to offer their users with enhanced usability experience. Also, their usage helps the web application developers to create resources that previously were too heavy to be accessed continuously from the server. For instance, a web page can now re-run intense graphics many times with minimal connectivity to the Internet.
Functionality & Cost
As the website can have as many apps as needed that can be integrated into it, it makes the site highly functional. There are numerous plugins that are easily available which can be plugged-in to increase the functionality as desired. These plugins are available in proprietary platforms like J2EE or .NET and even in open source platforms like PHP and MySQL. The open source is free, and so using the platform also minimizes the development cost. Moreover, while the apps can be coded from the scratch, the CMS frameworks like WordPress provide numerous pre-created samples that can be easily customized. These easily available tools and components can thus, be used to upgrade the services as desired, while also keeping the overall expenditure under control.
A business needs its online presence, i.e., the website, to be robust and quick. The integration of web-based applications boosts its processing capability by simplifying the off-line operations. Using the modern technique such as clustering, the performance of the app can be further boosted by running it on several servers concurrently. Thus, in the case of a breakdown of one of the servers, the performance remains unaffected.
A web app can be highly effective in streamlining the business processes, while also improving the accuracy. As the main app resides on the servers, it also eliminates the hassle of installing the software on each system and also simplifies the process of upgrading the new features or versions. This also reduces the maintenance efforts and cost, while improving the overall efficiency. These are some of the critical reasons a business can consider while going for the web app.
- The number and significance of the web apps have grown steadily in the last few years.
- Web apps combine the functionalities of a typical website with installable software.
- They can be highly effective in streamlining the business processes, while also improving the accuracy.