Web App Development: Just A Trend Or A Smarter Way To Build Apps?


Web applications have two sides to them: a frontend and a backend. The frontend is what we see when a webpage loads on our web browsers, while the backend is the other side of the application and mostly where the developers interact.


What is a website?

A web browser can parse HTML and CSS natively and JavaScript with the help of the JavaScript engine to create the frontend. HTML, Hypertext Markup Language, is the standard markup language for documents designed to be displayed in a web browser. CSS gives style to the documents created with HTML while JavaScript is a programming language that makes a webpage interactive and user-friendly.

Remember the time you were booking a flight ticket and forgot to enter your phone number. You clicked the submit button but the booking didn’t go through and instead the page scrolled to the web form field where you were supposed to enter your phone number. That was JavaScript doing its job as it prevented the page going through and instead scrolled to the web form location and highlighted the text in red.


Characteristics of a website

You can put HTML, CSS and JavaScript code in a notepad and push it to a web server to create a static webpage. However, modern web applications are dynamic in nature and must display a personalized web page to each user.

To display dynamic content, web applications require a scripting language such as Python, Perl, PHP, and Ruby. Unlike HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, a web browser cannot render a scripting language client-side and must rely on server-side rendering. Server-side rendering parse the incomprehensible script to a browser-readable format to display dynamic content specific to the user.

For server-side rendering, web applications rely on specialized web servers such as Apache, Apache Tomcat and NodeJS. The backend, in addition to a web server, also contains an application server that hosts the business logic of a web application and the database to store and retrieve information. 


Why do you need business logic in a website?

Facilitating the flow of information between a user interface and a database is only a subset of what business logic does. Business logic is actually part of the web application’s program and its primary job is to imitate real-world business rules. For example, business rules dictate rules for data creation, storage, changes, interaction with business objects, and the formation of routes.

Business rules describe the operations and define constraints that apply to an organization. The operations collectively form a process; every business uses these processes to form systems that get things done. Let’s take an example of a web application running monetary transactions:

  • The person making the request must have the authority to do so.
  • The transaction must be atomic.
  • The transaction may have reporting requirements to the government if it’s over a certain amount.


How a web application works

  1. User triggers a request to the web server over the Internet, either through a web browser or the application’s user interface.
  2. The web server forwards this request to the appropriate web application server.
  3. The web application server performs the requested task – such as querying the database or processing the data – then generates the results of the requested data.
  4. The web application server sends results to the web server with the requested information or processed data.
  5. The web server responds to the client with the requested information that then appears on the user’s display.


Why do you need a web application?

When you navigate from one webpage to another, the client sends a new request to the web server which in return sends a new set of code for the web browser to load. From a developer’s point of view, the server sends a different HTML page per route. Frequent browser-to-server roundtrips slows down the process of content consumption and hinders the user experience.

Users accustomed to mobile apps on their Android and iPhone prefer a single page approach to the applications they interact with. Single page applications, or SPAs, are the basis of modern web development. The emphasis is on loading the home page, entire static content and rendering the dynamic content on the fly as the user interacts with the web application.

Our clients often prefer web applications due to their loading speed. But there are more benefits to this type of application. Continue reading to find out more.


Characteristics of a web application

When you open Facebook on Chrome it displays your timeline. However, when you try to load comments to one of your photos, the server feeds the data on the fly. Thanks to SPA functionality, you can see in real time if somebody is writing another comment on the photo. SPAs are the reason you don’t need to download Skype or Teams on your device and can access it from a compatible browser.

The idea of putting native desktop and mobile apps on your web browser makes life a lot easier, but it comes with a potential bottleneck: performance. Web applications are sandboxed inside a web browser and thus have limited performance apparatus than a native application.

An older iPad that runs the Google Docs mobile app just fine may struggle to pull up the Google Doc web app on Safari due to these constraints. For an organization, a web application brings immense benefits in terms of time and cost. Their developers won’t have to maintain various versions of the same applications and can get by with a reliable web application that works across all major browsers.

Modern web applications are JavaScript heavy. If a user makes too many requests in a short space of time, they’re essentially hogging their device’s resources which may crash the web browser. Also, web applications should function in real-time. When your manager assigns you a task on Vault-ERP, it should be displayed on your task list instantly. However, that may not be the case every time since JavaScript is slower to load on older devices and browsers with a slow JavaScript engine.

You don’t want your chat sessions to act like an email conversation on Yahoo. To circumvent these limitations modern web applications, including SPAs, prefer rendering JavaScript server-side.


Benefits of web applications

A few years ago, somebody made Google Chrome’s JavaScript engine, V8, work outside the web browser. Since V8 is a part of Google's open source project, Chromium, NodeJS as an independent package is also open source. If somebody could install NodeJS on a web server, they could render JavaScript on the server-side and send the client a pre-rendered copy in real-time. Server-side rendering of JavaScript means lighter applications and developers can move even heavier application workloads to the web.

Moreover, organizations can code their business logic in JavaScript itself and render it on a NodeJS server. They can reassign their frontend developers to take care of backend code too now that they both run on the same technology. There’s no doubt that full-stack development is one of the most sought after talents on the job market. With a single team of developers taking control of the full-stack of web development, we would see an even more tightly integrated application across both frontend and backend.


The future of web applications

If web applications can deliver a similar performance to mobile apps, they’ll eventually replace them. From a business perspective, web apps make more sense as they’re easier to maintain due to the fact they don't have to maintain separate instances of the application for each platform. One application that doesn’t need downloading, installing, updating, and loads on most web browser in seconds sounds like a dream come true for developers, organizations, and users.

Developers now just have to maintain one application that works on any device with one of the compatible browsers installed. Organizations can build applications with fewer resources; their developers will bill them for less hours. Users would love the idea that they can interact with a higher quality application without ever downloading and installing it.


Example of web applications

A number of world organizations are moving their legacy application stack to the web. Web applications offer unparalleled accessibility, on-demand collaboration, instant communication, and seamless collaboration.

Software vendors can unlock the potential of SaaS by moving their existing software offerings from license-based distribution per device to a subscription model per account. SaaS is more rewarding than licensing deals.

The reason Microsoft, the leader of enterprise productivity tools, felt threatened by Google Workspace was due to Google’s advances in web application development at the time. Microsoft had a tough time catching up with Google’s competition until they came up with their own in the form of Office 365. Office 365 turned out to be a thumping success but not until Google pushed Microsoft to build a web version of their favorite Office applications. Web applications are more than trends, they’re a smarter way to do things.


Read on: Benefits Of Outsourcing Software Development


How to get your own web app

If you don’t have a programming background, you’ll probably struggle to build a functional and useful web application. Luckily for you outsourcing is a great way to get what you want and boost your business.


Read on: Clutch Applauds And Ranks Rare Crew Among Top Slovakia Developers For 2021


Here at Rare Crew, we have years of experience in building business-focused applications that help our clients grow. Don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll tell you more about our possible collaboration.



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