What Is a Web Application? Definition and How It Works

Now, every business merely depends on the online platform and creates its website for business development. Companies never compromise on the functionality or quality of a legitimate website. It is the route for connecting with their customers and assisting them in building their company’s global brand. Web applications are developed in order to interact with the customer and reach out to the products and services they provide.

As a result, demand for web application developers has increased dramatically across all industries. According to the job portals, more than 6000+ job vacancies are available for web application developers, which is expected to increase by 30% based on the location. 

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Before moving on to an in-depth understanding of how a web application works, we shall discuss why web application is most important in rapidly changing technology. 

Why are web applications critical?

Business plays a crucial role in the advancement of the world’s economy. A stable company has several benefits for the community and the nation in which it operates. A firm boosts a nation’s economy and helps finance its tax collection. A diverse range of firms in the area has various benefits. It initially generates many jobs locally, encourages foreign investment, and, when combined with the expansion of facilities, invites foreign companies, finally leading to a rise in the country’s revenue. You must have understood all the benefits given so far and why you might require an improvement to manage your organization effectively.

Web apps allow businesses to run much more efficiently and expand regardless of where their many offices, clients, and dealers are. A company can significantly improve with the enhanced application system, which is necessary for a constant and steady business expansion.

For running a business, there must be no delay in delivering the services. Moreover, now in the technological world, there is no restriction on expanding the business globally. No boundaries or geographical location restricts them from the expansion of business. 

People have already been able to collaborate on various projects and carry out routine commercial operations due to the advancement of the Internet and fast network speeds. Businesses must transition from software to web applications to maintain their expansion and growth. This is how a web application works.

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What is a web application?

The web app is also referred to as a website application. A software application known as a web app employs web-based technology to carry out particular functions.

Web apps are hosted on remote web servers, storing pertinent data from several connected workstations. You can utilize a client program to execute online applications and access or enter the necessary data. Web apps are sometimes referred to as client-server programs.

In 1987, Larry Wall developed the first web applications. Perl, a server-side Unix scripting language, proved helpful in processing reports. Since then, web apps have seen a great deal of development, and today’s versions are far more progressive in terms of features and functionality. 

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How does a web application work?

For a web application to work correctly, three components are essential. This consists of a web server to manage client requests, an application server to carry out the requested activities, and a database to store the data. The typical operation of a web application is as follows:

  • Through the application’s user interface, the user will establish a network connection to the Internet and submit a request to the web server.
  • The request will be processed by the web server and sent to the appropriate web app server.
  • The web application server will complete the operation and produce the necessary data returns.
  • The data will be returned to the web server by the web app server.
  • The web server will deliver the requested data to the client’s computer, mobile phone, or other devices.
  • The user’s display will show the requested information.

Web-based application examples

  • Gmail
  • Google Docs
  • Google Analytics
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Online Forms
  • Amazon
  • Canva
  • Facebook
  • WhatsApp
  • Email Marketing Tools
  • Netflix

Introduction to Web Development

The process of building online-based websites and applications is referred to as web development. Apart from designing a website, the developer focuses on coding and programming. 

Web Development can be categorized into three types:

  • Frontend – Client-side coding
  • Backend – Server-side coding
  • Storage – Database technology

A developer’s role in a web application

A web app’s functionality is typically coded using a combination of server-side and client-side scripting languages. So, developers can use any programming language like ASP, PHP, Java, CSS, HTML5, JavaScript, or Python for server-side and client-side scripting. The objective of the server-side script is to permit the web application to store data on the web server and recover it when required. The information is presented to users by the client-side script. Users can get the desired information once the software has been executed and run by suitable browsers.

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The whole web application development team will design various web apps. At first, they will choose whether to build dynamic web apps that require server-side processing or static web applications that do not need server-side processing. 

The phases of development include data gathering, planning, and design and implementation. Content creation and integration are also essential. The developers will then code, test, and review the web application for bugs. The web application’s creators will keep an eye on it after it is released to make any essential features, code changes, and maintenance.

Look at the few technologies used for web application development:

  • Hypertext Markup Language for web layout
  • Cascading Style Sheets for web styling
  • For frontend development- ReactJS JavaScript’s framework utilized
  • For server-side development- NodeJS JavaScript’s framework utilized
  • For storing data, the MongoDB database is utilized
  • For frontend development, Angular TypeScript’s framework is utilized.

Web developers also employ various technologies, including PHP, Java, Ruby, and others. 

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 A web developer is one who:

  • You are responsible for building and maintaining the website as a website developer.
  • Cooperate with the customers, clients, designers, and stakeholders. 
  • Focuses on the front, backend, or even both if they are full-stack developers.

Types of Web Developers

The three primary types of web developers:

  • Frontend developers– As a frontend developer, you will be responsible for building and maintaining a client-side web app. 
  • Backend developers– As the name implies, they work behind the screen. They manage and monitor the services of the application of the website. 
  • Full Stack developers: As we know, full stack developers must be skilled in all technical skills. Here, they are responsible for creating features.

Difference between website and web application

Basic features and purpose

A website is wholesome of static and interlinking, which is compatible for end users to view in any browser. If we visit any website, we might see content, images, and videos to make the reader more interactive and to make them revisit our page. 

A web app, on the contrary, is a software component containing interactive elements and user-interactive features. User engagement determines a web application’s value or effectiveness. Hybrid websites, which combine static and dynamic elements to enhance user experience, are proliferating.

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A website does not necessarily need to be pre-compiled before being deployed. Additionally, you do not need to recompile and deploy if you make site modifications. Just updating the HTML code to perform it. Precompilation, however, is essential for the effective deployment of a web application. 

The benefits are rapid reaction rates, source code security, and the capacity to detect and identify mistakes early. Recompilation and deployment are necessary for the complete program every time you change.


Integration with a third party is not mandatory for websites, and the procedure is uncomplicated. Integration of a web app with internet tools and third-party software solutions is more difficult due to its complicated features. To gather, store, and process data for web applications, third-party integration is necessary.

User interaction

User interaction is important for the website because we can immediately access it on a web browser. The web browser such as:

  • Microsoft Edge
  • Internet Explorer
  • Google Chrome
  • Qwant
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Brave
  • Apple Safari

However, a browser is the only device to display or read website content. You are unable to engage with it. So, you can download or install a web app on your mobile phone. The data can then be accessed, used to create customized interactions, and modified.

User authentication

The website does not require any authentication from the visitors. Instead, it may ask for signing up, which will help them get regular visitors or update a thing they post. In most cases, a web application will demand user identification before granting access to its many possibilities.

New updates

Regular updating of your website will help you generate leads. Whenever you update your website, your visitor can view it immediately. The updated version of a web application must be downloaded on your computer or mobile device by browsing a website or an online app store. Before using the most recent features, you must install them on the device.

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Benefits of web applications

Web applications have many benefits, including:

  • Web applications are easily downloaded and compatible with various computers and mobile phones.
  • It required only a browser that is compatible with the operation. It is independent and does not need any OS or device.
  • Developers do not need to create separate client-side apps for various operating systems and PCs because they can run on several platforms.
  • Since web servers can store web applications, they do not need to host locally. Moreover, you need not be bothered about the space restrictions on your hard drive.
  • As web applications are stored on a remote web server, there is no need for technical support. 
  • It is easy to make modifications in the web apps and able to keep them updated. 
  • Furthermore, it determines and eliminates compatibility issues.
  • If you purchase a custom web application for your company, you may alter it, expand its capabilities, and scale it to meet your needs.
  • Web apps provide the best processing management and enhance work effectively for businesses. So, as a business manager, you can utilize them in integrating data from various sources. Moreover, you can share information in spreadsheets with your team and cooperate on assignments and reports.
  • For data privacy and security, web applications are utilized. Web applications have the compatibility of storing data on web servers. Server administrators with extensive experience keep an eye on these systems for unauthorized disclosure and take precautions to stop them.
  • They utilize cloud data storage, so you won’t lose your data even if your desktop or smartphone is broken.
  • Interoperability across web apps enables better web integration and the adoption of cutting-edge Internet technology.

Web-based application examples?

  • An email program like WebMail is an example of a web application.
  • Other web apps include a rapid messaging app like Telegram, a social media platform like WhatsApp, a retail site like Snapdeal, and a photo-sharing application like Google Photos. You might have used Zoom, Dropbox, Microsoft 365, WeTransfer, and Flick web apps.
  • Everything from spreadsheets and shopping carts to online banking can be found in web applications. They are now essentially required in all businesses for almost any task you could wish to complete.

Is Facebook a web application or a website?

Facebook is a customizable website with web application-like functionalities and features. For instance, Facebook gathers information from users, administrators, advertisers, and other sources and then displays a unique webpage to each user based on their online activity and preferences. It offers features that go beyond information presentation.

Now, you would have understood how a web application works, the types of web applications and the difference between a website and a web app. So, to comprehensively understand web applications, you can join a web development course to have exposure to wider career opportunities.

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