One of our specialist subjects here at Candy is web app development. We’re increasingly being asked by more clients to develop bespoke web apps to help their business to reach more people in an intelligent, intuitive way. That’s why today we’re sharing the characteristics and features of web applications in simple terms, including the versatile ways in which they can support business growth in the short and long-term. 

What is a web app and why do you need it?

Even if you aren’t familiar with the term, most people are already acquainted with web apps and understand what they do and how they work. In fact, the chances are you use web apps yourself every single day to help you with a variety of tasks, from taking notes and planning projects to liking a picture of your friend’s new puppy. 

In technical terms, a web app is a computer program which uses web browsers and technology to perform specific tasks over the internet. Web apps often look and behave in a similar way to mobile apps, but unlike the apps you use on your phone or mobile device, web apps are exclusively accessed via a browser (think Google, Safari, Firefox). Web apps offer a host of different functions either in a singular capacity or combined – from photo and video editing, word processing and online forms to media access and file sharing. For this reason there are also many types– including dynamic, portal, content editing and e-commerce.

Often you may not even know you are using a web app – in fact, many function and feel like a standard website (more on this below). Examples of popular web apps include Gmail, Netflix, Microsoft 365, Zoom and Spotify.

Web App

What’s the difference between a web app and a mobile app?

You might be wondering what the real difference is between a mobile app and web app, since they seem to operate in the same way (and the fact that many high-profile web app providers are most well-known for their mobile application). The main difference is that mobile apps, also known as native apps, are built specifically for one platform (such as Android or Apple). Web apps are built to be accessed over the internet via any browser and will adapt accordingly to the device they are being used on. They also don’t need to downloaded like mobile apps, saving precious storage space on your device. 

What’s the difference between web apps and websites?

As mentioned above, web apps are often misunderstood (or missed entirely) because often they look and function just like a website. Have you ever visited Twitter or Gmail on your web browser rather than through the app? You may have assumed you were on a website version of a mobile app, but you were actually using a web application. 

This is possible via a complex feedback network, where the application user sends a request to the web server over the Internet using the user interface. The web server sends this request to the web application server, which then executes a request for data and generates the required information for the request. On the front end (the side you can see) as a user, you’re quickly and easily adding and manipulating information interactively in real time. 

Many of the web apps you’ll be most familiar with are dynamic, which means they offer a highly engaging and seamless user experience. The main indicator of a web app is that it’s interactive – usually you’re there to do something, whether that’s sending an email, publishing a social media post or purchasing the latest iPhone. A website generally functions as a static source of information and media that can be accessed and read by a user, although increasingly the lines between the two are becoming blurred, especially in sectors such as e-commerce where there’s a large amount of crossover between the two. 

How can a web app benefit your business?

There’s a reason why so many big players are investing in and switching to web applications – from Starbucks and Slack to Mailchimp and Salesforce. Web apps enhance user experience with advanced interactivity and accessibility, allowing you to offer features and functionality that goes beyond what a standard website can provide. Because of the extensive, complex and customisable functionality a web app can provide, you need expert software developers on board to design and build one. At Candy we specialise in both web development and web app development – catering to all different functionalities, platforms and requirements. If you’re not sure which you need, we’ll work with you and advise you on a solution that works best for you and your target audience. 

Want to learn more about the ways in which web apps can help you to engage and reach more of your target audience in a meaningful way? Check our our development page here:

Also, when you are ready to develop your web app, get in touch today: