Web app compact an overview - what you need to know about web applications

by Meike Müller

Reading time 5 min

What to expect
  1. What is a web app?
  2. How does the web app work exactly?
  3. What are the types of web apps?
  4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of a web app?
  5. What are some well-known examples of web apps?
    1. Our examples
  6. How can you create a custom web app?
  7. FAQ
    1. How can I program web applications?
    2. What is a progressive web app?
    3. What is a native web app?
    4. What is a web server?
    5. What is a web browser app?
    6. What are web apps 2.0 and web apps 3.0?
    7. What is part of a web app?
    8. What does the abbreviation PWAs stand for?
    9. What is important for the platform independence of a web app?


What is a web app?

A web app is an application that is deployed via a server or a cloud. It can be accessed at any time in an Internet browser. It usually does not matter from which end device this is done, as web apps are usually programmed across browsers. They are therefore not installed and stored on the individual computers of the users, but on a web server. This can be accessed remotely. A web app can be seen as a kind of additional program that can be used on a wide variety of devices. By the way, when you talk about a web application, you also mean a web app. App is the abbreviation for application software. By the way, web apps belong to the topic of web development, which you can learn more about here.

How does a web app work exactly?

For a web app to work, there must be an application server, a web server, and a database. The application server is responsible for accomplishing the tasks that were previously managed on the web server through a client. In order to render all the information, it needs a database that stores everything.

Grafik Laptop Funktionsfähigkeit einer Web-AnwendungThanks to these components, the web application does not need to be downloaded, but can be accessed directly by the user through a browser such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Apple's Safari, which communicates with the web server via an HTTP protocol. App programming for the web often uses JavaScript, CSS or HTML5. In web apps with HTML5, the application code can also be cached, which enables offline use. However, so far there are few web apps where this occurs. If you want to know how we at EXWE can support you in terms of programming, you can find more information on our page more about web development.

In contrast to web apps are native apps, which you know mainly from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. They are developed for a specific operating system, such as Android and iOS. They can then only run on these operating systems for which they were developed. So if you find an app in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, they are two different versions of the app. You can download the native apps and use them offline, because they are installed fully functional on your operating system. However, some web apps require you to have the latest browser version or a special runtime environment such as Flash or JavaScript.

What types of web apps are there?

Of course, you can also make distinctions within web apps. Because a web app can have very different characteristics and also be simple to complicated in scope. Thus, web apps can be divided into dynamic and static web apps. In addition, a web app can also mean an online store or a portal.

In a dynamic web application, an app is programmed that is much more complex than a static app. There are more functions and the data is constantly updated.

In the case of an online store, the development is also more complicated, as many functions such as payment methods and data processing have to be integrated. For new products, it must be possible to enter new data. Portals are web applications that often serve administrative purposes. From the start page of a portal, for example, you can access your e-mail inbox, a chat area or a search engine.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a web application?

The advantages of a web application are clearly that anyone can access the application. No additional storage space is needed for this. The only thing users need is a terminal device that has a browser that can access the web application. This also makes it easier to integrate software upgrades and make them accessible to everyone. Unlike a native app, an upgrade does not require the software to be uninstalled and downloaded again.

In addition, it can be accessed from any device, i.e. desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet. Any browser can also access the web application. Whenever multiple users need to use the same version of the software, a web app is advantageous. Since changes and entries are not stored locally, they also appear for the other users when they call up the web app on their end device. With the help of the appropriate link, the web application can be easily shared with other users. Without installation, they can use all the functions directly. Also from the cost of development, the web application is usually cheaper than a native app.

One disadvantage of a web app is that it is not fully optimized for the particular browser or device so that it remains functional by all users. In this aspect, native apps can score points, of course. Also, not all the features of a native app can be implemented in a web app. For example, you cannot access and use the sensors, data or vibrations of the end device.

What are some well-known examples of web apps?

Grafik Laptop Web-App Programmierung Web app programming is used when the function of this should be available on all devices. This is the case, for example, with the so-called Software as a Service offerings (SaaS). These are softwares that can be used by customers like a service. Web apps are, for example, SEO tools for keyword analysis, the Google services, messenger or e-mail services, some online games or even maps and navigation programs. As you can see, the use of web apps is quite versatile.

Our examples

As a software and web app agency, we have already developed several web applications for our customers. These are a few examples of our web-based software projects:

  • Implementation of a web app for visualization of building inspections for the client ElephantsCanJump.
  • Web-based intranet sales tool for a leading manufacturer of compressor technology
  • A web-based CRM, calendar and appointment management software for a leading German photo studio chain

How can you create a custom web application?

You can have a custom web application programmed by an app agency that specializes in web app development, for example. At EXWE, we are also experts in the field of app programming for web applications. With us, you can have an app developed that meets your expectations. It doesn't matter if you want to use it internally for your employees or as software as a service. For more information, we would like to invite you for a cup of coffee and a non-binding consultation.




A short FAQ about web applications

A short FAQ about web applications and more. If you still have questions, we at EXWE are of course here to help you and answer your questions.

  • How can I program web applications?

    To program web applications, you usually need basic knowledge of a programming language such as JavaScript, HTML and CSS. You should also have a basic understanding of web development technologies and concepts such as HTTP, DOM, and Ajax. If you don't have any web development experience, I recommend using online tutorials and resources to learn the basics. There are also many books and courses that specifically cover web app programming that can help you get started.

  • What is a progressive web app?

    A progressive web app is a type of web application that is accessible to Internet users in a way that reflects its ubiquity in the digital age. Essentially, they are web apps that function like native apps and behave the same way on mobile devices like smartphones or tablets as they do on desktop computers.

    This means that a progressive web app is able to access different hardware and software platforms and provide users with a fast and seamless user experience. For example, they can be installed on the home screen of a smartphone as a standalone application without the need to install from an app store.

    In addition, progressive web apps can be used offline when an Internet connection is not available, providing similar functionality to native apps. For example, a progressive web app can cache information previously retrieved by the user and then make it available offline. This is especially useful for users who are on the go or working in areas with poor Internet connectivity.

  • What is a native web app?

    Native apps are applications developed for a specific operating system. These apps are developed using programming languages that are supported by the operating system. For example, native iOS apps for Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads are developed using the Swift programming language, while native Android apps for Android devices are developed using the Java or Kotlin programming language.


  • What is a web server?

    A web server is a computer that receives and responds to requests from web clients (such as web browsers) by sending web content such as HTML pages, images, and videos to those clients. Web servers are used to provide websites and web applications that can be accessed by users from all over the world via the Internet. Web servers typically run on specialized operating systems and use web server software such as Apache or IIS to process requests from clients and deliver the appropriate content.

  • What is a web browser app?

    A web browser app is an application that runs in a web browser and is typically used over the Internet. Unlike native apps, which are designed specifically for a particular operating system and hardware, web browser apps can run on a variety of platforms and devices.

    A web browser app uses the capabilities of the browser to display dynamic content and enable data exchange with a server or database. By using web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, web browser apps can provide a variety of features that would otherwise be reserved for native apps.

    The user experience of web browser apps can vary, as it depends heavily on the quality of the browser and the Internet connection. However, in general, web browser apps are able to provide a similar user experience to native apps as they are able to access native features such as GPS, camera, and microphone.

    Web browser apps are also able to quickly adapt to changes in the user environment as they can be updated instantly without the need for manual updating. As a result, web browser apps can provide a faster and more efficient user experience, especially when it comes to updating content.

  • What are web apps 2.0 and web apps 3.0?

    "Web Applications 2.0" and "Web Applications 3.0" are terms used to describe advances in web application development. These terms are not universally accepted, and their meaning may vary depending on the context. However, here are some possible definitions:

    Web Applications 2.0: The term "Web Applications 2.0" was first used in the early 2000s to describe the second generation of Web applications. These applications were typically more dynamic and interactive than their predecessors, and they used Web 2.0 technologies such as Ajax to provide a richer user experience. The best-known examples of Web Applications 2.0 include social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, the blogs and wikis, and cloud-based applications such as Google Docs and Dropbox.

    Web Applications 3.0: The term "Web Applications 3.0" has been around since the 2010s. It is used to describe the subsequent generation of web applications based on the advances of web applications 2.0. They leverage modern technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to provide an even richer and more personalized user experience. Web applications 3.0 may also be able to perform complex tasks that have traditionally only been performed by native applications, such as processing large amounts of data in real time. An example of a web app 3.0 could be a personalized digital assistant that helps users perform everyday tasks.

  • What is included in a web app?

    A web app is an application that can be accessed via a web browser and is usually used over the Internet. It differs from a traditional desktop application in that it does not need to be installed and is accessed through a browser. A web app thus consists of a server that provides the application and a user interface that is displayed in the user's browser. The web app communicates with the server over the Internet and may also use a database to store and retrieve data.

  • What does the abbreviation PWAs stand for?

    The abbreviation "PWAs" stands for "Progressive Web Apps." Progressive Web Apps are a type of application programs that are developed using web technologies. They offer a combination of the features of a web page and a native app, and can be used on various devices through the web browser.

    The term "progressive" refers to the progressive improvement of an application's functionality. PWAs can access certain functions and features gradually, depending on the capabilities of the device or browser being used. This enables smooth usage on different platforms and devices.

    PWAs offer numerous advantages, especially for enterprise applications. They typically require less development effort compared to native apps because they can be based on a unified code base and do not need to be developed separately for each platform. This reduces the development effort and cost of deploying apps on different operating systems such as iOS, Android, or Windows.

    In addition, PWAs enable easy distribution and updating of applications, as they can be installed directly from the web browser and do not require separate installation from an app store. This makes it easier to deploy updates and maintain the applications.

  • What is important for the platform independence of a web app?

    Several aspects are important for the platform independence of a web app:


    - Interactivity: a platform-independent web app should provide an interactive user interface that works smoothly on different devices and operating systems. This includes support for user interactions such as clicking, scrolling, entering text, etc., regardless of the platform used.

    - Feature set: the web app should offer the same feature set on all supported platforms. This means that all core functions and features of the app should be available regardless of the device or operating system. It is important that users have a consistent experience whether they are using the app on a desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone.

    - Cross-platform design: a cross-platform web app should be designed to work well on different devices and screen sizes. The design should be responsive and automatically adapt to the screen size. This ensures that the app displays optimally on different devices and provides a good user experience.

    - Data processing: the web app should provide the ability to process data regardless of the platform. This includes user input processing, data validation, calculations, and other data manipulation. Platform independence allows this data processing logic to work the same on all supported devices.

    - Data storage: the web app should be able to store and retrieve data in a platform-independent manner. This can be achieved by using platform independent databases, local storage or cloud storage solutions. In this way, the app's data can be stored and managed consistently on different platforms.

    -Information exchange: A platform-independent web app should be able to exchange data and information with other systems and platforms. This can be done, for example, via APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), which enable standardized communication and data transfer between the web app and other platforms. Cross-platform information exchange enables the app to interact seamlessly with other systems and services.

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from 07.09.2021

Hello, my name is Meike. I take care of the EXWE back office and am responsible for our social media channels. All of our articles are meant to make your life easier and help you make decisions. Nevertheless, it can happen that something remains unclear, so: If you have questions about this article you can easily reach me at +49 231 93149827.

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