Creating a web app is one of the most challenging and rewarding projects you can embark on as an entrepreneur. Your business can grow faster than the competition if you create a well-built, customer-focused web app.
Also, you will find you can unlock new revenue streams and ways to improve your customer experience through data collection, offer better services, and even sell your product directly to customers in new ways. You might initially feel overwhelmed with the thought of developing a web app, but it's not nearly as complicated or expensive as you might think. Making this type of software is pretty simple if you have the proper guidance from someone who has been there before.
This blog post is our most comprehensive list of information on how to build a web app, capturing all our blog articles on this topic and helping them navigate through all the content available on it.
Table of contents
Why build a web app?
What's the difference between a web app and a web page?
Types of web applications and how you can use them
6 real-life examples of web applications
Why would you develop a web application?
Do web apps have any disadvantages?
How to build a web app
➤ Plan before you code
➤ Select the right tech for web app development
➤ Hiring developers to build your web app
When people ask, “Why build a web app?” they generally look for a few key benefits. For beginners, a website typically does not reach the same functionality as a web app. A website only communicates unidirectionally, such as by displaying content. You can transform your website into a product by adding functionality with the help of a web application. And that's the main benefit: you construct a web app when you're seeking capabilities that a simple website won't allow you to have, which is why it's so advantageous to do so. You will then explore new market channels, user experiences, and possibly new revenue streams, among other opportunities.
What is a web application?
Web Applications became prominent with the software as a Service (SaaS) movement.
Examples: Google Apps, Amazon, YouTube
What is a website?
A website with a single domain name consists of a collection of interlinked web pages that are accessible globally. An individual, business, or organization can develop and maintain it. There are many uses for the website.
A website is hosted on single or multiple web servers. IP addresses allow access via a network such as the Internet or a private local area network.
Examples: A restaurant's website where you can view the menu, opening and closing hours, comments, etc.
Different kinds of web applications are available, and your business can benefit from them. Because most businesses will need a web application at some point in the future, we will help you find the best solution, whether you want one made just for your company or a product you can customize to fit your needs.
Here are 10 types of the most common web apps:
- Static web application
- Dynamic web application
- E-commerce web application (find out how to build an online marketplace)
- Content management system web application (find out which one is better: Webflow or WordPress)
- Single page web application
- Multiple-pages web application
- Portal web application
- Animated web application
- Rich internet web application
- Progressive web application
Read on to learn more about the different web app types and which is better for your business.
Let's look at some real-world web app examples to see how they work and how they might assist you:
A music streaming service that lets users listen to music on demand, create playlists, and discover new artists. Spotify curates customised playlists based on users' listening history, location, and preferences.
A file hosting service that offers cloud storage, backup, and synchronisation. Users can view their files and share folders and files with others from any device.
A mapping and navigation service that offers real-time traffic updates, route optimisation, and driving directions. Businesses can also use Google Maps to manage their location data and gain insights into customer behaviour.
A service that lets you watch TV shows, films, and videos whenever you want. Netflix recommends customised content based on user interests and viewing history using machine learning algorithms.
Users can establish profiles, communicate with colleagues, and uncover career possibilities on this professional networking platform. LinkedIn also provides a variety of resources for professional growth, such as classes, publications, and tools.
A video conferencing service that offers screen sharing, virtual backdrops, and breakout rooms for online communication. During the COVID-19 outbreak, Zoom soon proved indispensable for remote business and study.
Creating a web application is good for people and companies in many ways:
Reach more people: Web apps can be used on any device that has access to the internet, so they can reach more people.
Cost-effective development: Compared to developing native apps, developing web apps tends to be cheaper because you can build a single codebase that can be used on multiple devices.
Easy maintenance and updates: Web apps can be updated without needing users to download and install updates. This means that users always have access to the newest features and modifications without having to download and install updates.
While web apps offer numerous advantages, it's essential to consider potential drawbacks:
Limited offline functionality: Web apps rely heavily on an internet connection, meaning they might not work or provide limited functionality in offline scenarios.
Performance limitations: Compared to native apps, web apps may experience slightly slower performance, especially when dealing with complex animations or heavy data processing tasks.
Reduced device functionality: Web apps have access to limited device capabilities compared to native apps, potentially hindering their ability to leverage certain hardware features.
However, by working with a skilled development team like Imaginary Cloud, we can help you mitigate these disadvantages and create a web app that provides an exceptional user experience while minimising any trade-offs.
Before you dive headfirst into the code, you’ll want to create a plan for your web app. Your plan should include a high-level overview of your project, your technical approach, and the timeline for when you hope to launch your product. Testing a Minimum Viable Product, or MVP, means creating a basic version of your product that you can use to test the concept with colleagues or potential customers. It involves ensuring each component works well so that you can keep improving it until it reaches a point where there's no going back.
Read on to learn more about why you want an MVP.
Despite the various tools available to designers today, creating successful digital products still requires much research. To begin, we have our Product Design Process (PDP) that guides us through this process. First, we conduct business analysis to determine the goals and expectations of the project; then, we move on to user research to understand what users want from a product. Next, we must ideate; that is, develop concepts for how to make these goals a reality. Afterwards, we move into the execution and technical assessment phases, creating designs and evaluating them for effectiveness.
This approach allows us to create digital experiences that meet users' expectations and desires when navigating a product. This will also contribute to attaining the business goals.
Read on to learn more about PDP's steps to create a successful digital product.
Web application development is very similar to other software development life cycles. A solid team and initial set-out processes drive successful web app development.
You'll want to select the right technology for your project, depending on your business goals. There are dozens of different languages, libraries, and frameworks to choose from, so you want to make sure you're making an intelligent choice.
You should ask yourself:
- What are your requirements? This includes the volume of traffic, user experience, and any security features you may need.
- Who are your target users? You also need to consider who will be using your product. The more you know about your users, the easier it will be to select the right technology for the job.
- What is your budget? Finally, you need to take your budget into account.
Read on to learn more about choosing the best tech stack for your web app.
But when making a web app, people often use the following apps and tools:
If React is the cool kid on the block, Angular is the sophisticated, experienced guru. Angular is a framework that was made and managed by Google's people, and it has everything you need to build large-scale web applications.
It provides a robust structure for building complex interfaces and offers features like two-way data binding, dependency injection, and a powerful templating system. Angular takes care of the nitty-gritty details, allowing developers to focus on crafting exceptional user experiences.
Let's talk about Vue.js, the framework that sometimes feels like a hidden gem. Vue is often described as the Swiss Army knife of front-end development. It perfectly balances simplicity and power, making it a breeze to learn and use. Vue's elegant and intuitive syntax allows developers to build interactive web interfaces easily. And if you're worried about performance, fear not! Vue is renowned for its lightning-fast virtual DOM and seamless integration with existing projects.
Back-end development: Server-side programming languages such as Python, Ruby, Node.js, or PHP, combined with frameworks like Django, Ruby on Rails, Express.js, or Laravel, are commonly used to implement the logic and functionality behind web apps.
Databases: For storing and managing data, web app development often involves working with databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, or Firebase.
Version control: Collaborative development is facilitated by version control systems like Git, enabling teams to manage and track changes to their codebase efficiently.
Testing and Quality Assurance: Automated testing frameworks and tools, such as Jest, Cypress, or Selenium, can be used to ensure the reliability and quality of web apps.
The great thing about building web apps is that you can get a lot of functionality out of them. The only barrier to the success of your project is finding the right developer who will be able to build your app.
You’ll need a developer with experience building web apps, developers familiar with the Node.js language and Web technologies, and someone with experience building websites and apps.
The web is the perfect environment for building web apps because it’s easy to develop and maintain. You can create a web app without needing many resources or a team. You just need to know how to use your tools, and then you can get started. You must make the most of the opportunities the web offers to attract new users, increase engagement, and ultimately grow your business. If you are considering building a web app, now you know the different types of apps available and get a sense of what technologies might work best for your business.