14 November 2022
  • Development

How do web apps work?

Web applications are now central to the working and social lives of millions of people on a daily basis.

We use web apps almost without noticing we are doing it; when we want to post an update to one of our social media channels, for instance, or when we need to order a meal or a product for our home or office.

But how do web apps work?

And how are they different to websites, and to native apps that we use solely through our mobile devices?

What is a web application?

The key word in understanding the use of web apps is interactivity. Web apps are delivered over the internet through your browser and allow you to undertake a wide range of tasks.

In many ways, this sounds like a definition of a website. However, the key difference is that a website, in its purest form, is a source of information. You visit it to learn something, to help you in your research, or to read the latest news.

A web app, by contrast, allows a degree of user engagement. Rather than simply present information to you, web apps enable you to get involved.

Some of the biggest names in the digital world are available through your desktop in the form of web apps. They include viewing platforms such as Netflix and YouTube, and social media destinations like Facebook and Twitter. Communication providers such as Gmail are also available as web apps. Many of these are also available, of course, through dedicated mobile apps.

What advantages do web apps offer?

There are several reasons why web apps are popular with developers and business owners.

One is that they can be used across multiple platforms, which means team members in disparate locations can collaborate easily through different devices.

They also take up less space than mobile apps, which have to be downloaded to your device and can eat up your storage allowance.

Web apps require more development resource than a website. They tend to need the expertise of web app developers such as Steadfast Collective, and take longer to build. However, if you are wondering: “Can you make a web app with Statamic?” the answer is yes.

You should also find a positive response to the question, can progressive web apps be used offline? This is achieved by leveraging the data that was cached during your most recent interaction with the app.

How do web apps work?

So we return to the question, how do web apps work? If you are a user, the workflow when you interact with a web app will follow these steps:

  1. You send a request through the internet using your web browser or user interface
  2. That request is sent on by the server to the web app’s server
  3. The task you requested is carried out and any results generated
  4. Those results are sent back and displayed to you via the web app’s server and the web server.

At the heart of Steadfast Collective’s operations is our expertise in creating and delivering web applications designed to stand the test of time. If you need the assistance of a team with the right experience and knowledge to make your digital dreams come to life, get in touch with us today.

Pete Heslop

Managing Director at Steadfast Collective, Pete's key focus is on building a team of smart creatives who build community-focused web applications.

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