You already know about websites – which you visit on your internet browser; and mobile apps are the applications that you run on your mobile phones, right? So, why is web application listed separately here? Isn’t it the same thing as a website?

Ahead we will cover the major differences between websites, web apps, and mobile apps. These will help you devise the right product for you as an individual or a business.

What Is A Website?

Generally, everything that you access with your internet browser is a website. In that context, you can say a website is similar to a web application but there are some major differences (more on that later).

Websites are primarily informational platforms that are ideal for sharing blogs, news, and articles.

Websites are static – that is they only display the piece of information that the website visitors can only view and not interact with; only the developer can change the information.

Websites are perfect for individuals, such as writers, photographers, and artists, who want to showcase their portfolios online. It is also a good option for small businesses with limited budgets looking to establish an online presence.

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What Is A Web Application?

Unlike websites, web applications allow user interaction – meaning, they are dynamic and can change by taking some inputs from the user. Hence, the websites that offer functionalities such as sign-ups, logins, transactions, or data manipulation are a form of web application.

The Web applications work by taking some form of data from the user, which is then carried over the internet to a specific application server. The application server carries out some tasks, makes calculations, and then sends the relevant information back to the user.

The biggest advantage of a web application is that you can access it simply with a web browser and you don’t need to download anything on your device.

And as such, web applications being more complex than simple websites, require more skills for development. So, if you are wondering what is web application development – it is the process of creating software that runs on a web server and can be accessed using a web browser.

You will need expertise (or will need to hire experts) in a few major software development fields including front-end development, back-end development, and DevOps.

What Is A Mobile App?

Mobile Apps are similar to web applications, only you download mobile apps on your phones from an app store like Google Play for Androids and App Store for Apple.

The major selling point for mobile apps is that they give access to device resources and features like camera function or GPS. Even better, you get high performance and responsiveness that is perfect for gaming.

Mobile apps also make the experience more personalized for its users by storing app data, so the users can get access to services on the go. Google Maps is an example of a popular mobile app that most of us regularly use.

Web browsers or web applications, on the other hand, do not have access to features such as GPS or camera, which can limit functionality.

Website vs Web Application vs Mobile App – Quick Summary

Feature Website Web Application Mobile App
Platform Web Browser Web Browser Mobile Phones
User Interaction Limited Interactivity Rich Interactivity Rich Interactivity
Offline Access Limited Limited Yes, But Limited Features
Examples Blogs, News Sites, Showcasing Portfolio Online Banking, E-Commerce, Social Media Games, Social Media, Navigation Apps
Development Time Quick Moderate To Lengthy Moderate To Lengthy

Final Thoughts – Which One Is Right For You?

Since web applications and mobile app development can take some time (and therefore require more skills and budget), you will need to consider the best choice for you.

If you’re simply looking to enhance your online presence (which frankly most of us should do as a side-hustle), then a website is sufficient for you. Especially, when there are intuitive website builders available online that require very little to no code.

However, if you need more functionality and features with the ability for users to interact with your content, web application development is the way to go.

And finally, if you need all the features of a web application and want to offer it to your users on the go, a mobile app is your option. As an added benefit, you can also request access to the mobile’s resources for gaming or navigation.

The article was written in cooperation with the experts of SoftKraft – Real Estate (PropTech) Software Development


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