Frequently Asked Questions
What is a web application?
A web application is an interactive app built using web development technologies that users can access from their browser.
What is a web application framework?
Web application frameworks supplement the software development of web applications, not excluding web services and web application programming interfaces (APIs).
What are the different types of web application frameworks?
Web application frameworks can be either client-side or server-side.
As business strategists and project managers scramble to create seamless user experiences (UX) and user interfaces (UI), front end web development teams have never been more crucial than before.
By constructing compelling front end interfaces and final products, businesses can better tap into the psychology of attracting consumers and future clients.
In this article, you’ll be fully equipped to harness front end web development teams to reinforce the quality of future projects. Stay tuned to learn more about it!
What Is Front-End Web Development?
You know, when we browsed website homepages, blogs, and online publications in the early 2000s, information was haphazardly organized.
They displayed near ancient-looking windows and website tabs of information that were densely allocated and difficult to navigate.
However, with the sharp rise in user-centered design methods and best practices in HTML, CSS, and other front-end development frameworks/languages, website layouts improved dramatically.
Now, imagine yourself today scrolling through top-of-the-line consumer-corporate websites including Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, and Google.
Notice any common features?
Seamlessly structured UI/UX web layouts with accessibility in mind.
In broad terms, the front-end of a website includes all facets and external elements that the users interact with.
Whether they’re navigating dropdown menus, using adjustable sliders, or scrolling through sections upon sections of website information, front-end web development accounts for all related factors.
At this very second in time, more than 1.5 billion active websites are shooting their best shot at designing and engineering beautified front-end UI experiences.
Front-end developers will mesh a multi-layered approach of markup and programming languages/frameworks to create a front-end architecture for immersive user experiences.
Related reading: Knowing the difference between front-end vs. back-end development
How To Develop an Effective Front-End Web Project
Effective front-end developers and UI/UX projects integrate several criteria, including:
- User accessibility
- Compatibility with their user base/audience, and
- Sleek user interfaces
That all together to tap into the subconscious pleasures of the user audience.
In other words, front-end developers are responsible for optimizing and tailoring the sweet spot proportion of an attractive user interface.
What’s this elusive sweet spot, you may ask?
It is a practical, yet alluring, user interface that actively engages the audience using essential design elements and UX research.
This recipe-like combination of front-end design languages and frameworks allows companies to create responsive pages and mobile-friendly (i.e. website content will appear the same on all devices) that reach more expansive audiences.
Front-end developers will precisely streamline this process between seamless user experience and user interface by cross-collaborating with designers and UX analysts.
Together, they create preliminary mockups/wireframes and prototypes to better visualize final user-face features and interactive elements.
All in all every surface-level detail you can perceive and digitally interact with was made possible by a front-end development team, composing a final exterior design for the user to indulge in.
Although the components of a web page unify disparate sources of media, anywhere from photographs to logos and content, front-end developers effectively compose them into a final story that both engages the user in real-time and impresses them enough to return.
What Does a Front End-Web Developer Do?
As the complexities of front-end development and UI/UX have increased drastically, the job description of a 21st-century front-end web developer has become equally as demanding.
Front-end web developers are generally responsible for implementing essential visual elements and UI designs that enable seamless interactivity and functionality with a web application.
Typically, front-end developers will actively collaborate with back-end developers and full-stack software engineers to streamline and coordinate server-side application logic as well as front-end integration.
In other words, back-end and front-end developers form the bread and butter of creating a fully capable web application with both function and form in mind.
For companies with non-specific and broad web development job criteria, the bare-minimum responsibilities of a front-end developer include the following:
- Developing novel user interfaces (UI) and user experiences (UX)
- Build and deploy reusable code, frameworks, and front-end libraries for future applications.
- Evaluate and determine the technical feasibility of UI/UX designs via mockups and wireframe presentations.
- Optimize web applications with responsiveness, scalability, clean navigation, and speed in mind.
- Aggregate user feedback and ensure that all user-level features and design methods are validated before submitting final versions to the back-end.
- Collaborate with the full-stack ecosystem; work with other team members and stakeholders to configure UI/UX designs accordingly.
Additionally, recruiters should eyeball the following technical qualifications, anywhere from HTML5 and CSS3 markup to server-side web app integration:
- Proficiency in web markup, including HTML5, CSS3, and their associated libraries.
- A rudimentary understanding of server-side CSS pre-processing platforms, including LESS and SASS.
- Highly encouraged to possess advanced JS framework and library-level knowledge, including AngularJS, KnockoutJS, BackboneJS, ReactJS, DurandalJS, etc.
- Possesses a firm grasp of asynchronous request handling, partial page updates, and AJAX implementation.
- Baseline knowledge of image authoring tools, manipulation, and best practices including cropping, resizing and performing minor image adjustments.
- Familiarity with tools such as Sketch, Photoshop, or AdobeXD is an advantage.
In terms of expected supplementary requirements, junior and senior-level web developers should possess the following:
- Essential understanding of cross-browser compatibility and responsiveness issues and how to resolve them accordingly.
- Efficient use of code versioning tools such as Git, Mercurial, or SVN.
- Firm grasp of SEO principles and ensuring that front-end metadata and text will adhere to them.
Front End vs. Back End: What’s the Difference?
Although the primary differences between front-end and back-end web development may seem evident, there are grey areas of distinction.
A few that come to mind are programming-level knowledge, frameworks, and ultimately, their respective roles in a full-stack development department.
In the broadest terms, front-end refers to the client-side of a web application. Essentially the part that you interact with.
However, back-end refers to the server-side and inner-workings that allow for front-end features to function (e.g. user buttons, registration forms, messaging, etc).
As highlighted earlier, the barebones of a front-end project involve design frameworks and markup languages such as HTML and CSS that are purely client-side in nature.
Because of this, engineering departments have established themselves with a large spectrum of job descriptions, anywhere from web design to UI/UX testing & engineering.
Below, I’ve listed a brief overview of the expected job requirements and distinctions between a back-end developer and front-end web developer:
- Unless they have full-stack experience, back-end developers solely work with server-side implementation. This involves the inner guts and workings of a website, including databases and structures, servers, and user functions that are behind the corresponding UI/UX features.
- They are typically involved with security, structure, and content management. Although they may have a firm grasp of HTML5 and CSS3, it’s not their prime concentration.
- Back-end web developers integrate dynamic features into modern websites. This enables them to continually update in real-time based on database changes and new user inputs. Ultimately, this contrasts with a front-end developer deploying static sites.
- In order to deploy a dynamic back-end architecture, developers will use programming languages such as PHP or .NET for database engineering. Resultantly, they interlink servers with databases ensuring that dynamic updates are made effectively.
Examples of Front-End Job Titles
Below are several discrete examples of front-end job titles and how they interrelate with final front-end products.
- Web Designing: Perhaps the broadest job description in front-end development. Web designers could be anyone that uses markup and JS frameworks to someone with little to no language experience that uses Photoshop and Fireworks for user-facing design.
- User Interface (UI) Design: UI design typically involves visual design and sampling to create enjoyable, seamless, and well-structured user experiences. Although they are not consistently involved with programming, they typically possess a light knowledge of HTML and CSS to communicate visions and potential ideas.
- User Experience (UX) Design: In terms of pure programmatic knowledge and integration of user-facing libraries, UX designers are the mole in the group. UX designers study and research how users use websites.
- By understanding the psychology and subconscious of users, they can change and test UI accordingly.
- Front-End Developer: Front-end developers ultimately create sites without any associated back-end development or server-side features. In other words, they design front-feature sites that are primarily static (e.g. sites for restaurants, informational pages, salons, etc).
Top Must-Have Skills for an Experienced Web Developer
Although I’ve cited piles upon piles of critical job description info and key distinctions between the front and back-end development, below I’ve highlighted the top must-have skills to possess in the modern age of the front-end development world:
HTMl5 and CSS3 Markup
HTML (Hyper-Text Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are the most rudimentary building blocks of web coding and user-facing features.
If a front-end web developer doesn’t possess bare-minimum HTML and CSS knowledge requirements, their title is questionable!
Ultimately, without HTML and CSS, basic layout structures and website structures cannot be developed, resulting in plain white screen and Times New Roman text font.
However, no fear— there is good news! With HTML and CSS alone, companies and entry-level web developers are prepared to create basic static websites with a semi-pleasing user interface.
At a crude level, JS allows you to control and create maps that update in real-time, interactive films, and online games.
Rather than starting from the barebones and coding JS from scratch, JQuery allows front-end web developers to add ready-made elements to projects such as countdown timers, search form autocompletes, and automatically-resizing grid layouts.
To put it shortly and sweetly, JS frameworks such as AngularJS, Backbone, Ember, and ReactJS provide web development teams with a read-made structure to the entirety of their JS code. This accelerates development while optimizing user responsiveness and UI interactivity.
CSS and front-end frameworks such as bootstrap can be effectively used as jumping-off points for faster coding, just like JS frameworks do for JS.
A Firm Grasp of CSS Preprocessors
In addition to front-end markup frameworks, preprocessors such as SASS and LESS can speed up CSS coding by optimizing functionality, format, and scalability.
Familiarity With RESTful Services and APIs
REST (Representational State Transfer) is a lightweight architecture that drastically simplifies network communication on the web, while RESTful services and APIs are the web services that communicate with the corresponding REST architecture.
To better visualize a discrete situation with RESTful services and APIs, imagine the following scenario:
You want to develop an app that shows you all your social media friends in the precise order that you became friends.
To accomplish this, a web developer could make calls to Facebook’s RESTful API to read your associated friends list and return that data accordingly.
In addition to these programmatic web development skills, the following qualifications are just as essential:
- Responsive and mobile design
- Cross-browser development
- Content Management Systems and E-commerce Platform design
- General testing and debugging
- Git and version control systems
- Problem-solving skills
How to Hire a Front-End Web Developer
As companies start filling their design and front-end teams with talented developers, creating a front-end web development team can be challenging and time-consuming.
By looking out for the following UI and JS-focused requirements listed below, you’ll be able to sift through millions of potential candidates and optimize the match for your business-level needs.
- Proficiency in HTML and CSS.
- Cross-browser compatibility
- Responsive design
- UI frameworks and CSS-transforming tools
- 2D and 3D graphics
- User Accessibility
- Graphic design and Typography
- UI/UX design
- Web template systems
- Code versioning tools and utilization
To better evaluate potential rising front-end developer candidates for UI and static websites (HTML, CSS, etc), you should gauge their responses to the following interview questions:
- “What were the most challenging compatibility issues you had to resolve?”
- “What do you think is the best way to rapidly prototype and develop web applications?”
- What are the primary goals and motivations for using the latest standards of HTML5, CSS3, and their frameworks?”
At this very second, companies and businesses are flocking to compete in a landscape of creating the very best UI designs and user experiences.
However, with the massive influx of potential web development candidates, startups, and already-established corporations must optimize their teams and sift through the essential qualifications to get the job done.
At Trio, you can hire senior-level front-end web developers with the most competitive qualifications in the industry.
8 min read
Though many people start getting into software programming to create the next Angry Birds, emerging application development trends show that the industry has much more to offer.
Software development is a booming market. In 2020, the application development market was valued at $168.6 billion, with the United States market alone making up approximately 30% of the total share.
The industry isn’t slowing down anytime soon. And by 2027, the market will have quadrupled in size.
Surely, crediting mobile app development by itself with all this growth is unreasonable.
Instead, the software industry thrives off the innovation of new and alluring advanced technologies.
The following piece will summarize 19 application development trends that will drive the growth of the software development market, this year and beyond. Stay tuned!
1. Internet of Things (IoT)
Remember the Disney family movie Smart Home? Maybe not. But that 1999 film was perhaps the earliest mainstream example of IoT in action.
You can find the internet of things (IoT) in the most unlikely places. But that’s sort of the point.
IoT references physical objects that are embedded with digital technology and operate via a system network.
Because of IoT, sensors, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, and other intelligent software work with commonplace items — often within your own household — to enhance your lifestyle.
For example, while a classic refrigerator simply stores food in a cool environment, a smart fridge might use sensors to make ice when necessary or adjust its internal temperature. Some smart fridges even display interactive content.
By definition, the internet of things is when an otherwise mere mechanical device communicates with the internet to perform a task.
As an illustration, your smartphone in absence of a GPS to receive directional data from afar or without the algorithms it requires to identify your face in a group selfie would not be much more than a hunk of plastic and metal.
Kevin Ashton coined the term ‘internet of things’ in 1999 (ironically the same year Smart Home was released) but it took nearly a decade for the idea to really take hold.
Its widespread popularity thereafter is largely because Google started co-opting user data for their StreetView service. Indexing the physical world in digital space was not only sneaky, but genius.
Wearable technology has not fallen out of fashion since the initial release of the Fitbit Flex in 2013.
Now, Apple Watches (and other smartwatches), virtual reality (VR) boxes, smart jewelry, and Google Glass serve as prominent examples of wearable technology, or wearables.
To put it simply, wearables are electronic devices that are worn close to or on the skin. They are smart devices, much like a smartphone, but they happen to be a fashion piece as well.
Wearables are a prime example of IoT, and fitness trackers especially, use the internet to send and retrieve relevant user data.
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to a machine’s ability to mirror the human mind.
Less developed AIs cannot do much more than perform simple tasks. But more complex AIs can have a full, organic conversation with a human interlocutor.
An example of a simple AI is a manufacturing robot or a self-driving car. These machines are built with specific criteria in mind, so their intelligence doesn’t exactly mirror the human mind, but they’re still able to do things that a traditional machine could not.
A more advanced example of an AI would be a digital assistant. AIs like Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa are digital assistants that can help you with a number of miscellaneous tasks.
No doubt, the future will bring about the kind of artificial intelligence you’ve already previewed in science fiction movies: humanoid robots that can be helpful companions in and around the house.
Chatbots tend to rely heavily on AI technology. This is because the goal of chatbots is to conduct conversations with humans to address their inquiries in a customer service model.
Organizations embed chatbot apps into websites, mobile apps, and operating systems.
Further, chatbots can be beneficial in numerous ways. First, they cut down on operational costs.
While your human-led team can handle customer service requests that need more hands-on assistance, your chatbot can answer frequently asked questions with a human-like charm.
In this way, chatbots also enhance the user experience, bridging the gap between your business and your clients.
5. Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality (AR) combines both real-world and virtual environments. The experience is interactive and presents computer-generated objects and other perceptual structures in one’s natural reality.
Pokémon GO, for instance, illustrates Pokémon and other visual elements of the game within your physical landscape, augmenting reality in effect.
Besides games, the U.S. Army is working with augmented reality to enhance the night vision of soldiers and guide them in making distinctions between enemies and friendly troops.
In general, businesses can employ AR for marketing campaigns. The IKEA app uses augmented reality for users to test products virtually inside their homes.
Likewise, L’Oréal has a virtual makeup app that uses AR for users to see how makeup will appear on their faces.
6. Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality (VR) is a means of stimulating a seemingly real-life experience through virtual technology.
Video games especially have taken the most advantage of VR technology. But there are a great many industries using virtual reality from car manufacturers charting road scenarios to educators using virtual learning games.
You’re probably already familiar with VR headsets, where movement and depth perception influence the user experience in an artificial world.
In this way, VR takes characteristics from augmented reality in that it supplies an interactive experience that is enhanced by real-world sensations.
7. Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is an application development trend that has been here for a minute, but every day cloud technology grows more advanced.
Typically, cloud computing can fall under one of three advanced technologies: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS).
A good example of IaaS is Amazon Web Services which powers a large part of the web by hosting data centers offsite. Websites access this infrastructure through the cloud and thus have much lower startup costs.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is likely the most notorious form of CaaS although you may have never heard of VoIP before. VoIP is a method of delivering multimedia messaging via Internet Protocol networks.
Facebook messaging, Skype, and Discord are likely familiar examples of CaaS that you’ve used personally.
PaaS, particularly, stands out among cloud technologies. This is because it is a technology for creating applications. Google App Engine is one example of a cloud service where developers can build software applications.
The major advantage of cloud computing, in general, is the ability to abstract services to the effect that providers can give their clients on-demand tools without onsite maintenance, infrastructure, or installing a heavyweight application.
8. Beacon Technology
Beacon technology is a multi-faceted application development trend that’s hard to describe in few words. Beacons themselves are minuscule wireless transmitters that send low-energy emissions to smart devices.
With bluetooth technology, a beacon can make connections with smartphones and give alerts.
Beacons were first introduced in 2013 by way of Apple’s iBeacon. But now pretty much any smartphone can make use of beacons.
Retailers might use beacons to notify customers entering a store of new deals. Or even track user behavior as a customer shops and push them to buy a certain product.
Overall, beacon technology is a great ploy for proximity marketing. It’s yet another way to improve your customers’ shopping experience.
9. Mobile Wallets
Mobile wallets provide a secure and streamlined way to make in-store payments. Mobile or virtual wallets are connected to your bank, debit card, or credit card information.
You can use mobile wallets in turn for card payments or cash. The rise of mobile wallets has prompted some stores to go completely cashless.
In many of these stores, the preferred cashless form of payment is not cards, but mobile apps such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Android Pay.
The disadvantage of this application development trend, however, is that those who cannot use mobile payments are often left out of the equation. Sometimes patrons have phones with limited functionalities or lack a cell phone altogether.
Naturally, the houseless population usually fares the worst in cashless stores. That said, there’s no harm in providing the option for mobile payments as an alternative to cash payments.
And the benefits of mobile wallets are speedy, one-click, safe, and secure payments.
Note that mobile commerce and mobile wallets are not one and the same but mobile commerce can involve mobile wallets; that is, when mobile commerce utilizes mobile payment.
10. Mobile Commerce
Mobile commerce, sometimes referred to as mcommerce or m-commerce, is the use of mobile devices to make financial transactions.
You may look at your banking information everyday online without thinking twice or have the Amazon app handy on your phone. But you should not underestimate the splendor and convenience of handheld electronic commerce.
Online shopping is great enough as it is, but doing so from the comfort of your smartphone elicits all the more accessibility. For this reason, mobile commerce drives nearly half of all e-commerce.
From using mobile payments at your local store to purchasing groceries on the run, these are only a few of the merits of m-commerce.
11. 5G Technology
5G technology has been a hot topic for years, but most people don’t know what 5G entails.
By definition, 5G is the fifth generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks.
Or in short, it’s how your smartphone is changing the ways you interact with people and everything else in the digital realm.
Compared to 4g, 5G has faster speeds, higher bandwidth, and lower latency.
As far as application development goes, you can look forward to a better user experience due to the optimized performance.
IoT companies may also take advantage of this trend and use the perk of improved connectivity for new innovations.
12. Cross-Platform Development
Cross-platform development enables app developers to have a greater market of consumers.
In native development, mobile app developers can only build applications for distinct operating systems.
For example, iOS developers who want to build a mobile app for iPhone must make another app entirely for it to be compatible on an Android phone.
This is at least, what modern developers believe makes apps as performant and functional as they can be.
But cross-platform development tools like Flutter and React Native promise to help developers make high-performing, fully functional cross-platform apps.
13. Foldable Devices
Smartphone companies have been unusually enthusiastic about foldable technology lately.
Samsung is by far the most infamous manufacturer of these oddly shaped mobile devices.
The Galaxy Fold was released by Samsung in 2019, as the first foldable smartphone available to the public.
The perks of a foldable phone are profoundly unique. Foldable phones allow for compact storing, dual screen capabilities, and wide screen viewing for multimedia content.
14. Machine Learning
Machine learning is a subset of AI where computers learn from experience — much like a human person — using algorithms.
Groundbreaking research where machine learning is concerned emerged in 1962, when Robert Nealey trained his computer to play checkers. He lost.
Now the capacity of machine learning is truly impressive. It’s used for speech recognition, medical diagnoses, and even self-driving cars.
15. Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)
Progressive web apps (PWAs) are a particular type of web app that share traits with traditional websites.
While a standard web app is meant to be both interactive and web-accessible, PWAs tend to be static-like, similar to websites.
However, the advantage of PWAs is that they operate much faster than a traditional web app would, enhancing the user experience.
16. Low-Code Development
Low-code development is a development style that relies on low-code platforms.
Low-code platforms use drag-and-drop graphical interfaces to mitigate the need for writing actual code.
This mode of development empowers non-tech savvy business users and individuals to create the software they need without professional expertise or heavy documentation.
17. Improved Cybersecurity for Remote Workers
Cybersecurity has always been a big deal, especially for those who work in tech.
Remote workers especially have to pay attention to cybersecurity the most, because work-from-home networks might not be the most secure.
Data breaches are far too common, and they can be devastating for companies and consumers alike.
But now that businesses are getting smarter, modern application development trends aid them in reducing risk.
For example, cloud applications are great for maintaining a high level of cybersecurity.
And on that note, blockchain is also helpful in securing transactions that take place.
18. Blockchain Technology
Blockchain technology is not new, but it is thriving in cryptocurrency currency circles now more than ever.
The main driving point behind blockchain technology is that you can use a decentralized network of ‘blocks’ to store data.
Blockchain is a secure, cheap, and cloud-based solution for transactions of all kinds, financial or otherwise.
19. Touchless UIs
Ironically, just a decade ago, people were amazed at the idea of smartphones that could respond to dirty fingers.
Well, that’s old now. Now, the tech world is looking at the next best thing — touchless UI.
Instead of responding to touch, these user interfaces (UI) would respond to voice or gesture-based activity.
Touchless UIs will definitely change the game, especially for those with accessibility concerns.
How Do API Integrations Power Application Development?
Just about every one of the application development trends above have API integrations at their heart. API integrations serve as a bridge connecting different software platforms.
In this way, APIs power application development and they are the quintessential drivers of digital ecosystems.
For example, in cloud computing, cloud APIs access cloud services through the web and further the deployment of SaaSmodels all around.
Or in wearables, APIs facilitate the connection between what the user is wearing and the user’s smartphone, which will save all the important data the wearable collects.
Even with mobile commerce, APIs integrate websites and applications with mobile payment software. And mobile wallets use APIs to enable your phone to make financial transactions.
These are only a few examples of how APIs work. But hopefully, you get the idea: APIs are paving the way for a grand digital transformation of the modern technological landscape.
Make sure to watch out for these 10 application development trends that will bolster the tech industry in the coming years.
Many of the advanced technologies you saw today have been around for some time now. But as time moves forward, their maturity will only grow deeper and unfettered potential will surface.
Do you see yourself building one of these advanced technologies in the near future? Trio can help you fulfill your vision effectively and efficiently with the best Senior Developers.
9 min read
Web app development empowers web-based projects to perform and act similarly to a mobile app. Web applications engage users, prioritizing responsive interactions, but are still delivered through the internet over a network.
You can say that web app development is the posterity of web development. While web development and web app development share similarities, web app development is by definition more dynamic than traditional web development can offer.
Both are important, but knowing the difference will help you understand what web app development is as well as whether or not it sounds like a good idea for your business.
What Is a Web Application?
A web application is an interactive app built using web development technologies that users can access from their browser.
Web apps have the typical front-end and back-end web development technologies. In theory, web apps are closely related to websites, thus web app development and web development share many characteristics.
However, web apps operate on any device in a mode that is distinctly different than that of a traditional website.
What's the Difference Between a Web App and a Wesbite?
Web apps are designed to be interactive whereas a website’s primary purpose is to present information.
Distinguishing one from the other is admittedly nit-picky, but once you start recognizing the difference you’ll see why it matters.
Ironically, learning a bit more about mobile development will be handy for learning about web app development. For instance, do you know the difference between native and hybrid apps?
Native apps are mobile apps that are specifically built for the platforms they run on. In effect, developers must employ native technologies to use them — the Swift programming language for iOS, or the Java programming language for Android.
The disadvantage of native apps is that companies that build natively must develop different apps for different platforms, as each app will require a different codebase in its native language.
Hybrid apps provide a solution for quicker development. Hybrid apps take advantage of both native and web technologies and as a result, they can extend multi-platform compatibility.
Web apps are neither of these things. Web app developers solely make use of web technologies. However, web applications place a certain focus on user interaction, just like a mobile app, and not like a traditional website at all.
Traditional websites may have users who scroll or click to consume more information, or they may even enter an email address or perhaps more personal information for an online purchase.
But a web app optimizes the user experience (UX) so users can do much more. And web apps must be dynamically updated to handle these sorts of interactions.
For example, you’ll notice that using Twitter or Facebook from a web browser is a more captivating experience than clicking onto the website of your local pizzeria. That’s because the former are web apps and the latter is a website.
What Are Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)?
Progressive web apps (PWAs) are a particular type of web app that is fairly modern in the digital world. PWAs combine desirable features of both native and hybrid apps.
Like any web app should, PWAs reside in a web browser. Users can access PWAs there like any website.
Still, having a PWA means going through the classic download and install process that users expect with mobile apps. But this is a good thing as PWAs can always be readily available from the user’s device.
Both the Google Play Store and the Microsoft Store welcome PWAs to their platform. So in some ways, a PWA is like a mobile app.
Progressive web apps launch from a user’s device without the need to open a web browser first and they can send push notifications directly to your mobile device. They can also work offline and load in a jiffy.
According to Frances Barriman and Alex Russell, the original Google engineers who gave PWAs their name, PWAs fit the following criteria:
- connectivity independent
- app-like interactions
What makes PWAs so alluring is their performance. A concept like web apps should be alluring in itself because of its cross-platform capabilities.
But in reality, most everyone in the software development industry believe web apps and hybrid apps have slower performance than native apps.
Progressive web apps defy this stereotype. Though it is important to keep in mind that PWAs do not intend to take mobile apps’ role.
No, PWAs are best defined as traditional websites in mobile app packaging. In this way, they are not as interactive as a conventional web app nor as boring or inaccessible as a standard website.
PWAs are unique in standing; they break the mold of what a web visitor or smartphone user anticipates.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Web Applications?
Web-based applications ultimately ease the development process. Businesses can give their users interactivity without having to use the time and resources necessary for building a mobile application.
That said, weighing the cons of web application development against the pros is still useful for getting the kinks ironed out.
Advantages of Web Apps
First, you should take a closer look at the advantages of web app development. You’ll find that web apps are an efficient option for boosting the UX of consumers who prize user engagement when it comes to their web browsing.
Users can access web apps from any device. Got a tablet? You can use a web app. Got a smartphone? You can use a web app. A laptop? Even better!
Basically, web apps are entirely multi-platform. They provide users with an entertaining exchange no matter the operating system, whether that be Android, iOS, PC, etc. so long as users maintain an internet connection.
Web apps do not need to be downloaded and installed. Or in the case of PWAs, the download and installation won’t be the equivalent of the app actually taking up space on your device.
While smartphones these days seem to be ever-increasing their storage space in what seem to be squared increments, some people simply don’t like the bloat of having lots of apps or otherwise, they just don’t have the space.
This reality also frees users from the obligation of constant updates. And with progressive web apps specifically, you can get many of the benefits of mobile apps with none of the hassle.
Once again, most mobile app developers and web developers are not one and the same. This is a shame because that means if you want the best of both worlds, you’ll always need at least twice as many developers or at least twice as much talent.
Oh, and if you want your mobile app to be featured on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, then that will require two distinct apps if you decide to go native.
This means that if you want both a website and a mobile app on all platforms, then you’ll need thrice as many resources.
Web app development circumvents these frustrations. There is strictly one codebase to work with.
Disadvantages of Web Apps
Of course, a pro and con list would be futile if there were only pros. Naturally, web app development has disadvantages too.
Despite all the praise, web apps cannot replace mobile apps and will operate a bit slower than an application that is hosted on a local server.
PWAs definitely try to mitigate this side effect, but there’s no veritable evidence that they’ve successfully eliminated this disadvantage altogether.
Generally, web apps need internet access to perform well or in most cases, to perform at all. Though PWAs do deter from this typecast, the most interactive of web apps will not respond if you don’t have a web connection.
Native technology will always carry an advantage over non-native technologies. Since web apps aren’t native, they don’t have the same capacity to collaborate effectively with the hardware and operating system of your specific device.
As system settings differ from one device to the next, and web apps are by definition multi-platform, developers plainly don’t program apps to work with such specifications.
3 Types of Web Applications
There are different types of web applications with different behaviors depending on how they’re built. While all these web application types still use web technologies they generally fall under the categories of client-side, server-side, or single-page applications.
Client-Side Web Apps
Client-side web apps are dominant in front-end development, meaning the user interface (UI) is the focus of these types of apps. They tend to prioritize UX and bring users high-performance levels.
Any data or business logic that the app might use to function is dynamically loaded at start-up.
As a result of client-side rendering, there is little to no buffering time for loading a page. This speeds up interactions with content, making the page markedly responsive.
Server-Side Web Apps
Server-side software is essentially synonymous with back-end development. Back-end development is composed of building the databases, servers, application programming interfaces (APIs), and any other background processes that occur in an application.
Though server-side applications by and large still display content and/or UIs, the most dynamic of code resides in the web server.
Server-side rendering (SSR) works well with static content as it can take some time for the web browser to send a request to the server and await an answer.
On the bright side, server-side web apps are normally more secure and offer more browser compatibility than client-side web apps.
A single-page application (SPA) differs from a traditional multi-page application where new pages load only when you click a link. Instead, SPAs have desirable advantages of both client-side apps and server-side apps.
SPAs wield their power from only one page, typically deploying an infinite scroll mechanism to display all its content.
Many web developers or web app developers exercise this faculty of SSR to build SPAs that do not require the entire page to reload in order to execute an action or fetch new data.
Web Apps Frameworks & Other Technologies
For full-stack web app development, your business will need the right front-end and back-end tools to see the process through. The frameworks and technologies below will be amply useful for building your web app.
On the front-end, the tools you should use for web app development and web development have remained roughly the same for a quarter of a century. But at the very least, you can bet they’re reliable!
HTML is another core technology of web development. HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is responsible for structuring the content of a web page.
A series of HTML elements describe to a web page how to display text, images, and in the latest version of HTML — HTML 5 — audio and video as well. HTML elements are most recognizable by the “<” and “>” characters.
Here’s a secret: if you’re on a desktop or laptop, right-click on any web page, press “View page source” and you will find a bunch of HTML embedded right into your browser.
Colors, layouts, and fonts are some of the integral characteristics of a web page or web app. CSS invokes these characteristics.
Back-end development features a wider range of technologies as back-end development comprises several components such as server-side programming, databases, web servers, and APIs.
Server-side or back-end programming languages must handle the functionality of a web app that takes place behind the scenes.
Back-end web development can involve working with databases to send and receive data from one end to the other, managing user connections and security authentications, and ultimately empowering the web application to perform as it should.
Java, Python, Ruby, and PHP are some of the most popular back-end languages. Many tech companies use more than just one of these languages but still, many side-by-side comparisons exist to examine their utility.
Databases store the data of an application. Back-end developers should be familiar with query languages that are able to request and retrieve data using queries.
Structured Query Language (SQL) is the go-to query language for the common web developer. SQL has many extensions or related versions extending additional functionality like MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle.
Servers respond to network requests. Through the internet connection of a web application, a server retrieves information based on client requests and then serves the client — that is, you, your computer, or mobile device — whatever it is that you asked for.
While there isn’t a specific language for servers, all of the technologies that make up back-end development should absolutely have a good relationship with the servers they work with.
Web servers of note include Apache, Nginx, and Internet Information Services (IIS).
APIs facilitate connections between two or more software systems. An API integration is what fuels your Google Home’s communication with your Spotify playlist, for instance, or eBay’s collaboration with PayPal.
Again, APIs do not have a domain-specific language. Instead, developers create APIs using other back-end technologies and share them publicly with other developers or keep them closed to the organization they work for.
7 Steps To Developing Web Applications
To be frank, web application development is not altogether different from any other software development life cycle. A great team and well-defined procedures are nearly always what drive successful development.
1. Define Your Problem
Defining the problem you wish to solve or identifying exactly why you want consumers to use your web app is the first step in developing your web application.
People come up with new ideas all the time but is an idea really worth implementing if it doesn’t provide clever solutions to an existing issue?
2. Plan the Workflow
A workflow can establish a means of systematic organization for the various aspects of your web application development. Think about what your web app will consist of and how to meet those requirements using your resources and budget.
Because this is software development, your workflow should be both business-oriented and technical.
Adjust accordingly for the time frame in which you want your web app development to be completed. Create algorithms that will meticulously move your development forward.
3. Prototype Your Web App
Prototyping involves building an incomplete yet functional application to better understand what your final product might look like. In software development, a prototype is akin to a minimum viable product (MVP).
4. Validate Your Prototype
The idea is that your prototype should be impressive enough to give you the validation you need to continue your project knowing that people are already interested in what you have in store.
To do this, validate your prototype by presenting your web app to potential users. Gather feedback and work from there.
5. Build Your App
Research the software you should have ready at the helm to build your app. Consider which front-end and back-end frameworks and technologies can competently fulfill the requirements of your project.
Once you have found all your tools, it’s time to start developing. Build your web app!
6. Test Your App
Hopefully, testing your web application goes without saying. Many software development teams administer tests throughout the development life cycle, ensuring that each iteration of your web app is bug-free.
Software quality assurance is likewise an important part of building a web application. And this should happen before you release your app to the public.
7. Host & Launch Your Web Apps
In the same fashion as a website, a web app must be hosted on a web server. That means putting your web app into action requires purchasing a domain name and a hosting provider on the cloud.
4 Examples of Web Applications
Web applications are all around you. Learning how you use web apps from day to day can inspire the motivating concept behind your own web app.
Google Docs is the most infamous of this list. Via Google Docs, users can interact directly with the web app by editing and making suggestions on documents.
One of the noteworthy features of Google Docs is that it automatically saves any edits you make right after you make them. It’s almost impossible to lose your work.
Notion is gaining popularity quickly. It’s a web application that satisfies many needs and purposes. You can use Notion as a calendar, to-do list, notepad, wiki, and more.
The app operates using components that you can insert and make changes to from the convenience of your web browser.
Mailchimp is a marketing platform allowing marketers to send automated and targeted mass emails to their leads. Its UI is easily navigable for anyone who wants to set up an email marketing campaign.
Salesforce is a customer relationship management (CRM) service utilizing a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.
Businesses can tender proficient customer service from the Salesforce web app and also integrate Salesforce into other technologies like HubSpot CMS, for one.
Need a recap? Here is an awesome video that can help you on your path on different ways of web app development:
Web app development is an idiosyncratic subset of web development that doesn’t quite align with what you’d expect from a website nor a mobile app.
There are several types of web apps. Aside from the game-changing progressive web apps, there are client-side web apps, server-side web apps, and even single-page applications.
Web apps are built using a combination of front-end and back-end technologies, and this alongside the software development process itself does not veer far from standard web development.
In fact, it’s probably the case that you’re already very much in the know about several prominent web apps that are in frequent use across the web.
Want to make your own web app? Contact Trio today to hire qualified senior Front-End developers who are skilled in the ways of web app development!
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