You probably know what a web application is and how it differs from other kinds of mobile device applications. Web app development is not limited to only smartphones or tablets. It is designed to run on any browser, work on desktop computers, laptops or mobile devices. In this article, we want to classify the different types of web applications.
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The classification is based on how web apps show the content it provides. These can be categorised into 6 different types of web applications:
1. Static web application
If you choose to create a static web app, the first thing to know is that this kind of web app displays very little content and is not very flexible.
They are usually developed in HTML and CSS. However, animated objects such as banners, GIFs, videos, etc., may also be included and shown in them. They can also be developed with jQuery and Ajax.
In addition, modifying the contents of static web apps is not easy. To do this, you first have to download the HTML code, then modify it and finally upload it again to the server. These changes can only be made by the webmaster or by the development company that planned and designed the app in the first place.
Examples of static web app development include professional portfolios or digital curriculums. Similarly, a webpage introducing a company could also make use of this kind of web application to display contact information or the like.
2. Dynamic web application
Dynamic web applications are much more complex at a technical level. They use databases for loading data and their contents are updated each time the user accesses them. They generally have an administration panel (called CMS) from where administrators can correct or modify the app’s content including text and images.
Many different programming languages can be used for dynamic web app development. PHP and ASP are the most common languages used for this purpose because they allow you to structure the content.
In this kind of app, upgrading content is very simple and the server doesn’t even have to be accessed when modifying it. In addition, it allows the implementation of plenty of features such as forums or databases. Design − besides content − can be modified to match the administrator’s preferences.
3. Online store or e-commerce
If the web application is an online store or shop, its development is likely to resemble that of m-commerce or an e-commerce site. This kind of app’s development process is more complicated because it must enable electronic payments via credit cards, PayPal or other payment methods. The developer must also create a management panel for the administrator. It will be used for listing new products, updating or deleting them and managing orders and payments.
The department store El Corte Inglés is an example of a big Spanish company that has developed an online store web application. Its web app fits mobile devices the same way a mobile application does, making it possible to interact with it as if it were a native app.
4. Portal web app
By portal, we are referring to a kind of application in which we access several of its sections or categories through a home page. These apps can include plenty of things: forums, chats, email, browsers, areas accessed through registration, the latest content, etc.
5. Animated web application
An animation is inevitably associated with FLASH technology. This programming approach allows for presenting content with animated effects. It also enables more innovative and modern designs and is one of the most widely used technologies by designers and creative directors. The drawback inherent to developing animated web applications is that this kind of technology is not suitable for web positioning and SEO optimisation purposes because search engines cannot correctly read the information they contain.
6. Web application with a content management system
Content must be continually updated when it comes to web app development, so installing a content management system (CMS) is a serious option to consider. The administrator can make use of this CMS to implement changes and updates.
These content managers are intuitive and very easy to handle. Some examples of content management systems are:
- WordPress: it’s undoubtedly the most widespread content manager around. There is plenty of information, tutorials and guides available on the internet that will help you customise it and understand how it works. In addition to all this, it’s free.
- Joomla: this cm is the second most popular after WordPress. It doesn’t have as many users as the latter but does have a strong community and is also very intuitive.
- Drupal: it’s a free software CSM. It’s very adaptable and is especially recommended for building up communities.
This kind of web application is very common among content pages: personal blogs, corporate blogs, professional blogs, news pages, articles, media, etc.
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Other considerations to be taken into account in web app development
Each kind of web application has its strengths and weaknesses, but let’s not forget that they ultimately remain to be a website. They are not native apps, no matter how similar they may be in appearance to these (this will depend on the web app’s design, not on its development). You will have to comply with regulations on cookies and strengthen the app’s security against possible hacker attacks − in a similar way as needs to be done with websites.
Similarly, remember to address SEO properly (not ASO positioning), as your web application will appear in the results of search engines such as Google, Yahoo or the like; especially since Google’s algorithm is regularly updated. Current web applications want to achieve a mobile app appearance. They do so while maintaining a website technology that lowers their cost significantly, a favourable fact that you should take into account.