What are Web Applications (‘Web Apps‘)?
Why do they are so important?
Web applications are popular due to the ubiquity of web browsers, and the convenience of using a web browser as a client, sometimes called a thin client. The ability to update and maintain web applications without distributing and installing software on potentially thousands of client computers is a key reason for their popularity, as is the inherent support for cross-platform compatibility. Common web applications include webmail, online retail sales, online auctions, wikis and many other functions.
- Web applications do not require any complex “roll out” procedure to deploy in large organizations. A compatible web browser is all that is needed
- Browser applications typically require little or no disk space on the client
- They require no upgrade procedure since all new features are implemented on the server and automatically delivered to the users
- They also provide cross-platform compatibility in most cases (i.e., Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.) because they operate within a web browser window
- Modern web applications support greater interactivity and greatly improved usability through technologies such as AJAX that efficiently exchange data between the browser and the server.
- Web applications allow for easier introduction of new user devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets) because they have built-in browsers
An emerging strategy for application software companies is to provide web access to software previously distributed as local applications. Depending on the type of application, it may require the development of an entirely different browser-based interface, or merely adapting an existing application to use different presentation technology. These programs allow the user to pay a monthly or yearly fee for use of a software application without having to install it on a local hard drive. A company which follows this strategy is known as an application service provider (ASP), and ASPs are currently receiving much attention in the software industry.