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Web App: what is it, and why prefer it to a mobile app?

Among the options you have to create an application, you can focus on a web app: what is it? What advantages does it offer you? Why prefer it to a native or hybrid app?

Few entrepreneurs have not yet built a solid online presence. However, a website, company profiles on social networks, or e-commerce are not a luxury, an added value. Rather, it represents the “fundamentals “for living in today’s market.

Not having these tools means, in practice, your business is not existing for millions of consumers.

For all the others, for those entrepreneurs who look ahead, the prospect of having a mobile application dedicated to their products and services is opening up. In addition, web apps really allow them to differentiate themselves from competitors.

Let’s immediately dispel this myth: developing an app does not always cost millions of dollars. Besides, it does not require years of work. In short, it is not an option that large companies can only do.

In this article, we have evaluated the pros and cons of native and hybrid apps, but a third way deserves just as much attention: the world of Web Apps.

Web App: what is a web application? 

Let’s look at its precise definition.

In the IT field, a Web App is an application program installed on a remote server and executed by a browser (such as Chrome, Safari, or Edge).

I know so many complex terms. Let’s make it simpler.

A Web App is an application that you don’t have to install on your smartphone but that you can use simply by browsing online: better, right?

With an example, everything will be even clearer.

An example of a Web App

I’m sure you know Microsoft Office, the pack containing Word, Excel, PowerPoint and all the other Microsoft programs. Before using them, you had to download the software or the entire package on your PC or Mac, start the installation and, once completed, start the program.

However, there has been a more comfortable alternative that offers very similar performances: Microsoft 365. It allows you to use those same programs in the cloud, therefore by browsing via browser, without downloading.

Differences between web and mobile apps (native): which one do you need?

To compare two such different approaches to the world of applications, it is good to analyze the specifics of both approaches point by point. We will focus on smartphone apps for convenience and clarity.

Installation

  • Web App: not needed, so it doesn’t take up space on your device
  • Mobile App: required, uses the local memory of the device to work. It must be downloaded from the store.

Loading speed

  • Web App: not very high; depends on network coverage and quality.
  • Mobile App: High

Maintenance

  • Web App: easy because they have a common platform-independent code
  • Mobile App: complicated, to be entrusted to an expert technician

Update

  • Web App: simple and immediate; users will not need to download updates
  • Mobile App: complex, “bread” for developers

Functionality

  • Web App: limited, cannot access all smartphone features.
  • Mobile App: access to features with prior authorization from the user

Distribution

  • Web App: not present on the Stores
  • Mobile App: downloadable or purchasable from Google Play and Apple Store

Costs

  • Web App: Development, maintenance, and updating are not onerous.
  • Mobile App: high or very high. The software code must be written for every single operating system; maintenance and updating follow this same logic.

Development and timing

  • Web App: very fast because it requires a limited number of interventions
  • Mobile App: slow and complex because writing codes (with different programming languages) is a far from a simple process, even for developers

In short: advantages and disadvantages of a web app and a native one on mobile devices

This overview, however clear, did not answer the question we have been asking ourselves from the beginning: is a web application or a native app better? (I exclude hybrid apps because they are very different and offer different advantages. There are only needs, which vary from moment to moment, from entrepreneur to entrepreneur. In short, there is no right or wrong answer because the solution is only obtained by asking the right questions.

  • Which smartphone features do you want to take advantage of? Do you need a camera, calendar, agenda, access to contacts, etc.? Then the solution is a native app or a hybrid!
  • How much can you spend? Native apps cost a lot for development, maintenance, and updating (which is always necessary)!
  • How long can you wait? If you need an app quickly, you can opt for a Web App or a hybrid app.

If you still don’t have clear ideas, don’t worry. Deciding to invest in technological innovation is not an operation to be taken lightly.

My advice is to ask specific questions to an expert who can advise you on the best path to follow. If you want, click here to book a free call with one of our consultants: choose the most convenient day and time for you!

You can also hire us for Web Application Development Services. We have access to several resources that may make your website one of the finest on the internet. Further, we integrate the latest technological tools into the website to help you achieve your company goals.

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