A web application is basically a software that can be accessed via a browser. In recent years, web applications have become immensely popular. Almost every business is using a web application to mark its presence and cater to the needs of their customers on the world wide web.
In this blog, we are going to talk about web application development. At the end of the blog, we would know what exactly a web application is, their architecture, the difference between web applications and websites and much more.
Read the full blog to get an overview of web application development, one of the most important aspects of the world of technology. We begin with gaining a proper understanding of what is a web application.
What are Web Applications?
Simply put, a web application is a computer program or software that performs a task over the internet. A web application is a client-server server software application that runs in a web browser. And hence web applications can be used by users across the world
Web applications use a combination of technologies to retrieve, store and present information. Web applications can be imagined as a stand-alone application running on the internet and generating dynamic content.
Some of the examples of a web application are –
- online forms,
- shopping carts,
- online video and photo editing applications,
- emails and much more.
Basically, anything that runs on the internet and performs any action in real-time is a web application.
Web applications are a huge market in the IT industry. Let us now look at the web development architecture and how web applications really work.
Web Application Development Architecture
Now that we have an idea of the kind of applications are we talking about, let’s understand the working of web applications. The important terms when talking about web applications include -
- User interface,
- A set of protocols,
- A web server and
- A database.
The user interface is basically the front end of the web application. It is a visual display and consists of buttons, logos and images. It has a UX/UI interface which facilitates the user to perform the required functionalities. The front-end is basically the client-side in the whole architecture.
The front end is responsible for generating requests from clients and giving them to the web server.
The web server manages requests from clients, processing and generating proper responses after storing the information in the database if required. The database is basically a collection of organized information so that it can be easily accessed. The web server and the database form the backend.
Let’s understand the web application architecture step by step.
- The whole scenario starts with a user opening any web application over the internet. The user then triggers a request to the web server. The transfer happens with the use of protocols like HTTP, FTP etc. We will study more about protocols later in the article.
- The web server forwards the request to the web application server according to the generated request.
- The web application server processes the request and generates an appropriate response. There will be an interaction with the database layer if the data is required to be stored for future use.
- The result is sent to the web server with the processed data as a response.
- Web server responds back to the client.
- The output is shown on the front-end.
This was an example of a dynamic web application and the use of front-end and back-end technologies in the web development architecture. The application is called dynamic because requests are served, processed and responses are generated according to the user.
The web server comes with various functionalities like plugins. These plugins help you run code with certain checks that the application logic may demand to perform on the data collected by the user.
Protocols are very important in the process of developing web applications, it’s time we learn about the concept of protocols in detail.
Protocols in Website Application Development
When you try to access any information or data from the world wide web through a web browser, the browsers are retrieving the requested information with the help of protocols.
Protocols, in simple language, are a set of rules. The web uses web communication protocols to transfer information across the internet. For example, if the client requested for a particular image, a web browser uses protocols to request information from a web browser. The information is displayed on the user’s screen.
There are many types of protocols that are used to access information via the internet. The different types of protocol are – HTTP, Telnet, FTP and others.
Let’s look at some of the protocols in detail. We begin with understanding the HTTP protocol.
HTTP stands for HyperText transfer protocol. It is one of the most popular protocols. HTTP is a classic client-server protocol. When the user clicks on any element on the browser, the browser sends a request over the internet to the web server. The web server then processes the request and sends back the result which is displayed on the browser. HTTP is often touted as an unsecured communication protocol.
FTP stands for file transfer protocol which is used for transferring files such as documents, images etc.
HTTPS stands for HyperText transfer protocol secure. This protocol is very similar to HTTP but it is more secure as compared to HTTP. It comes with a security protocol called SSL/TSL.
Now that we have sufficient knowledge of protocols, let us move to another important aspect in the world of web development. The difference between website and web application is very crucial for web developers to understand.
Websites and Web Applications
People are often confused with websites and web applications. Some think that they are the same and others are confused about both these terms. Here we will clear all your doubts regarding websites and web applications.
Website is a collection of interlinked pages like Homepage, Information page and others which have a single domain name. On the other hand, a web application is a software program that is accessed on the internet.
The most difficult question that businesses often face is, whether they want a website or a web application. This question arises because of a lack of proper understanding of the distinction between web application and website. We can help you simplify the scenario for you. Here are a few features that will help you know when a business requires a website and when it requires a web application.
- A website is a method to showcase your product or services on a global level, it validates your presence on the web.
- A web application is created to interact with the user.
- A website is static, and the user can only view and read.
- A web application allows users to read and view data and generate requests.
- A website helps you in advertising and branding your businesses.
- A web application facilitates the user to buy products, complete checkouts, fill forms and perform other functions according to the application logic.
Sometimes it is seen that a web application is implemented as a part of the website or a website is implemented as a part of the web application.
For example, a blog is very much a website because it shows a collection of static web pages. But, if the blog allows you to comment, like or perform other functionalities on the blog post then it is a part of web application in a website.
Similarly, an e-commerce website is completely a web application as it requires users to perform functions like select items, buying the cart, payment processing and others. But if there are some static web pages on an e-commerce portal that displays only the information then it is more like a website embedded in a web application.
Now that we have the theoretical knowledge of web application development, let’s dwell into the details of programming language uses in web applications development.
Languages in Web Application Development.
All the steps we saw in the process of web application development don’t just happen automatically. They require some powerful lines of code in different languages to be executed.
The HyperText Mark-Up Language, also known as HTML is a mark-up language that is used to build customized websites. The HTML language is made up of tags that are used to build web pages from scratch.
HTML is an essential but valuable skill. Beginners tend to neglect the importance of this language and this might be one of the biggest mistakes they commit in their formative years as developers.
Cascading style sheets, popularly known as CSS, are used for styling web pages. CSS describes the presentation of a document written in a markup language, for example HTML.
CSS lets the user add fonts, spacing and much more. It’s basically a simple design language. CSS is a very vast topic; it covers various topics and sub-themes that need to be comprehensively covered in order to make and add an effective design on the websites.
PHP is basically a server-side programming language that runs on almost all platforms and is compatible with all servers6. It is usually used in developing webpages and applications. It is embedded in markup languages like HTML.
While these were some of the popular languages in the world of web application development, there are many other languages also that are used in the process of developing web applications.
With this, we come to an end of our guide to web application development. If you think we have not included any important aspect of web application or if you have any questions, we would be happy to hear from you and help you make a lucrative career in technology.
Web application development is one of the most important fields in the world of technology. Companies are looking for web developers who can build secure, robust and flexible web applications for their businesses. Almost every company wants their business to reach out to millions of people through efficient and secure web applications.
While we have covered the architecture and theoretical concept of web applications, that is nowhere enough to become a successful and professional developer. In order to make a lucrative tech career as a web application developer, you need professional guidance where you would be guided to implement practical web application projects.
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