At the beginning of a software project, a decision must be made about the choice of platform. Custom programming can be done as a desktop application, as a web application or as an app. The following article describes the advantages of an individually programmed web application.
How does a web application work?
The first step to use a web application is to enter an address (so called: URL) into the web browser. Various services determine the IP address of a server and forward the request to the web server running there. This determines the assigned web application and sends it the request. The application processes the request and sends the result in the form of an HTML page back to the calling instance, i.e. the web browser. The browser displays the HTML page.
No installation on the client
This simplified flow illustrates that a web browser, the Internet, and a web server are involved in the execution of a web application. A web browser such as Internet Explorer, Edge, Chrome or Firefox can be found on most PCs, smartphones and mobile devices. When these devices are connected to the Internet, they can access all available applications worldwide. This is one of the main advantages of a web application: there is usually no need to install any special components on the client PC. At the same time, the process also highlights a limitation for web applications: They only work when there is an existing Internet connection.
Easier entry for the user
So the work has not the user of the application, but the software developer. A web server with Internet connection is required for execution. If the web application is installed on the web server, it can be used immediately. So, if an update of the program becomes necessary, it only needs to be done on the web server and is then immediately available to all users worldwide.
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As long as it runs properly, a web application is available worldwide and around the clock. It can be used on all devices and all operating systems that have an Internet connection and a web browser. This includes desktop PCs, tablets, notebooks and smartphones. Since web applications are platform-independent, they work on Linux, macOS, and Windows. The following table contains some examples of web applications: