what is web application development? why you need it?

In case you are in hurry or looking for brief summery of web application development:

Desktop applications are good for single user application where data synchronization is not so crutial. Web application are centralized application where all data and business logic reside on central server. Client can use a Broswer to access the web application. It serves on wide variety of devices. You don’t need to deploy, manage and maintain client application on all organization computer like you do with desktop app.

Banking application, Google Search, Gmail, Facebook messanger are the best example of web application.

We are experienced web application developer team. Contact us for free consultation or Hire us. Not convinced yet? Please continue reading…

The entire article is divided into four main section

  1. History of Desktop application
  2. Inception of GUI and GUI based applications
  3. Modern age desktop applications and their limitations
  4. What is Web Application
  5. Hybrid Application
  6. Advantages of web application

To gain the proper understanding of what is web application/web application development, why it’s being very popular and how it is helping businesses to improve their work flow. We may need to look a little back into the time of former very popular and widely used desktop applications.

To gain the proper understanding of what is web application, why it’s being very popular and how it is helping businesses to improve their work flow. We may need to look a little back into the time of former very popular and widely used desktop applications.

Desktop applications were since the inception of computer, the thing is there were no GUI initially as the operating system were command line based.

Before the inception of Dos or Unix the computers were used for special purpose applications and those application were written on lower level languages that directly interact with hardware.

These applications were stored in 3.5″ or 5″ floppy disk. The popular special purpose applications were punch-card and batch processing systems.

With the hardware evolution and innovation of high level programming languages like C & C++ revolutionized the computer application development and made computer a general purpose machine.

This made possible the innovation of operating systems those were easy to operate and more user friendly in compare to assembly programs. By the way majority of Windows Operating System componants developed on top of C++ and C including Windows 10.

dos os - web application development

There were two popular OS choices available Dos and Unix for initial computers. Both the operating systems were command line based systems. All what users need to do were firing the commands to get the special tasks done.

The operating system made computers more general purpose machine, businesses and common people started using computer. C and C++ based programs were started getting general purpose programs. Banking and other financial institutions were using console based desktop application built on top of C++ to automate their manual work-flow.

As the time passed the trend comes to Graphical User Interface, windows 95 played crucial role in brining the GUI components to computers. Windows 95 & 98 were extremely popular GUI based operating systems that made computers more general purpose and easy to use. With GUI based OS Microsoft brought visual basic for GUI based desktop application development.

vb6 - web application development

The VB6 changed the way application developed and used! It given a decent amount of ease to the developers to develop complex application as well as ease for end user to use the application. There may be some institutions which are still using legacy desktop applications built on top of VB6. There might not be many as recent operating systems have deprecated the support of APIs for VB6.

In a mean while Database systems were getting mature and DBMS systems were shifting towards RDBMS. RDBMS started getting more robust and widely used in combination with desktop application. This change has helped many businesses to git rid of manual booking keeping, accounting and other application that required data persistence. It improved business workflow by eliminating the manual accounting and book keeping work.

Programming languages started getting more sophisticated with newer frameworks and tools, MS throws .NET framework with tons of new features to make desktop application more richer in terms of UI and functionality. With .NET Microsoft introduced C#.NET and VB.NET languages that enjoyed decent popularity. These kind of desktop application are still in existence and used either as legacy desktop application or mainstream applications. These framework had lot to offer in compare with traditional C++ based GUI components with great amount of ease, documentation and support.

The desktop applications are now using sophisticated client server approach. Server is responsible for housing the data into the database and data processing related logic and client applications are responsible for generating user interface where users can interact with view/forms.

Do you need desktop application consultation? Contact us today.

As time passes the UI game start changing, and time comes to more richer UI for applications, meaning standard win form based applications were considered old fashioned. Although developers were able to use the graphics, solid colors and images on forms yet the raise of Internet and cool web-design made the standard win form application looked quite aged.

There comes the era of rich looking desktop applications. WPF and sliverlight(deprecated) are the most recent iteration for desktop application development by MS. Microsoft offered WPF(Windows Presentation Foundation) for creating beautiful looking desktop application that looks modern age applications. Well sliverlight was a mixture platform developing richer animation based application for desktop and also houses capabilities for video/audio streaming. Similar approach like the Adobe Flash player. Client machine need to have small sliverlight player need to be installed to run such application.

Do you have bugs in windows application, need help? Contact us today.

Unfortunately for Microsoft the WPF platform took off quite well, HTML 5 had minimize the possibilities for sliverlight to be used for streaming purpose and HTML5+CSS3 has minimize the adaptability of sliverlight to be used on web for Rich Internet Application. By the way Flash is witnessing the same, as major players like YouTube has stopped using it additionally flash stopped development for Linux and mobile platform like Android and iOS.

The WPF based metro applications are still in existence and will remain there for coming years until MS throws something new or deprecate the support for such applications.

The raise of Internet and wide accessibility and adaptability has played crucial part in falling the desktop application trend. In earlier time, businesses tend to develop client-server based desktop application. In this model the load of business logic processing was usually divided between client desktop application and server application.

The desktop applications are mostly built platform specific. Java swing and applets(applets are different story) were the exception where swing provides native desktop application with platform Independence which require Java run-time. But the popularity, ease of development, ease of use and rich set of API that works perfect on top of Windows OS have given Windows Winform Application an extra winning edge over other platform independent applications.

The emerging trend of Internet and overall web base technology interest has overshadowed the desktop application trend, additionally the platform and resource requirement has generated huge impact on desktop application favored the web application trend.

The other disadvantage in my option is that a developer need to create and manage separate server and client applications. Additionally need to develop client application for different OS platform. In standard desktop application development and deployment life-cycle, the application needs to be built for all targeted OS platforms, the application for each platform needs to be thoroughly tested, once tested there need to be deployed on each machine. The distribution and deployment is what real challenge is. And the most crucial part is when some business rule changes or new requirement occurs the re-development, testing and deployment needs to take place which makes the desktop application development lengthy and time consuming and costly.

The above point would be better understood with a real-world case. Consider the case of banking desktop application where a taxation or some accounting related logic changes, the client application needs to be re-build, test and once completely tested they needs to be deployed once again to all the computers across the banks and branches. There are defiantly some other ways than this but comparing to web application all the ways are lengthy, costly and time consuming.

If we consider the same banking case example for web application, only the some part of code needs to be changed from system and automatically all the client computer using the web application gets the updated version of code.

What is web application

You might have question what Web application actually is?

In simple terms a program residing on server and end user accessing it via web clients (web browsers) are known as web application.

There is a thin line between websites and web application. In majority of the cases Web site serves the data in uniform way to all requests, while web application returns results to display various result pages based on user inputs. So in short web applications are those which serve data based on user’s interaction and inputs.

We see more and more mobile apps everyday, majority of mobile application depends on some sort of web infrastructure. Excluding games and utility application categories majority of apps require remote/cloud web server and data server to keep data in sync between various application mediums. Amazon, Flipkart, Facebook, Gmail are the best example of mobile applications that are based on web/cloud infrastructure.

To understand the web application in-depth we need to look a bit deeper into the web and websites. Let’s get started:

Yahoo 1996 - web application development Web has always attracted the mass, starting from the earlier days of web (web 1.0) Some of the most visited websites were Yahoo[yahoo 1996 image](an Internet portal), ask.com(more of a question – answer website) and altavista(search engine of the time) and many other website have attracted many of initial Internet users. They were quite advanced of their time.

Majority of the websites were static in nature initially meaning there were no database storing or keeping any data or details. Sites were the way of showing the content pre-written withing the pages. Even though the websites were static in nature it attracted major Internet mass as they might not need any special softwares to install in order to access the information online. This flexibility helped web scale tremendously.

We all have witnessed web technology growing from the trend of static websites to dynamic websites and web applications. Popular CMS tools like WordPress, Joomla and drupal have changed the way we develop website. These frameworks have help majority of website to be dynamic in nature and allowed normal user to be operate and manage their website easily.

Web technologies always have lot to offer for development. We see new tools and technologies added to web stack every year. The raise and popularity of PHP and MySQL like open-source technologies have changed the face of websites and level of interactivity. Websites started getting dynamic in nature meaning they have their own database to store and retrieve data from. So naturally there were no longer need to write down the content or data on static files.

Popular CMS frameworks like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and popular shopping cart frameworks like Magento, Opencart and Woocommerce are built on top of PHP and MySQL and these are open-source. Meaning anyone can use, share, distribute and modify as per requirement without worrying about licensing and other legal stuffs.

There are wide variety of web frameworks available to work with, but PHP, RoR, django-python, Java and ASP.NET based technologies are quite popular for dynamic web development. These are powerful technology capable of handling complex business problems that desktop application can with added advantage of platform Independence and ease of deployment.

It’s difficult for users to distinguish between Web site and web application terms. Let’s make the terms clear web application are those which has desktop like functionality or mobile application like functionality. And web site is the collection of content displayed in form of web pages that reflects the business.

The raise of Internet and wide adaptability has ignited the web application trend. The minimalist footprint and easy deployment helped web application gained popularity even further.

Advantages of Web Application

  • Large set of powerful open-source and closed source available for development.
  • Web infrastructure provide convenience and ease to end user.
  • The whole code files resides on a machine known as Web Server.
  • The data stored on a machine known as database server.
  • Client needs only one application Web Browser to access any sort of website or web application. Meaning there is no deployment or client application needed to be deployed and maintained.
  • Centralized hosting for all web pages and databases.
  • Powerful, Sleek and Flexible Front end frameworks available for developing beautiful and intuitive UI & UX.
  • Platform Independence. You no longer need to stick to certain Operating system to access the application.
  • Mobile friendly, meaning you can access the application from Desktop, Laptop, Tablet and Mobile meaning your application is accessible via all the devices.
  • No deployment cost and you don’t need to have dedicated client application, your website or web application can be accessed via Web Browser which is bundled with any operating system.
  • Rich set of analytic tools available, which helps you take strategic future decisions.

Hybrid Application

You may have come across the term called Hybrid Application. An application that is the mixture of web and desktop application. An application which stores all the data on centralized Data Server, clients are using either the desktop application or web based application or use both to complete specific task would called as hybrid application. That way all the clients works from one or more location still shares the same shared data. Such applications are good for those who need some hardware level access(like Scanner, Mic, camera, finger print or other bio-metric readers) in client applications while they need a central database that helps all the client application having the same up-to date database.

We are experienced hybrid application developers. We understand your importance of desktop application and your need for sleek web application that work seamlessly together. We add platform independence, responsiveness and multi device support by offering new age web application on top of desktop application.

The newer web standards and modern browsers have introduced many new API to access more hardware resources that allows Microphone and Camera devices additionally you can connect other biometric devices & scanner devices that are able to send data to your web application.

Are you stuck in desktop application and looking forward the way to migrate your existing application to web application? Let’s have a talk! we are expert in this area. We would love to help you migrate your legacy system to modern edge web application keeping all your data with much improved user experience and improved work flow.

Case Studies from our recent consultation:

OldGlobe Theater (Popular Theater in San Diego)

Short Summery:
The short line description would be, we converted their years old access based desktop application to modern web based application in span of 3 month. Including data migration, solution development, UI design and deployment of application that address all their requirement.

Result?
We helped them work remotely from any location or division with any device from computer, laptop to tablets and mobiles. The speed and portability helped them improving work flow by more than 40%.

Detailed Case Study:
We recently helped OldGlobe better known as The Old Globe Theater[https://www.theoldglobe.org/] located at San Diego California to port their legacy back office desktop application to new age web application.

It was a challenging task of developing new web application while keeping their past data intact yet cast the older data into new relational database architecture. The other was they were looking for keyboard first UI that their users used-to using the system. And there were many small requirements. We addressed each of their requirement while keeping their usage scenarios and developed web application that improved their workflow up-to a decent extent.

Their legacy desktop application was built on top of MS Access. The application was working fine till they need to shift their database server to other location from the back office division building. After shifting they started getting network related latency, slower data retrieval and application front end felt freezing time to time while fetching large chunk of data. The issue was due to the limitation of Access Database and it’s limitation. As Access is not RDBMS meaning it lakes of curtail features like relationships obviously, indexing and lacks of performance tuning. This contributes to poor data retrievals when particular data needs to be filtered and searched from large pool of data.

In our technical consultation we get to know about all the issues they were facing in detail. After considering the issues they were facing and their use case we suggested them web application model. It would perfectly fit their requirement and would offer additional advantages that they may need in future.

We built web application using PHP and MySQL as server side components and jQuery, CSS3, HTML5, BootStrap as front-end framework. We addressed desktop like keyboard shortcuts for web application using jQuery framework.

They have a Windows based server. We helped them creating a Apache based web server on top of windows server and other components that were required for web application to work smooth. It was one time setup process. All the users were instantly able to use web application across the departments and on various devices without any installation.

We prefer to be the trusted I.T partners of our valued clients. So we support even after the application development and deployment. After using our web application for quite some time, they have some modification and new features requests to be performed on application. We prepared the solution and patched revision to their server. All of their users were instantly able to see the changes and can work with improved UI components.

Do you have any old web application that you find buggy or slower in response or lack of features? Contact us now for free consultation.

CDO Group (Chicago based construction management company)

We recently consulted one of the major construction management agency in Chicago. They have a legacy web application developed back in 2006. The system was obsoleted both in terms of features and technology.

Being a construction management company, they need to keep track of everything from manpower work-log, site updates, budgets, product deliveries to work completed and work to be done. The prior system was lacking some of these base features. So they decided to eliminate the system altogether and started manually managing project using excel. What a paint for a company!

The scale of work and manual tiresome tasks leads them to make a decision of building new web application that would help them ease their workflow. They consulted many companies and we were the ideal fit for their task.

We tried to understand their workflow and working pattern in-depth. We understand their prior system and how they were using it. We prepared a complete requirement document and design the development road-map.

To make their workflow better, we focus on the user groups and their privileges on system. We crafted form and views according to their work. It helps us remove clutter out of their sight and helped users to see only part which requires their interaction.

We developed a web application that support multiple user roles with each user role having specific access to projects/contents. Project manager having special privileges add project updates, manage invested man hours, trade and punch list creation. Administrators have special view that shows all the projects update and progress at a glance.

The system was quite efficient, fast and feature rich that it improved their work-flow, made project management easier and automated many of manual work automated.

Web application addressed majority of their problem they were facing with legacy system and manual excel based work-flow.

If you have similar issue or thinking of re-developing your legacy web application or need to develop new web application contact us now for free consultation today.

Consultation

If you are looking for developing new web application that helps you automate and improve your work-flow. Offers rich set of features, utilities and offer zero deployment cost. Lower to no maintenance coast and multiple device compatibility. Contact us today for free consultation.

Post by Darshan Joshi

Darshan has a deep interest in Web technologies. He loves to empower MSME with his custom web development services. He is a firm believer of a true end to end solution. He offers a solution from website design, content creation, website development, website deployment, digital marketing, to brand building.

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