Thursday, 17 April 2014

WHAT ARE WEB APPLICATIONS?


A web application is an application that is accessed by users over a network such as the Internet or an intranet. The term may also mean a computer software application that is coded in a browser-supported programming language such as JavaScript, combined with a browser-rendered markup language like HTML and reliant on a common web browser to render the application executable.

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.

What is the difference between a Web application and a Web site?

Web applications, are presented as either a web site or as part of a web site, but not all web sites are web applications. A web application is a web site that DOES something other than display content to the masses. It’s intended for user interactions and transactions, performing actual business functions, and not simply displaying information to a user.

Ebay is a web application. So are Paypal, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, eHarmony, eTrade, GMail, and Wikipedia. Your bank, assuming it offers online banking, has a web application component on its site. If you can think of a site where you create an account, log in, and conduct some actual business, it’s probably a web application.

By contrast, a web site usually refers to the front-end interface through which the public interacts with a business online. Web sites are typically informational in nature with a limited amount of advanced functionality. Simple websites consist primarily of static content where the data displayed is the same for every visitor and content changes are rare. More advanced websites may have features such as ecommerce, content management and dynamic content. 

What is the Future of Web Applications?
Most web applications are based on the client-server architecture where the client enters information while the server stores and retrieves information. Internet mail is an example of this, with companies like Yahoo and MSN offering web-based email clients.
The new push for web applications is crossing the line into those applications that do not normally need a server to store the information. Your word processor, for example, stores documents on your computer, and doesn't need a server.

Web applications can provide the same functionality and gain the benefit of working across multiple platforms. For example, a web application can act as a word processor, storing information and allowing you to 'download' the document onto your personal hard drive.
If you have seen the new Gmail or Yahoo mail clients, you have seen how sophisticated web applications have become in the past few years. Much of that sophistication is because of AJAX, which is a programming model for creating more responsive web applications.
Google Apps, Microsoft Office Live, are examples of the newest generation of web applications.


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