The internet has revolutionized the way we live and work – there’s no doubt about that. And one of the most significant changes it has brought about is the way we use apps.
In the past, we would have to download and install apps on our computers or mobile devices in order to use them. But now, thanks to the power of the internet, we can access apps directly from our web browsers.
This new breed of apps is known as web apps. And in this post, we’re going to take a look at the key differences between web apps and the more traditional mobile apps.
What are web apps?
Web apps have many advantages over traditional desktop applications. They can be used anywhere there is an internet connection, they are easy to update and maintain, and they can be accessed by anyone with a web browser.
Web apps are often used for online shopping, social networking, and web-based productivity tools such as email and word processing. Many businesses also use web apps to provide online customer service and support.
What are mobile apps?
Mobile apps are computer programs designed to run on smartphones and other mobile devices. They are typically available through app stores and other online channels, and can be downloaded to a device without the need for any prior approval from the device manufacturer.
Mobile apps are typically designed with a specific purpose or function in mind, such as allowing users to book a hotel room, track a fitness goal, or play a mobile game. However, there are also many general-purpose mobile apps available that can be used for a variety of tasks.
Most mobile apps are designed to run on a specific platform, such as iOS or Android. However, some app developers choose to create cross-platform apps that can be used on multiple types of devices.
Mobile apps are typically developed using a specific programming language and set of tools. Commonly used languages for developing mobile apps include Objective-C, Swift, and Java.
Mobile apps vs. web apps
There’s no denying that mobile apps are becoming more and more popular. In fact, according to a report by comScore, mobile app usage now surpasses desktop usage. But does that mean that mobile apps are better than web apps? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each to help you decide which is right for your business.
Pros of mobile apps:
- Increased engagement: Mobile apps are designed specifically for mobile devices and as such, they offer a more seamless and engaging experience for users. This is especially important for businesses that want to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business.
- Greater control over the user experience: Since mobile apps are designed specifically for mobile devices, businesses have greater control over the user experience. This includes things like the layout, navigation, and even the overall look and feel of the app.
- Offline access: One of the biggest advantages of mobile apps is that they can be used offline. This is ideal for businesses that want to offer their customers the ability to use their app in areas where there is no internet connection.
- Push notifications: Push notifications are a great way to keep users engaged with your app. With a mobile app, you can send push notifications directly to a user’s device to let them know about new products, special offers, or even just to remind them to use your app.
Cons of mobile apps:
- Increased development costs: One of the biggest disadvantages of mobile apps is that they can be more expensive to develop than web apps. This is because you not only have to develop the app for each different mobile platform (iOS, Android, etc.), but you also have to account for things like device fragmentation.
- Requires approval from app stores: Another downside of mobile apps is that they require approval from app stores before they can be published. This can be a time-consuming process, and there’s no guarantee that your app will be approved.
- More difficult to discover: It can be more difficult for users to discover mobile apps than web apps since they’re not as easily accessible. Users have to go through an app store to find and download a mobile app, whereas a web app can be accessed directly from a browser.
- Requires ongoing maintenance: Mobile apps require ongoing maintenance in order to keep them up-to-date with the latest operating system versions and to fix any bugs that may be discovered. This can be a costly and time-consuming process for businesses.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of web apps.
Pros of web apps:
- No need to install anything: One of the biggest advantages of web apps is that you don’t need to install anything. All you need is a web browser and an internet connection, and you’re good to go.
- Automatic updates: Another big advantage of web apps is that they are automatically updated. That means that you always have the latest version of the software, and you don’t have to worry about manually downloading and installing updates.
- Access from anywhere: Another great thing about web apps is that you can access them from anywhere. As long as you have a web browser and an internet connection, you can use a web app. That makes them perfect for traveling or working from coffee shops, libraries, or other public places.
- No need for powerful hardware: Because web apps are stored on a remote server, they don’t require powerful hardware on your end. That means that you can use them on an older computer or a mobile device without any problems.
Cons of web apps:
- Requires an internet connection: One of the biggest drawbacks of web apps is that they require an internet connection. If you’re not connected to the internet, you can’t use a web app. That can be a problem if you’re traveling or if you live in an area with spotty internet coverage.
- Can be slow: Another potential downside of web apps is that they can be slow. That’s because they have to load everything from a remote server, which can take some time. Additionally, if the server is busy, it can slow down the app even more.
- Dependent on server: Because web apps are stored on a remote server, they can be down if the server is down. That means that you won’t be able to use the app if the server is having problems.
- Limited functionality: Another potential downside of web apps is that they can have limited functionality. That’s because they have to run in a web browser, which can limit what they can do. Additionally, some web apps are designed to be lightweight and simple, which can also limit their functionality.
Web apps are accessible on all devices
The first thing to note is that web apps are accessed via a URL, just like any other website. This means that they can be used on any device with an internet connection, including laptops, desktops, smartphones, and tablets.
In contrast, mobile apps are designed specifically for use on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. They are usually downloaded and installed from an app store such as the App Store or Google Play.
Web apps are faster and cheaper to develop
Another advantage of web apps is that they can be updated instantly. With a mobile app, you would need to submit an update to the app store and wait for it to be approved before users can download it. But with a web app, you can push updates live as soon as they’re ready. This can be a huge advantage if you need to fix a bug or add a new feature quickly.
Finally, web apps tend to be more affordable than mobile apps. This is because they can be developed using open source technologies, which are usually free to use. In contrast, mobile app development usually requires expensive proprietary tools.
Progressive web apps are the best of both worlds!
A Progressive web apps are web apps that work as a web app as well as a mobile app. They are a new type of web app that is designed to work better on mobile devices than traditional web apps.
One of the benefits of progressive web apps is that they can be added to the home screen of a mobile device just like a native app. This allows users to have quick and easy access to the app.
Another benefit of progressive web apps is that they are designed to work offline. This means that users can still use the app even if they are not connected to the internet. Progressive web apps use a technology called Service Workers to cache the app’s data so that it can be used offline.
Progressive web apps are also designed to be fast and responsive. They are built using techniques such as caching and static assets so that they load quickly on slower connections.
Overall, progressive web apps are a new type of web app that offer many benefits over traditional web apps. They are designed to be fast, responsive, and work offline. Additionally, progressive web apps can be added to the home screen of a mobile device just like a native app.
Learn the technologies that help you build both a web app as well as a mobile app