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A Web application (Web app) is an application program that is stored on a remote server and delivered over the Internet through a browser interface. Web services are Web apps by definition and many, although not all, websites contain Web apps. According to Web.AppStorm editor Jarel Remick, any website component that performs some function for the user qualifies as a Web app.
Web applications can be designed for a wide variety of uses and can be used by anyone; from an organization to an individual for numerous reasons. Commonly used Web applications can include webmail, online calculators, or e-commerce shops. Some Web apps can be only accessed by a specific browser; however, most are available no matter the browser.
How Web applications work
Web applications do not need to be downloaded since they are accessed through a network. Users can access a Web application through a web browser such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Safari.
For a web app to operate, it needs a Web server, application server, and a database. Web servers manage the requests that come from a client, while the application server completes the requested task. A database can be used to store any needed information.
Web applications have many different uses, and with those uses, comes many potential benefits. Some common benefits of Web apps include:
- Allowing multiple users access to the same version of an application.
- Web apps don’t need to be installed.
- Web apps can be accessed through various platforms such as a desktop, laptop, or mobile.
- Can be accessed through multiple browsers.
Web Application vs. other application types
Within the mobile computing sector, Web apps are sometimes contrasted with native apps, which are applications that are developed specifically for a particular platform or device and installed on that device. However, the two are not mutually exclusive. Native applications are applications typically downloaded and made specifically for the type of device it is downloaded on. Native apps can commonly make use of the device-specific hardware, such as a GPS or camera on a mobile native app.
Programs that combine the two approaches are sometimes referred to as hybrid applications. Hybrid apps work similar to a Web app but are installed to the device as a native app would be. Hybrid apps can also take advantage of device-specific resources by using internal APIs. Downloaded native apps can sometimes operate offline; however, hybrid apps don’t have this functionality. A hybrid app will typically share similar navigation elements are a Web app since they are based on Web apps.
Read about the latest advancements in Web application firewall technology and learn more about deploying, managing and supporting WAFs in the enterprise. Then read our expert advice to determine if a WAF is suitable for your organization, discover the most important questions to ask before buying a WAF, and get a comparision of the best WAF products on the market.