What is Web Application Development? [A Brief Explanation With Examples]

What is Web Application Development?

Web application development is the process of designing, building, and managing custom web applications that work within web browsers. These applications are easily accessible through the internet or a private network (intranet) on a variety of devices, such as computers, smartphones, and tablets, without needing to install any additional software.

If you are interested in knowing the process to build a web application, we have a dedicated guide to create a web application that walks you through every step. It covers everything from the initial planning phase, through the design and development stages, all the way to deployment and maintenance.

Web applications can range from simple applications like email clients and to-do lists, to complex systems such as online marketplaces and enterprise software solutions. Consider a web application for email service like Gmail for example. Users can access Gmail through their browsers, compose and read emails, and manage their inboxes without needing to install any software on their devices.

However, if you are looking for more information on a web application, or web app, is a client-server computer program that runs in a web browser. If you’re curious to learn more about web applications, read this article on what is a web application.

There are several types of web applications, each with unique functionalities and use cases.

Below, we have listed the top 7 types of web applications along with their description, the programming language required, and examples. Let’s have a look.

Type of Web ApplicationsDescriptionProgramming languagesExamples
Static web applicationStatic web apps display fixed content to all users with minimal interactivityHTML, CSS, JavaScriptCompany websites, personal blogs, portfolios, informational sites
Dynamic web applicationDynamic web apps display customized content based on user interactions and preferencesPHP, Python, Ruby, Node.jsSocial media platforms, online forums, news websites
Single-page applicationsLoad a single HTML web page with dynamic content updates as users interactAngular, React, Vue.jsGmail, Google Maps, Trello, Asana, LinkedIn
Progressive web applicationsProgressive web apps provide a native app-like experience on mobile devices, with internet browser-based accessHTML, CSS, JavaScript, Web APIsTwitter, Pinterest, Starbucks, AliExpress, Tinder
Content management systemAllow users to create, edit, and manage digital content without extensive technical knowledgePHP, Python, Ruby, Node.js, JavaWordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, Wix
E-commerce applicationsEnable users to buy and sell products or services onlinePHP, Python, Ruby, Node.js, JavaAmazon, eBay, Etsy, Alibaba
Web portalsPortal web apps provide centralized access to various resources, services, and informationPHP, Python, Ruby, Node.js, JavaYahoo!, MSN, company intranets, government portals, online banking

You can learn more about different types of web apps by going through our post on web app examples.

Now, you might be wondering, what is a web application framework? Simply put, a web application framework is a software framework designed to support and simplify the development of web applications. They provide a standard way to build and deploy web applications and are a universal feature of the web development landscape.

Understanding web application frameworks is integral to mastering web application development. To learn more about what a web application framework is and how they function, you can read our detailed guide on what is a web application framework.

Now that you’re familiar with different types of web applications and have been introduced to the concept of web application frameworks, let’s understand some of the most popular front-end and back-end frameworks used in the industry today.

5 Front-end FrameworksDescriptionKey FeaturesExamples
AngularA comprehensive TypeScript-based, open-source web application platform developed by Google, ideal for building complex, large-scale apps
  • Two-way data binding
  • Dependency Injection
  • Routing
  • Gmail
  • Upwork
ReactA popular, flexible JavaScript library created by Facebook for building responsive, high-performance user interfaces
  • Virtual DOM
  • Reusable components
  • Unidirectional data flow
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Airbnb
Vue.jsA progressive, adaptable JavaScript framework that emphasizes simplicity and is easy to learn and integrate with other projects
  • Reactive data binding
  • Reusable components
  • Custom directives
  • Alibaba
  • Xiaomi
  • GitLab
Ember.jsA highly structured JavaScript framework focused on conventions and productivity, suitable for ambitious, large-scale web applications
  • Convention-over-configuration
  • Handlebars templating
  • LinkedIn
  • Apple Music
  • Square
Backbone.jsA lightweight, minimalist JavaScript library that provides structure to web applications using an MVC architecture and RESTful JSON API
  • RESTful JSON interface
  • MVC architecture
  • Event-driven communication
  • Trello
  • Foursquare
  • SoundCloud

Now, let’s even understand the top 5 back-end frameworks.

5 Back-end FrameworksDescriptionKey FeaturesExamples
Express.jsA fast, unopinionated, minimalist web framework for Node.js, making it easy to build scalable and maintainable web applications
  • Middleware support
  • RESTful API support
  • Template engine support
  • Uber
  • Walmart
  • Yandex
DjangoA high-level Python web framework that encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design, ideal for data-driven applications
  • Batteries-included
  • Middleware support
  • Instagram
  • Spotify
  • Dropbox
  • YouTube
Ruby on RailsA full-stack web application framework built with Ruby, emphasizing convention over configuration and DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) principles
  • Convention over configuration
  • Active Record ORM
  • MVC architecture
  • RESTful design
  • GitHub
  • Shopify
  • Airbnb
FlaskA lightweight, extensible Python web framework, offering a modular design and flexibility for small to mid-sized applications
  • RESTful request dispatching
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Netflix
Spring BootA Java-based framework simplifying the development of stand-alone, production-grade Spring-based applications with minimal configuration
  • Embedded server
  • Spring Ecosystem
  • Dependency injection
  • Intuit
  • Zalando
  • TicketMaster
  • Mulesoft
  • Wix

Now, you know about web app frameworks, let’s even understand benefits of developing web application.

8 Benefits of Web Application Development

Here are the top 8 benefits of developing web applications.

  1. Reaches More Users with One Codebase

    Web application is accessible on a various user’s device and operating system, eliminating the need to create and maintain multiple versions of the same application. This saves time and resources for both developers and businesses.

  2. Connect with Users Anywhere, Anytime

    Web apps can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, offering flexibility and convenience for users, and increasing the potential reach and customer base for businesses.

  3. Adapt to Changing Traffic and Business Needs

    Web applications can be easily scaled up or down to accommodate fluctuations in user traffic or business requirements, ensuring optimal performance and resource usage for developers and businesses.

  4. Launch Your Product or Service Faster

    Web app development typically involves shorter development cycles, enabling developers to create and deploy applications more quickly, and allowing businesses to respond more quickly to market demands and user feedback.

  5. Protect Your Data and Ensure Compliance

    Modern web development frameworks and tools come with built-in security features, helping web app developers protect sensitive data and comply with industry standards while providing businesses with a secure platform for their users.

  6. Save Time and Resources

    Developing and maintaining web apps is generally more cost-effective compared to creating separate applications for different platforms, benefiting both developers and businesses in terms of time and money saved.

  7. Keep Your Web App Up-to-date Effortlessly

    Updates to web apps can be deployed quickly and easily, as users don’t need to manually update the software on their devices. This simplifies maintenance for developers and ensures businesses can provide their users with the latest features and improvements.

  8. Extensive Developer Community and Resources

    The web development community is vast and active, offering a wealth of resources, tutorials, and support for developers to learn, collaborate, and troubleshoot problems, ultimately benefiting businesses by ensuring well-supported and evolving web technologies.

Till here, you know the benefits of web application development, let’s quickly go through the practices you need to follow for web app development.

5 Best Practices for Web App Development

Here are the top 5 best practices you need to follow before starting with web application development

  1. Plan and document your project thoroughly before starting the web application development process.
  2. Use version control to keep track of changes made to your codebase, such as using Git or SVN. For example, creating different branches for different features or bug fixes to keep the codebase organized.
  3. Optimize your code for performance to provide a better user experience.
  4. Ensure security by implementing security best practices, such as using SSL encryption and validating user input to prevent common attacks like SQL injection and XSS. For example, using two-factor authentication to protect user accounts.
  5. Document your code to help other developers understand your code and make updates as necessary, such as using code documentation tools like JSDoc or Doxygen. For example, creating a README file that outlines the project structure and how to run the app.

Web application development involves designing, building, and managing custom applications that are accessible through web browsers. It offers numerous benefits, such as reaching a wider user base, connecting with users anywhere and anytime, and adapting to changing business needs. By following best practices and leveraging the available web development frameworks, you can create scalable, secure, and efficient web applications that deliver exceptional user experiences

Bhaval Patel

Written by

Bhaval Patel is a Director (Operations) at Space-O Technologies. He has 20+ years of experience helping startups and enterprises with custom software solutions to drive maximum results. Under his leadership, Space-O has won the 8th GESIA annual award for being the best mobile app development company. So far, he has validated more than 300 app ideas and successfully delivered 100 custom solutions using the technologies, such as Swift, Kotlin, React Native, Flutter, PHP, RoR, IoT, AI, NFC, AR/VR, Blockchain, NFT, and more.