What is a web Application?

By | January 8, 2019

In this article I will explain what a web application is, what are the advantages and disadvantages and what is required to build and run a browser based application. I will also cover who creates the browser based application.

What is a Web Application?

A web application runs in a web browser. It is just like a program that runs on your computer or an app that runs on your phone. The difference is a web app runs in a browser so there is nothing to install, just point your browser to the web application and you are off and running.

What are the Advantages

The main advantage is the web based application runs in a browser and therefore does not need to be installed. A phone app needs to be installed as does software that runs on your computer. As an example, say you work for a company that has 600 employees and each has a Windows computer that they use daily. In the old days we would build an application that would be installed on every computer. Installation is difficult and time consuming. Don’t forget those software updates that need to be installed on each computer as well.

For the web application, there is no need to roll out upgrades because the latest version is always available since it is a browser based application.

In contrast to a computer or phone application, the browser based application does not require installation. It runs in a browser that is already installed on your device. All modern devised have a browser.

To utilize the web app, all you need to do is point your browser to the web application. Simple!

What are the Disadvantages

I cannot think of any disadvantages to a web app. There are a couple areas of concern and one is security. The developers need to be security conscious when creating the application to ensure it does not get hacked, especially if it is publicly available.

Creating a Web Application

This part gets a little technical so please do not worry if you do not understand some of this. In a nutshell an Internet programmer create the browser based application.

In more detail, An Internet programmer such as a PHP Programmer creates the web application. He or she would use a JavaScript library such as jQuery, to create Ajax routines to make the web app interactive. Add to this some Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to make the application mobile responsive and it will run on any devise that has a modern browser.

A web app can be as interactive as a computer or phone application.

A Web Application Requires a Web Server

Running a web app requires a web server. This server can be internal or external. An internal web server would be on the business private network. The private network is called an intranet. The other approach is to make the application publicly available. This would require a public web server.


Web applications run in a browser making them available to any device that runs a modern web browser. A web server is needed to run a web app. A web programmer is the one who creates and upgrades the browser based application. These applications can run on a private intranet or the public Internet. The advantage of a browser based application is it does not need to be installed on every device that will be running it and there are no upgrades to the installed on your device either.