WHAT IS A WEB APP?

Below is the transcript of the above video where you will learn more about a Web App.

MELANIE FOXCROFT: Hello everyone, I’m Melanie Foxcroft from MF Consulting and I’m back today with Maarten Kruger from Tech Genius. Today we will be discussing web apps and specifically how to target mobile devices.  Welcome Maarten.

MAARTEN KRUGER: Thanks Melanie. Happy to be back again.

MELANIE FOXCROFT: Last time we discussed how you can introduce Business Process Automation and we ended off discussing Web Apps. But today I would like to continue with that, so can you explain to me just what Web Apps are?

MAARTEN KRUGER: Yes. So, Web App is basically short for Web Application. Now, desktop apps are installed to run on a desktop computer. It could be a pc. It could be a mac. So, in the same way a Web App is actually installed to run on a web server. Now, you could say that it runs on the web server but it’s actually a partnership because some of the processing takes place on the server and some of the information is sent to your device, and the processing actually takes place on your device. That’s pretty much a partnership. So, the web app basically looks like a website, and technically it is a website.

MELANIE FOXCROFT: So, Maarten, what is the difference between a website and a Web App then?

MAARTEN KRUGER: A brochure website is only concerned with look and feel. The goal is pretty much marketing. It’s all about graphic design and content writing. Now, a Web App in contrast, is all about functionality, you know. “What can you do with it and who can use it?” So, in terms of who can use it: anybody you want can use it. Clients, suppliers, employees, the general public. And the next thing is “Where can you use it?” Well, you can use it anywhere in the world. Even if you don’t have internet access. And “When can you use it?” Well, you can use it anytime. You’re not limited by service only provided in business hours. And “What you can do?” Well, that is only limited by your imagination. So, the difference is more in “how it’s created”. It’s not just styled web pages, but everything is actually programmed from the ground up according to your specific business needs. And if you look at Web Apps, they’re created by web developers who are also called software engineers. In contrast to websites who are mostly created by graphic designers and web designers. Some well-known examples of Web Apps are websites like Gumtree, Facebook and Gmail.

MELANIE FOXCROFT: What are the advantages of Web Apps?

MAARTEN KRUGER: Well, Web Apps work on almost any smart device with a web browser and they can run on different operating systems. So, you can use it on Android, Apple – and that could be IOS on mobile devices or MAC OS on desktop devices. You can run on Windows. And device tops, you know, the entire range from smartphones, tablets, desktops which can include also pcs and macs. Now, web apps can be made to be responsive. The word responsive (or responsive design) means that the user interface will look good on any screen sizes and that’s a quite a thing with the wide variety of devices and different screen sizes that you get. You can be assured that your user interface will look good no matter if your device is wide, narrow, large or small. And the other thing that’s also good news is that these days there are fewer issues between different web browsers. So, whether your device’s browser is Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Edge, thanks to html5 there are few issues between the different web browsers. Now, you might wonder what html stands for. That’s “Hypertext Mock-up Language” and it’s pretty much the underlying front-end language. And ever since the introduction of version 5 (html5) plugins like Adobe’s flash is no longer needed and that actually became obsolete in 2020.

MELANIE FOXCROFT: Maarten, let’s talk about how to target mobile devices specifically, since most people browse on their mobile phones or on tablets these days.

MAARTEN KRUGER: Well, like I mentioned already, responsive web design is a good way of doing it. Making sure your apps – your web app’s user interface – looks good on small screens as well as touch screens. And then, Progressive Web Apps is something else. The short name for Progressive Web Apps is PWAS and what happens is, if you open a website that’s actually a PWA (Progressive Web App) there’s an “add to home” button that is displayed on the web page and if you click on that it, actually adds it on your mobile device – a shortcut for the App – pretty much like as if it’s a Mobile App. So, it’s quite easy to open and can even work offline. And it can do push notifications to the device on most platforms, and the user can take photos, the PWA can get access to your location of your device. So, that’s one way of doing it and then there’s also something that’s called a mobi website. Now, if you have a mobi website it pretty much means that your domain name of your website has got a .mobi at the end of it. Now, what makes the .mobi website a little bit different is the fact that they actually enforce certain rules on the website. You can’t just make any website a .mobi website. There are certain, sort of, standards you need to adhere to. Now, some of these standards – the goal of this standards – is to give the user peace of mind that the website is actually mobile friendly. So, one of the things, once again, is that it must have a responsive layout, it must also be easy to open on a mobile device (which means that you don’t have to enter www at the front of the name). The other requirement is that it doesn’t rely on cookies and it doesn’t use pop-ups and it also doesn’t change the current window without informing the user. So, these are all things that makes a web app much more user friendly on a mobile device.

MELANIE FOXCROFT: Thanks Maarten. Very informative as always. Join us next time when we will once again simplify the
complex world of Business Process Automation and don’t forget to visit www.techgenuis.co.za.

Interview done by Melanie Foxcroft from MF Consulting.

BUSINESS AUTOMATION SERIES:  WEB APP

View our BPA series on youtube.