When talking about a resource on the Internet, most people almost always use the term “website”. But this is not always the case, and a person who deals with IT must understand the difference between a website and a web application.
Understanding the main differences between the two is important for entrepreneurs who want to ensure they have a strong presence on the Internet. This will allow you to make the right decision regarding product development, because the differences between the two are crucial.
For an end-user, the terminology may not matter much. But when communicating with developers, it is important to use the right term, as it allows them to better understand the goals, formulate specific requirements and plan further work.
The Purpose of a Website is to Provide Information
The main goal of a website is to display certain information, most often in a static form. Yes, a website can also contain elements that output the results in a dynamic form – for example, a calendar, a search box, or a survey tool.
But it is always a matter of “one-way traffic” – the user can see only information provided by the site’s creators, and cannot affect it.
Examples of classic information websites:
- news resources;
- corporate “websites-business cards” (restaurant, hotel, etc.);
- catalogs and reference resources;
- personal blogs.
Websites are not distinguished by any complex work logic and are focused on the delivery of content. The user receives all the information in its entirety from the server.
A Web Application is About Interactivity and Interface
The main feature of a web application is interactivity, that is, the user not only passively consumes the content, but can also actively interact with the resource. The foundation of any web application is a certain logic, whose purpose is to solve specific business problems.
When compared to a website, a web application provides a richer user experience. It can receive certain data from the user, process and store it, or return results of such processing into the user’s browser.
Sometimes, the main purpose of creating a web application is to use it as an additional tool in conjunction with the main product. An example of such a product is Adobe Color CC.
Listed below are some examples of web applications that almost all of you will be familiar with:
- Google Docs
Developing a web application is a much more time-consuming task, because in addition to the ability to collect, process and store data, it is necessary to ensure a high level of security for these processes and their uninterrupted operation. And, in the case of enterprise solutions, web applications must offer scalability and integration with external services.
What to Choose for Business?
Despite the blurred borders between the two, any web application is a variation of the website, but not every website can be called a true web application.
The need to understand differences becomes relevant when you need to create a product that will represent the business on the Internet. The correct solution to the problem at hand will ultimately depend on the tasks assigned to the developers, and the conformity of the final solution with the business objectives.
If you plan to use the upcoming resource only as a tool for delivering information to the target audience – you can be content with creating a simple site. If your task is the ability to interact with users – then you need to create a fully fledged web application.
In any case, try to think about the long-term perspective. This will help you effectively meet current needs, while laying a good foundation for future growth.