Website versus Web Application – is there any difference?

Website and web application are used interchangeably, but they are actually very different. It is not just a matter of semantics. The difference does not lie in the tools or in the delivery mechanisms, but in the scope. If you are put in the situation of choosing between the two, having technical knowledge about websites and web applications can come in handy. In this article, we will discuss the main differences between the two.

Website versus Web Application: What’s the Difference?

Website: Main characteristics

The emergence of the Internet has facilitated the dispensation of information. It changed the way that people got the news and how information spreads. A website is basically a collection of Web pages, created to deliver content to the user. On the vast majority of websites, you can read the information contained on each page.

A website is created using programming languages such as JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Generally speaking, a website contains interactive elements like images, videos, and files, many of which are designed to promote products, services, and organizations. They are not static pages. Modifications can be made by adding content to the HTML.

A website will exhibit or contain these characteristics:

  • Purely informative in nature – The purpose of a website is to offer practical information to a specific user/audience who are looking forward to learning something new or understand a topic better. Blogs and news sites are good examples. Posts appear in reverse chronological order so that the most recent ones are displayed at the top of the Web page. The informational content can be time-limited or evergreen.
  • Text that is easy to read – The text is easy on the eyes and easy to scan. The most prevalent combination is black text on a white background. Color combinations are not uncommon. They are adequate, yet the contrast has to be within a specific range. The paragraphs are not long because they would be hard to read. Smaller paragraphs are more suitable for Web pages.

The point is that the visitor has little or no interaction with the software program. On a website, the only thing you can do is choose the section. But nothing more. Sites are about telling something, helping the visitor determine which action to take.

Web application: Main characteristics

A web application is a computer program that runs in an Internet browser. It is similar to any other software of mobile application, the only difference being that it is used in the browser. A web application can be viewed as a tool. It allows visitors to submit and retrieve data from a database. The data is presented like information, which is dynamically generated.

When comparing a website vs a web application, it is impossible not to notice that web applications are more responsive to visitors’ actions. The application lets users carry out tasks. An application like Facebook, for instance, helps users to connect with family and friends and share daily activities.

A web application will exhibit or contain these features:

  • Interactive experiences – The aim of a web application is to make the user take action. it provides numerous functionalities and features, which enable users to solve a problem or satisfy their desires.
  •  Real-time communication – Visitors can easily communicate with those in the field who are responsible for creating a smooth user experience. They can get in touch with the call center or send an email message. Communication can be strengthened internally and externally.

Website or Web application?

It is hard to determine if a website or a web application is best for your next project. In addition to the above-mentioned aspects, you must take into account several aspects.

Keep in mind that both websites and web applications have their advantages and drawbacks. Please continue reading to find out what makes a website so different from a web application.

1. Integration

System integration is the process of bringing together a sub-system and a system, making sure that they function together as a single unit. Basically, you are bringing together several components to create a comprehensive system.

Websites, as well as web applications, can be integrated with other software programs such as CRM.

As an organization, you will want to integrate your website with the CRM for added value. This makes it possible to provide users personalized content. When the integration points are determined, you can discuss with the website developers about your requirements.

Integration is more commonplace for web applications. These computer programs are designed so as to support integration with other products and systems. It is not difficult to get the systems to work together in an integrated way.

Integration is realized through connections to the underlying databases. It allows the automatic assembly of information. Employees can access data relating to customers, their requests, inquiries, and feedback.

2. Authentication

Authentication is the process by which a user’s identity is confirmed. This implies entering the login and password to gain access to the system. Authentication is meant to check if the user is who they claim to be.

It is a common way to handle security. When attempting to go to a website, it is highly unlikely to be required to type in your user name and password.

As mentioned earlier, websites are informative in nature and they do not necessarily require authentication. Therefore, someone can look for news or articles without having to register.

User authentication is an important component of web application development. Since a web application offers more options as compared to a website, it should not be surprising that it requires authentication.

Entering information, such as a password, is necessary to protect the user, while at the same time validate their right to access the system and information. Authentication is paramount due to security reasons.

3. Framework

A framework offers a standard way of building and deploying programs on the Internet. There are several frameworks out there, comprising the components that a developer needs to master for designing responsive sites and apps.

Standard frameworks are perfect for site builders, yet those who develop web applications need something more than basic frameworks. To build powerful web applications, it is necessary to have software frameworks that are designed to support specific needs.

To sum up, there are plenty of reasons for both websites and web applications. When making a decision, consider all the facts. Once you perfectly understand the difference, you will be able to make the right decision.

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