Friday September 26, 2003

What's a Web App?

by Jay F. Davis,

I've had several people ask me lately "what is a web app?" so I thought I'd expound a little on the subject.

A web app or web application, is simply a web site that does a useful task. I often think of web sites as a vast conglomeration of entry points into other parts of the web like the search engine Google or the portal Yahoo!

But a web application is usually much less ambitious than a web portal like Yahoo! It does one thing that's useful and does it really well. Google has, in fact, built its whole business around a single web app: the search engine. it does one thing and does it well.

Here are some other web app examples from several I've completed over the past few months:

  • Take online job applications and send the applications to appropriate store managers' e-mal addresses.
  • Status furniture manufacturing for a company that makes furniture overseas so that US office knows what's what.
  • Manage the degree program assessment process for a university.

The latter was a much bigger project than the two former projects, but it illustrates that a web app doesn't necessarily accomplish a small job. In fact, a string of web apps could do almost anything. Yahoo! is actually comprised of multiple small web apps that occupy small portions of the portal page: sports scores, weather, news. Each section is a web app.

One of the most interesting things about web apps is that they accomplish important business functions using the power of the web. I can do business with someone a continent away via a web app.

So keep your app up!


Above article Last updated: 29 September 2003 10:41:29 PM

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