The Most Comprehensive Guide to Web Application Development

Mobile App Development | 25-11-2022 | Paul Fisher

guide to web application development

Web applications are a massive step up from the static websites of the past. Users can use them across devices without the need for an installation, while they still feel native to look and feel. If your project also requires web application development, this is our all-in-one guide to help you understand all the nitty-gritty of it.

What Is A Web Application?

A web application is a program that will utilize the browser to perform specific functions. It consists of two major parts namely server-side and client-side.

The server side is for storing and retrieving the data. The client side is there to present the data that was retrieved through the server side.

Over conventional websites, web applications offer many customizations. The server-side and client-side are manually independent which makes the UI even more fluid, and one can also make changes to the UI without disruptions.

Types Of Web Applications

Some of the basic characteristics set these web applications apart from each other. Here are the types of web applications.

  • Progressive Web Apps(PWAs): uses social workers, manifests, and other features with progressive enhancement, to create apps that look like native apps.
  • Single Page Applications(SPAs): apps only load a single web doc and the body content is updated via JavaScript APIs when there is an update in the content.
  • Multi-Page Applications(MPAs): the pages will reload entirely every time the data is changed, an application containing a large number of pages.
  • Static Web Applications: shows content that is not interactive. They are developed using AJAX, CSS, HTML, and jQuery. You can make it aesthetic by using GIFs, videos, images, and animated elements.
  • Dynamic Web Applications: opposite to static web, these web apps have a complex structure. They use a database for loading data and the contents get updated every time the app is accessed.
  • eCommerce Web Apps: these are extensions of multi-page applications, where the structure has several of its pages interlinked. They support online payment, carts, delivery tracking, and more.
  • CMS Web Apps: They are made to curate, modify, and manage website content. For example, WordPress. It offers plugins and themes to create websites without expert-level knowledge of coding.

Let’s have a look at some examples of these web applications.

Examples Of Web Applications

Here are some of the popular web applications that you may have used or heard of:

  • Netflix: This popular streaming platform has a web application with functionalities such as autoplay, multiple language support, show ratings, and much more.
  • Evernote: This simple-looking note-taking software has functions like file sharing, real-time sync, and adding multiple topics to the notes.
  • Google Docs: The web-based text editor was Writerly before it was acquired by Google. It offers text editing with real-time collaboration and file sharing.

Now that you know what web applications are, let’s move into the web application development part. Here’s how it works.

Steps To Create Web Applications

These are the foolproof steps for the process of web application development.

1) Define Problem

A web application will be defined by the problem it will solve. It depends on the type of market, user needs, pain points, and more. You can begin your research with surveys, analytics, and even Big Data.

When the problem is defined, it will be crystal clear what your web application will be solving. After that, you will create a wireframe for developing a web application.

2) Build Wireframe

A wireframe will be the base on which you will build your code. It will also help you manage your tools, frameworks, resources, and testing technologies. It will lay down the development approach and the process to be followed.

An agile approach will mean an incremental and iterative methodology where you will create iterations with constant feedback. It will help you integrate and deploy those feedback simultaneously.

3) Architecture

The next step is to determine the architecture of your system. The layers of architecture are as follows:

  • The presentation layer is the communication between the browser and your UI.
  • The business layer will handle the browser request processing and execute the business logic.
  • The data access layer, connected to the business layer, will exchange the data between servers.
  • The data service layer is there to provide security by isolating business logic from the client-side and management side of the data.

With web applications, each of these layers works independently without bearing the burden of the others' functionality and execution. This allows for better performance and scalability in web applications.

4) Design & Development

The wireframe will lead you to design your interface, where you can understand more about the touchpoints that your users will interact with in your UI. Here, you can visualize and improve them.

Menu, sidebars, CTAs, buttons, etc. all will depend on your product/service and your target audience. The web applications must be responsive to adjust to different screen sizes. Once you are done with your wireframe, architecture, and design basics, it's time to start developing.

The development of the web application includes building the architecture and source code, and the integration of your business logic in there. With agile development, you can segregate the activities in the units independently. The units will have specific tasks completed by the end of the sprint.

5) Testing and Deployment

With the agile approach, you will be testing at the end of each sprint. This will help you clear the clutter before the final deployment and make the changes easier to implement. The quality is assured with that.

Post-deployment, the job will be to monitor the performance KPIs, measure, and better your application with the help of the data you gather.

Now you know the process to go through web application development. But what are the best tools to use? We’ve got you covered.

Top Web Application Development Frameworks

1) Ruby on Rails(RoR)

An open-source server-side framework based on the programming language Ruby. It has an MVC (Model-View-Controller) architecture. The framework combines Javascript, HTML, and CSS for developing interactive web applications.

Benefits of Ruby on Rails for Web App Development

  • It has a "Do Not Repeat Yourself" approach where every code snippet would be different, user-data interaction views, and model-view communication controls.
  • Scaffolding with ROR allows models, views, and controllers for data management, user-data interaction facilitations, and model-view communications respectively.
  • RoR also assumes the data access logic as part of an object and thus educates backend admins to read and write on the servers.
  • The pre-built security features such as sanitize(), SQL character filter, SQL injection, cross-site request forgery, etc make RoR a preferable option.

2) PHP

PHP is an HTML-embedded scripting language that combines a common gateway interface with an HTML document for developing dynamic web applications.

Benefits of PHP for Web App Development

  • A PHP web development company will give you access to pre-written scripts to save you time, and you won't have to write codes from scratch.
  • PHP offers cross-platform support for macOS, UNIX, Linux, and Windows. It also supports all major web servers like IIS, Netscape, Microsoft, Apache, and more.
  • PHP has a data abstraction layer that uses the same functions as any database to manage database flexibility.
    The MVC architecture makes it easy to maintain code, where you can view the part without affecting the model part.

3) Node.js

This one is a Javascript-based runtime environment with server-side capabilities. For high performance and stability, this can be a perfect choice with its async programming.

Benefits of Node.js for Web App Development

  • There are no restrictions on writing the code from scratch and no default structure that must be followed.
  • The non-blocking I/O allows the processing of multiple user requests at a time to improve performance and scalability.
  • With Node.js, you can write backend applications in Javascript to enhance the deployment and reduce the learning curve.
  • The caching of single modules in application memory also improves the response time of the Node.js web applications.

4) Angular

Angular is a front-end framework based on typescript. There are a number of tools and libraries that come along with Angular that make web app development easy. It was released by Google in 2016.

Benefits of Angular for Web App Development

  • Since it's typescript-based, there are many advantages of Angular, such as reduced code errors, autocomplete, refactoring, and navigation.
  • Elements like Injectors, Components, Directives, and pipes help you build high-performance web applications.
  • The integration of third-party services like social media sharing and payment gateways is easy with Angular apps.
  • There are many customizations on offer to style your apps dynamically and improve their accessibility.

5) React

A front-end Javascript library that helps you build interactive UIs. React has reusable components for faster development.

Benefits of React for Web App Development

  • There are no reloads in React. The web applications don't need to refresh the page to update the data displayed.
  • The code readability is exceptional with the elimination of dead codes and high loading speeds.
  • It offers reusable components to increase development speeds.
  • React enjoys large community support to help you out whenever you are stuck working with the technology.


Web applications make use of browsers to perform certain functionalities, without having to install an application on the device. This means they can be used across devices by a single user with a seamless experience. There are many types of web applications, and choosing the right type will depend on the project you are working on.

Web application development requires the steps like defining the problem, building the wireframe and architecture, developing the source code, testing, and deploying it. Some of the popular frameworks used in developing web applications are Ruby on Rails, PHP, Node.js, Angular, and React.

Each of them comes with its own set of benefits, and choosing the right one will depend highly on the project requirements and the type of web application you want to build.

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Paul Fisher

This post is published by Paul Fisher.