Difference between Web App and Mobile App

Difference between Web App and Mobile App

Many people think that mobile and web app both are same, but they are totally different things. They are developed and deployed differently also, one should not get confused between them.

One important thing that should be kept in mind is that web apps and websites are two different things. Web apps are designed for websites, that can be viewed on smartphones. Some websites are updated and static while some are very interactive and responsive. Web apps functions like apps that can be downloaded.

Here are some differences between web apps and mobile apps.

Some websites are built for some specific platform, for instance, iOS for Apple or iPhone and android for Samsung. One can download and then install them from Appstore, and they require access to system resources as GPS and camera etc. Some popular mobile apps are Instagram, Facebook, messenger, snapchat and so on.

Web apps can be accessed by internet browser and will alter to the type of device you are using. They don’t need to be installed or downloaded as they are not native to some system. They work and look like mobile apps due to their responsive nature, that is why confusion arises between them and mobile apps.

For example, if you will install Yelp native app and the Yelp.com web app, you will see a great difference as web app is made to look like mobile app. The browser bar turns red and when you will scroll down the search bar is locked. Although they follow same color pattern and design, but they are totally different things.

To run web apps, internet is required but on the other hand some mobile apps can be used without having access to internet. Mobile apps have a benefit of being faster and more efficient, but they must be updated manually unlike web apps which updates automatically.

  • How Mobile apps are built:

It is expensive to built mobile apps, as they are platform specific and launch an app across different platforms. They are more faster, efficient and advanced features and functions. Mobile apps are developed by using specific languages and Integral Development Environment (IDE). The iOS operating system is made to run on Apple devices, that is why Apple apps are built by using either Objective C or Swift and XCode IDE.  Samsung uses Android operating system, which is written in Java and built by Android studio or Eclipse IDE.

Developers can use development tools, Software Developments Kits (SDK) provided by Google and Apple, to build mobile apps.

  • How Web apps are built:

Web apps are built by using JavaScript, CSS, HTML 5. No software development kit is available for web apps. Access to templates is also not allowed to developers. They are easy to build, and have very simple features.

Progressive Web apps:

It is quite interesting that web apps lack some functions that are available mobile apps, progressive web apps lie in between these two.

Progressive web apps can work without having access to internet and load quickly, as compared to standard web apps. By using Application Cache feature, large amount of data can be stored offline. Some typical mobile apps functions as push notifications, audio capture and native video playback can be used without having access to internet in progressive web apps.

Progressive web apps like standard web apps do not require installation and downloading. Alex Russell invented the term PWAs and defined as “responsive, re-engageable, app like, fresh, discoverable, safe, connectivity independent, linkable web experience.

Pros and Cons:

Mobile Apps:

  • Pros:
  • Can work offline.
  • Safe and secure.
  • Faster and effective than web apps.
  • Having access to system resources, they offer greater functionality.
  • Easy to build as developer tools, SDKs and interface elements are available.
  • Cons:
  • Building process is expensive than web apps.
  • Approval from the app store is difficult.
  • The app should be built from scratch for compatibility with different platforms (Android and iOS).

Web apps:

  • Pros:
  • Web apps function in browser, they don’t need to be downloaded or installed.
  • Common code base that is easy to maintain.
  • Auto update feature is present in them.
  • They are built easily and quickly than mobile apps.
  • App store approval is not needed, can be directly launched.
  • Cons:
  • Cannot work without having access to internet.
  • They are not listed in specific database as App store, so they are not discoverable as mobile apps.
  • Have less advanced features and slower than mobile apps.
  • Quality and security are not guaranteed as it does not require an App store’s approval.

These were some differences between mobile apps and web apps and these points will be helpful in comparing both.

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