What Distinguishes Web and Mobile Apps: Key Differences

What Distinguishes Web and Mobile Apps Key Differences

A web app is software that operates in a browser like a traditional site. A mobile app is one that is uploaded from AppStore or GooglePlay. Very simple, right? If a user has a separate icon on the smartphone or tablet, this is probably a mobile program, which, by the way, can work partially or completely without a network connection. If you have to launch Chrome, Safari, or another browser to use the corresponding features – it’s a web application.

Key Features of Web Applications

Three basic features which distinguish a PWA and a site:


Changing something on a normal site is as simple as updating the HTML code of the pages. The web app requires full review and deployment of new software. The software development firm Yellow Systems can easily cope with this task.

Advanced authentication

Users of web apps can not only view but also create/upload/modify content.

Complex functions

“Simple” functions are those that are available in various CMS, on the basis of which you can create a site. Conventionally, this is all that we see in standard online stores – sort goods, send them to the basket, and pay. For any non-standard business logic, starting from the ability to keep a blog or book a hotel, a web application is created.

Examples of Web Apps

Where can we see examples of all this? Everywhere! Web programs usually include the following examples:

  1. Online editors. The most visible and well-known example is Google Docs and Sheets, as well as Word and Excel 360, which can be used online in a browser. This also includes web programs for working with graphics, from Photoshop and Canva to all kinds of simple services for applying filters to photos.
  2. Social networks and messengers. FB and its Messenger, Instagram,  Telegram, Skype, Twitter, Zoom, and web versions of similar programs are web apps.
  3. E-commerce. All marketplaces such as Amazon, and large trading platforms, are also browser apps.
  4. Banks, exchanges, and auctions. Websites of all financial institutions, from eBay to MFIs, can also belong to this category.
  5. Everything else. Courier services, flight and accommodation reservations, crowdfunding platforms, etc. The list can be continued for a very long time, the main point is that the project is complex, non-standard, and involves authorization.

Key Features of Mobile Apps

With smartphone apps, everything is much easier. By functionality, they are similar to computer programs, only for phones and tablets. There are many technologies that may be applied to create mobile apps, but mostly they fall into two major categories:

  1. Native: these are programs written in the native languages ​​of the mob platform — Java and Kotlin for Android, and Swift and objective-C for iOS. It easily accesses the technical part of your smartphones, such as the microphone and camera.
  2. Hybrid: these are universal programs, not bound to the platform, and developed using both native and web technologies. They allow owners to save money and not pay for the development of two versions for iOS and Android, but at the same time, they are not suitable for very complex projects and provide a not-so-good UI.

Although the development cycle of web applications and mobile apps is very similar, and the final projects may look almost identical, the programs are created by completely different programmers who use different scripting languages. All other specialists involved in the development, from designers to technical support and even marketers, will also solve their tasks in other ways than for a web application.

What Distinguishes Web and Mobile Apps Key Differences

What to Select – Mobile or Web App?

A web app is no better than a mobile one and vice versa. These are simply different solutions for different purposes and, most importantly, very often large projects need both. In order to understand exactly what your project requires, you can proceed to analytics. As with any other business decision, you should first focus on the needs of potential users. And these needs differ seriously depending on the areas of business and characteristics of the target audience.

A mob application is much more difficult to develop than its web version. Developing a complex web app is also a slow and difficult process, but on average, the release of a web app will require less time and investment. If you need access to the technical components of the smartphone, such as the camera, NFC, FaceID, etc., you definitely need a native app.

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