What Is a Web App and How Does It Differ from a Website?

July 16, 2018 , In: Business, Tech , With: No Comments

A company website is often the first impression given to a prospective customer. A company has just seven seconds to keep their prospect’s interest and prevent them from moving on to a competitor’s site. So, how can that company make this prospect want to continue browsing? Engaging content is certainly a factor. The technology designed to support the experience, however, needs to be of the appropriate variety. Often, it’s an app rather than a website that’s more suitable for a company’s marketplace. But what’s the difference between a website and an app?

How does an app differ from a website?

The key difference is the level of interaction that occurs. While a level of interaction takes place on some websites, they’re largely static and used primarily to display content. The purpose of an app, however, is to provide the users with an interactive platform, as opposed to a series of standstill pages. The dynamic content provided by a web app is based on collected and user-specific data.

While most companies choose to develop either a website or an app, many brands decide on both. The most visited websites will almost certainly have developed an app for its users. You likely use a number of them without even knowing they’re apps. You may have visited a website on your phone and it prompts you to install their app, and so you do. Then, the next time you’re messaging your friends on Facebook, you’re doing so via the app. It’s the same for other online brands, such as Netflix and Amazon. But what about a company considering developing one? They’re providing more options for their marketplace to engage with them and ultimately be exposed to the company’s products and services. This doesn’t mean that it’s all plain sailing, however.

Like websites, they have flaws

When it comes to developing an app, there are a number of considerations to take into account; not least, security. In the world we live in, access breaches and security threats are not uncommon.

Cross-site scripting is one such concern where an attacker tricks the user of an app into executing code from a different website. They can achieve this in numerous ways. An email, pop-up, or message could direct the target to execute the code. Once the bad script has loaded, it can be used to access or retrieve content from cookies. This data can then install malware, send spam, or change the app’s contents and development code. One way to improve security is by installing a web application firewall capable of filtering out malicious visitors and requests such as XSS attacks and SQL injections.

We’ve seen a massive rise in demand for web apps over the past 10 years. Many companies have explored their option of making a transition from a website to an app in a bid to discover how their users interact with their content and products. The best strategy for a company will always come down to how well the company knows their customers and whether their products or service can be better served in this way.