What is a web app and why do I need one?

Most of us use web apps every single day without really thinking about it; and most of us don't realise how easy it is to replace difficult and outdated work processes with a custom-built, easy to use application.

As a logical extension of our web development services, we also build web applications. But while most folk have got a handle on mobile apps, mention web apps and you get blank faces.  But whether you realise it or not, web apps are everywhere. We all use them every day to make our lives easier – and they can make doing business easier too.

So what is a web application?

When you look at the official definition, it’s no wonder people are glazing over: “a web application is a client-server software application which the client runs in a web browser”. Yawn. So let’s try that again:

“Most of the things you use online to make your life easier are web applications”

So many things we do these days are assisted by web apps. Going on holiday? You’ll probably use a price comparison site to review flights, hotels etc. – that’s a web application. Then you’ll use another one to buy your travel insurance, and another to book your airport parking. Travel money? Well, you’ll probably use a currency converter online to check the exchange rate and see how much you might get – another web app.

But it’s not just about leisure time. Critically, businesses reap the benefits of all kinds of web application software every day. Just about any service you use at work that you log into via a browser qualifies. For example, at Freshleaf we couldn’t function without the project management application Trello. You may use Basecamp, or any one of a million other PM apps. From Google Drive, to CRM platforms like SugarCRM & Zoho, to file sharing apps like Dropbox, we use these tools all the time without really thinking.

The bespoke difference

Sometimes, though, there isn’t a platform which is right for your needs. A lot of businesses ‘make do’ with software that isn’t quite fit for purpose but can be made to work with enough effort (more on the hidden costs of that another day). And sometimes, there just isn’t anything that’s close. You need some particular functionality you can’t find anywhere. You need real customisation to fit your needs. Or you need to integrate with other (possibly legacy) systems – that is to say you need to interface between this application and something else you’re already using, be it your CRM, or your web publishing platform, or whatever.

Whether you’re struggling with existing platforms that wind you up and waste everyone’s time with a bunch of workarounds, or whether you’re still using spreadsheets because you can’t imagine a system that would do exactly what you need – there is a better way! Bespoke web applications are easy to use, secure, available anywhere, support collaboration and generally make life easier, saving time and money in the process.

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