What is a Web App?
Previously, we talked about how desktop applications allow you to perform tasks on your computer. However, there are also web applications (or web apps), which run in the cloud and do not need to be installed on your computer. These are sometimes called cloud apps.
Examples of Web Apps
Here are a few examples of web apps:
- Online Email Services: Services like Gmail and Yahoo! Mail run within your browser and can do many of the same things that email programs like Microsoft Outlook can do. After you sign up for an online email service, you can begin using it immediately - no installation is required. Instead of being stored on your computer, your emails are stored in the cloud.
- Google Docs: Google Docs is an office suite that runs within your browser. Much like Microsoft Office, you can use it to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more. Your documents are stored in the cloud, which makes it easy to share your documents with other people.
- Facebook: Facebook lets you create an online profile and interact with your friends. Profiles and conversations are constantly evolving, so Facebook uses web app technologies throughout the site to keep the information up-to-date. There are also games and other web apps that you can add to your Facebook profile.
Web apps are becoming more and more integrated with websites, and it may be hard to distinguish between a web application and a "regular" website. In many cases, you may be using a web application without even knowing it!