November 29, 2023

Web Application Development Fundamentals

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Small and large-scale businesses continue to invest in customized web-based interfaces and mobile applications for mailing, online retail, and auction services. It becomes essential to design responsive and interactive web applications in order to find an ideal solution for users.

Today, consumers spend more time searching for information on their mobile devices, smartphones, and tablets, than on their desktops. About 89% of people recommend a brand based on their positive mobile experience with it. Mobile commerce is thriving, with worldwide sales reaching $2.2 trillion in 2023, which makes up about 60% of global eCommerce sales.

Therefore, optimizing a mobile experience is a strategic way for a company to increase user engagement through a modern organizational approach.

Mobile-friendly web application development tends to simplify navigation menus, pictures, and form elements for websites that will be rendered on all electronic devices. Web applications are divided into such types as dynamic mobile apps, e-commerce/fundraising tools, interactive web-based games, business insight dashboards, data management platforms, fully customizable websites, etc.

However, web application development specifications are forever changing. So, make sure to discover new mobile app design trends in our blog.

This article explains how to build a feasible web app that would outperform the competition. Let’s discover the fundamentals of web application development.

What is a web application?

A web application is software that users can access and interact with through their browser. Internet accessibility makes the core difference between a web and a conventional desktop application. Web applications utilize a client-server architecture, where the client (user’s browser) interacts with a server hosting the app.

Web applications vary widely in complexity and functionality. They can be straightforward and single-purpose, like a calculator or a to-do list, or they can be sophisticated and multifaceted, such as online collaboration tools or eCommerce platforms. Common examples include Google Docs, Gmail, Trello, and online banking platforms.

The essential characteristics of web applications are:

  • Accessibility. These applications are available from any device with a compatible web browser.
  • Cross-platform compatibility. Web apps are not tied to a specific operating system, which makes them platform-independent.
  • Server-based updates. Updates and changes to the application are implemented on the server, ensuring that users always deal with the latest version; hence, installing updates locally is unnecessary.
  • Interactivity. Web applications empower users to interact dynamically with the content, often providing real-time adjustments and responses.
  • Data storage. The apps typically store data on the server, enabling users to access their information from different devices.
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Fundamental web application development steps

When creating a web application, you should follow a range of essential principles and processes, and implement a set of technologies. The following list introduces the basics of web app development.

Front-end development: for visual representation

It involves creating the user interface and user experience (UI/UX). In other words, this is a system of elements that users see and interact with. Some of the primary technologies that the front end encompasses are the following:

  • HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). It’s utilized for creating the structure of online pages and applications.
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). It defines the visual representation and layout of HTML documents.
  • JavaScript. This versatile scripting language enables interactivity and dynamic web content.
  • React. A JavaScript library for constructing user interfaces. React is commonly applied to create reusable UI components.

Back-end development: for data management

One of the fundamentals of web app development, the back-end involves building the server-side logic, databases, and APIs. Thanks to the back-end, you can store users’ passwords, implement logging functions, keep your application updated, etc.

The technologies traditionally applied at this stage include

  • Server-side languages (e.g., Python, Ruby, PHP, Java)
  • Databases (e.g., MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB)
  • Server frameworks (e.g., Django, Ruby on Rails, Express.js)
  • APIs (e.g., REST, GraphQL)
  • Authentication systems (e.g., OAuth, JWT)

Client-server design: for user interactions with the system

A client-server architectural model implies the interaction between the user’s browser and the server. The server processes the incoming client’s requests and sends back the results.

The client and server communicate through protocols such as HTTP, and the client can request and receive data from the server to update the user interface dynamically.

The difference between HTTP and APIs

Basically, both are the tools that enable web interaction and data sharing.

  • HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is the foundation of any data transfer on the web. It is an application protocol for distributed, collaborative, and hypermedia information systems that transfer hypertext requests and information between browsers and servers.
  • APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) define how different software components should interact. Web APIs provide a set of rules and protocols for building and interacting with software applications, allowing them to access each other’s functionalities and data.

Content management: for sharing multimedia elements

This part refers to the process of creating, organizing, storing, and updating digital content within a web application. The content includes text, images, videos, and other multimedia elements that shape the substance of a website or a web-based system. Content management systems (CMS) can streamline these tasks, empowering users to easily create, edit, and publish content even without in-depth technical knowledge.

CMS platforms like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla are extensively used for content management in web development, delivering a delightful interface for manipulations.

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Database management: for information storage organization

Database management involves organizing, storing, retrieving, and manipulating data within a web application. It includes designing and implementing databases to store and manage information effectively. Database management systems (DBMS) facilitate interactions with the database, enabling developers to perform tasks such as creating, updating, deleting, and requesting data.

Common databases used in web development include MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and more.

Version control: for seamless working

Version control is a system that tracks and administers changes to the source code of a project. It allows developers to collaborate, maintain a history of code modifications, and revert to previous states if necessary. The typical type of version control is distributed version control systems (DVCS), with Git being a broadly used example. Version control enables multiple developers to work on the same codebase simultaneously, helps prevent conflicts, and provides a mechanism for managing code changes throughout diverse branches and releases.

Web security: for protecting data

Web app security involves implementing measures protecting from potential threats that could compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. They include data encryption, authentication and authorization, input validation, cross-site request forgery (CSRF) protection, and more.

Responsive design: for mobile friendliness

This approach to creating web applications implies making them adaptable to varying screen sizes and devices. Responsive design aims to provide a joyful browsing and interaction experience on all devices, such as desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. It also facilitates search engine optimization.

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Testing: for eliminating issues

Testing involves a systematic evaluation and verification of the application’s functionality, performance, security, and usability. Software engineers perform testing at different stages of the development lifecycle to identify and fix issues, ensuring the delivery of a top-quality and reliable web app.

Performance optimization: for improving reliability

This process deals with improving a web application’s speed, responsiveness, and overall efficiency. It aims to elevate the consumer path by reducing loading times, minimizing latency, and ensuring that the application runs well under varying conditions, such as altering network speeds and device capabilities.

The core performance optimization aspects encompass code efficiency, minification and compression, caching, image optimization, lazy loading, and more.

Consumer-centered design: for user-friendliness

To craft an appealing app, you need a user-oriented design that prioritizes the needs, preferences, and experiences of end-users. Consumer-focused web applications are intuitive, straightforward to use, and align with the target community’s aspirations. Consumer-centered design involves iterative testing and feedback loops to guarantee that the user input is considered and the final product complies with the expectations.

Continuous integration and deployment: for enhancing web application

Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD) are practices focusing on automating the process of integrating code changes into a shared repository, testing those changes, and deploying them to production environments seamlessly. These practices aim to enhance collaboration, reveal and counter issues early, and deliver updates promptly and dependably.

Both CI and CD contribute to the DevOps methodology, reinforcing cooperation between development and operations teams. They help reduce manual flaws, expedite the development lifecycle, and amplify the quality of web applications.

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Monitoring and analytics: for tracking key metrics

Maintaining the resilient operation of your app requires continual monitoring and analytics. The process involves the systematic tracking, gauging, and analysis of various metrics and events related to a web app’s performance, usage, and behavior.

The fundamental aspects of analysis comprise performance monitoring, user analytics, logs and event tracking, security monitoring, usage analytics, infrastructure surveillance, and more.

If you want to delve deeper into web app creation, explore the tools to develop a progressive web app.

Web app architecture

Architecture implies the structural design and organization of components within a web app. It encompasses the arrangement of code, data storage, server infrastructure, and communication protocols to ensure the application’s functionality and scalability. The architecture defines how various parts interact to deliver a seamless user path.

The fundamental components of a web architecture include:

  • Web browser. This part implies the client side or the front end of the app, which is responsible for direct user communication. This component gets the input and handles the presentation logic while handling user interactions with the app.
  • Web server: The web server is the back-end or the server-side component that manages the business logic, routes the user requests to the proper element, and controls the entire application performance.
  • Database server: The database server delivers the necessary data for the application and manages information-related jobs.

Coreteka’s approach to web app development

Once we’ve identified the fundamentals of web application development, it’s time to share our specific methods to make an app flawless. Coreteka has been delivering custom web application development services for over seven years, allowing our professionals to shape a bulletproof checklist to guarantee top-notch results. Here’s what we primarily focus on:

  • Selecting the appropriate tech stack. The basics of web application development include defining the proper tools. Our expertise and experience allow us to identify the optimal ones among the diversity of programming languages, frameworks, servers, and libraries.
  • Crafting an appealing design and UX. A fascinating design attracts users, while an exceptional UX makes them stay. We prioritize clean and aesthetic artwork, an intuitive interface, convenient navigation, and responsive design. We also ensure that the user’s path is straightforward and smooth.
  • Increasing the loading speed. Did you know that pages that load from 0 to 2 seconds have the maximum conversions? Sluggish websites ward off visitors and impede your business results. The loading dynamics are affected by the content, tech stack, code accuracy, website architecture, and other elements. In our work, we focus on app optimization to streamline its operation.
  • Maintaining scalability. You might want your app to grow together with your clientele. Therefore, we make sure it sustains the growing traffic by selecting the appropriate technology to enable scalability and flexibility.
  • Guaranteeing security. Security is one of our top priorities in the web application development process. We integrate security measures during the development process by implementing the most reliable prevention methods and tools, including data encryption, input validation, access control, and role management.
  • Maintaining code readability. As a web application development company, we recognize that concise and readable code is the backbone of the app’s success. It assists in developing and maintaining software and preventing legacy code issues.

Also, discover the modern web application development trends.

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FAQ on web application development

🔴 What are the fundamentals of web development?

Web development fundamentals include a range of components, primarily front-end development, back-end development, database management, and HTTP/HTTPS protocols. Front-end includes HTML technology for content structure, CSS for styling, and JavaScript for interactivity. On the back end, server-side languages (e.g., Node.js, Python, Ruby) handle logic and data storage. Databases (e.g., MySQL, MongoDB) store information, and HTTP/HTTPS protocols facilitate communication.

  What are the 3 types of web development?

Web development encompasses front-end development, focusing on user interface and experience; back-end development, managing server-side logic and databases; and full-stack development, combining both front-end and back-end skills.

🔴 What does web application development include?

Web application development involves designing, coding, and maintaining software applications. It includes front-end development for user interfaces utilizing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, back-end development for server-side logic and databases, and the integration of various technologies like APIs. The process also encompasses testing, debugging, and deploying applications, ensuring they run smoothly on various devices and platforms.

  How can you structure a web application?

A typical web app structure comprises three layers. The presentation layer (front end) is responsible for user interface and interaction using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The application layer (back end) manages server-side logic and business processes. The data layer handles database storage and retrieval.

Final thought

Web applications have confidently occupied their place in software services. Their convenience, efficiency, universality, and ease of maintenance continue to raise their global popularity.

If you plan to build a winning web app, you should understand the basics of web app architecture and the principles of web app development. Dealing with customized web application development every day, we know which aspects to focus on to avoid pitfalls and maximize outcomes.

Coreteka’s web application development services involve the world’s best practices, approaches, and tools. We meticulously analyze our clients’ purposes and work out optimal solutions that drive their gains.

Let our specialists help you put your web app idea into action.