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What is an application?

Application - a term, which is commonly found, predominantly associated with applications which are installed on our mobile devices (smartphones, tablets). In practice everyday we use even a few types of applications. For example they are internet browsers, games, office software or platforms for playing music. Application is a general term itself, as we can differentiate applications such as mobile, internet, native, hybrid. We can build MVP applications, webview applications or progressive web applications. Below we will briefly describe listed types of apps and their characteristic features, to show differences between them.

Mobile application

The mobile application is a software designed for devices like tablets and smartphones. In most cases the first association with these kinds of apps are probably games, which provide a daily dose of fun and relaxation. A mobile app may also present tools intended for banking, social media or medical software. It is impossible to present all of the examples of mobile applications - imagination and ideas related to the implementation, are unlimited and uncountable. In order to use a mobile application, we have to download it on our device from Google Play, AppStore or AppGallery. It is also worth mentioning the most important types of mobile applications. They are native mobile applications, hybrid mobile applications, MVP applications and webview applications.

It is also worth mentioning the most important available types of mobile apps. Besides from the standard web application, there are:

1. Native applications

A web app is a service which is working in a web browser. To run it, you need access to the Internet. It can be concluded that it's a communication between visible app interface and server, which allows users to execute more or less complicated functionalities.

2. Hybrid applications

The hybrid apps are a combination of the two mentioned above platforms. They are created regardless of system - apps can run either on Android and iOS systems. A choice of this software is not only time-saving, but also resource-saving. In case of mobile software the most often we use React Native technology, which is regularly developed by Facebook Inc. (this company has highly successful projects, like Facebook App, Instagram and WhatsApp). We also use Xamarin technology. Both technologies are relatively new tools, which allow the implementation of hybrid mobile apps - compatible with Android and iOS systems. Since it is estimated that the code may be shared in 70%, the cost of the project is significantly smaller. On the other hand, 30% is a native code (which is created individually for operating systems).The major programming languages that we use in case of mobile software, are Java, JavaScript, Python, Kotlin and Swift.

3. MVP applications

MVP application (minimum viable product) is a mobile application that has a minimum of its key functionalities. Making MVP application is a good way for checking if our idea for an application is welcomed by users and if it is worth to invest in adding further functionalities to the application.

4. Webview application

Webview application is generally speaking web design placed in a mobile application. Such applications have to be downloaded from Google Play, AppStore or AppGallery. When we open a webview application we will actually open a website, without using a web browser. Such websites are adjusted to mobile devices and may have additional functionalities.

Web application

A web app is a service which is working in a web browser. To run it, you need access to the Internet. It can be concluded that it's a communication between visible app interface and server, which allows users to execute more or less complicated functionalities. Depending on needs, a web application may be designed for using it offline, (without the connection with the Internet), working online or it may be adjusted for mobile devices. Web applications can be built with various programming languages and their choice depends predominantly on the goal of the web application.

A lot of customers ask themselves how they can differentiate a website from a web app. At the first glance, a difference isn't noted, but some functions allow its verification. If a website is only informative, based only on technologies like HTML and CSS and doesn't have additional functionalities - it isn't an app. In turn, if it has, for example, numbers or documents generators or complex functions like login and register - it is certainly an application.

1. A PWA application

The PWA (Progressive Web Application) is a web application that is adjusted for mobile devices (smartphones, tablets), but opened as every other website, without the necessity of downloading the application. The PWA thanks to its structure and functionalities may resemble a mobile application. For example we can download its icon and add it to our laptop’s or smartphone’s screen or use some of its functions offline. This is why we call it progressive application - we decide to which level we want to break it near to native mobile applications (regarding technical restrictions).

Having analysed the examples and statements mentioned above, we may undoubtedly state that applications are an integral part of our lives. Thanks to familiarising with detailed definitions you become aware which type of applications will meet your expectations.