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Web Application Development: A Step-by-Step Guide

Yaroslav Krutiak

Yaroslav Krutiak

Solution Architect, Back-End

11 min

Creating web applications is an innovative approach to building dynamic web pages. Web apps today tend to be more interactive, engaging, and efficient.

In the past, developing these types of applications was difficult. But with modern frameworks, creating a web app has become easier and faster.

This guide will focus on how to develop a web application step-by-step.

We use web apps every day but don’t always realize it. They are hosted on web servers and accessed through a browser, so the development process centers on creating seamless interactions within that browser experience.

We’ll cover:

  • The advantages of web apps
  • Examples of popular web apps
  • What’s not included in web app development
  • The development process

Understanding the differences between web and native apps is key to successfully developing web applications. 

Because they live in the browser, you don’t have to worry about platforms; instead, focus on optimizing the user interface.

Web apps are in high demand across industries like:

  • Education
  • eCommerce
  • Transportation
  • Media
  • Entertainment
  • Banking
  • And more! 

Let’s look at the ins and outs of building a web app to understand the most important strategic aspects.

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What is A Web Application?

Before we discuss how to build a web app, wouldn’t it be better to know what a web app is?

A web application is software developed with a specific set of technologies, and it works over the internet. It is an application you use on your mobile, tablet, desktop, or laptop without downloading anything.

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • CRUD

Types of web applications:

Type of web application  Common examples
  • Netlify
  • Siteleaf
  • Facebook
  • Spotify
  • AliExpress
  • Flipkart
Portal Web Apps
  • Santander Bank
  • USA.Gov.In
Content Management Systems
  • WordPress
  • Drupal
Progressive Web Apps
  • MakeMyTrip
  • Starbucks

PWAs also show the best performance metrics in comparison to other types of web applications. They are faster, more efficient, and provide an immersive user experience. In addition, they leverage the large ecosystem of technologies and APIs to enhance the user experience.

There is a frequent question on all the web forums about how to make the user experience smooth and flawless. It’s important to choose the right font to enhance the web app experience, for instance, Helvetica font, which is simple and attractive.

The web app development process involves using client-side and server-side programming to create a unified platform using shopping carts. The client and server-side portals communicate with each other via HTTPS requests.

In how to build a web app, you need to understand a few things:

  • Backend or server-side development

These are the systems that are meant to build and create the core infrastructure of the application. Backend development decides how the application will work.

  • Frontend or client-side development

By using the frontend technologies, we create the face of the application. In other words, we decide how it looks, feels, and engages.

  • DevOps programming

This is about hosting the web application. In how to create a web app, the hosting solutions are taken care of by a dedicated DevOps team or person.

Before you'll find out about how to create a web app learn what are they types of web apps are there

Benefits of Web Applications

Our visual experiences have been changing with time as web architecture is evolving. Therefore, keeping up with the web applications and their development technologies is imperative to create better-performing platforms.

From no downloading requirements to cost-efficiency and easy development, there are a wide array of web applications’ benefits.

  • Cross-Platform Compatibility

In how to develop a web app, you won’t have to select a platform to build the application. Web apps are compatible across different platforms relative to software.

The minimum requirement to run web-based software is a web browser. It can be anything from Safari to Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc. When it comes to choosing a browser, consider doing a quick Brave vs DuckDuckGo comparison to help you make an informed decision about which browser to use.

Along with this, web applications also work on every operating system. So, it does not matter whether the users have Windows, Android, Linux, or macOS. A web application will run on every platform and browser seamlessly.

Embedded Linux services can be leveraged to extend the functionality of web applications across various platforms and browsers, including Windows, Android, Linux, and macOS.

  • Web Applications are More Secure

One thing you will particularly like in how to create a web application is the security level. Web applications are more secure than traditional downloadable software so you may need to use server-side scripts.

This is because they over HTTPS requests, which in itself is a good security practice. Also, when the users are interacting with a web application, their data is stored on the cloud server.

  • They Work Offline

While you find out how to build a web app, make sure to understand the role and execution of cache-first service workers.

This strategy allows your application to work offline, provided the user has loaded some information.

Some Examples of Web Apps

Here are some working examples of web applications.

Knowing these examples is helpful to understand how to create a comprehensive web app.

As an entrepreneur, tools like Google Docs or Google Sheets might be known to you.

Well, these are the best examples of web applications.

Other than this, MailChimp, the global email campaign creator and management platform, is also a web application.

The list of web applications that we interact with on a daily level is long.

Below are a few other platforms;

  • Notion
  • Airtable
  • Xero
  • Salesforce
  • Canva
  • Flipsnack

All these platforms qualify as web applications.

Knowing these will certainly make understanding how to strategically develop a web application easier.

What Web App Development Isn’t

Moving forward with how to develop a web application, we must differentiate between web and other forms of applications. Also, there is a fundamental difference between a website and a web application.

  • Web App vs. Website Development

To build a web application, you need to know how it differs from a website. Web application development is creating a platform for interaction purposes.

Website development focuses on creating a user-friendly and accessible read-only interface for the users.

With web app development, the programmers have to work on a wider scope of possibilities. This includes authentication, user interaction, and understanding the web application architecture.

  • Web App vs. Hybrid vs. Native Application Development

For how to create a web application, you need to use programming technologies like JavaScript, CSS, and HTML5. The developers can also use web app development frameworks to develop applications.

In comparison, Native and Hybrid application development requires using an integrated development environment (IDE). Different types of platforms have separate IDEs.

With native application development, iOS and Android applications require different technologies.

  • iOS Application: These apps are built with Objective-C or Swift. Along with this, the IDE required here is Xcode.
  • Android Application: Android native applications are built with Java and Android Studio as its IDE.
Interested to find out how to build a web app? The first thing to understand is that web app isn't a website

How to Create a Web Application

Step 1. Come Up with and Validate an Idea

Just like any new digital solution, the process of how to create a web app starts with an idea—an idea about the kind of application you want to build.

The right idea will certainly streamline how to efficiently build a web app process. But generating an idea may be the toughest part for some.

There is heavy competition in every industry, which makes finding a unique idea difficult.

To find a new idea, you can try a lot of things, including;

  • Identify a specific solution for a problem.
  • Check application stores and crawl them via different keywords.
  • Observe the people and the world around you.
  • Think about what you can do about the problems they are facing.
  • If possible, attend meetings, events, and hackathons.
  • Check the investor websites to find out what they are funding.
  • Watch startup idea shows like Shark Tank, Dragon’s Den, etc.

Once you have an idea, the real journey begins then and there.

After zeroing in on a few ideas, validate them. Validation will help you find out which idea will actually work. For validation, start getting the audience’s perspective.

You can leverage social media, your network, and forums for this. Platforms like Twitter, Reddit, will work well for this task.

Next, in how to develop a web application, find out if you can monetize your application. If yes, then decide the ways to earn money from it?

Do not always rely on advertisements as a strong money generation method. They only work when you have a large user base. Once the idea is final, start designing it.

There is a step-by-step view on how to create a web app from business perspective

Step 2. Design the App

Designing the interface is the second part of how to create a web app.

You must start by sketching the design. If you want to go old school, take a pen and paper to draw and sketch the interface.

WordPress Web Design

Unlock the power of WordPress with our experts.

Another way is to use the Sketch designing software for the same. Keep in mind that to run resource-consuming IDE, you will need to use a powerful laptop for web design with a bare minimum of 8 GB of RAM. However, to use Sketch, it will suffice to have 4 GB of RAM and a 1 GHz processor. Other options than Sketch include:

  • Balsamiq
  • Mockitt

While sketching the interface, take care of;

  • Moving from one screen to other
  • Elements of branding
  • Buttons, scrolls, transition windows
  • Forms
  • Social media icons
  • Other similar components

Moving ahead in how to easily develop a web application, create mockups and prototypes. Mockups and prototypes include all the visual elements.

Things like color, transitions, graphics, images, shapes, effects, etc., are added here. The goal is to create a working solution of your application without any coding.

Within these working interfaces, you must include the following processes;

  • Signing up by a user
  • Login sequence
  • Finding an item
  • Placing an order (if applicable)
  • Downloading stuff
  • Navigating through the application
  • Access the user profile and change settings
  • Making the payments
  • Logging out
  • Canceling subscriptions
UX/UI design part is another crucial point of how to build a web app

Step 3. Start Building

Here comes the development part in how to build a web app. For this, divide the how to develop a web application process into three parts;

  • Identifying the Tech Stack
  • Work on Front-end Operations
  • Work on the Back-end Operations

Choosing the Tech Stack

Succeeding in how to build a web app depends on your tech stack.

The right choice will lead to a successful product. Choosing an inappropriate tech stack will mount up the complexities. Depending on your cyber awareness and knowledge, you have three options;

Method When to This
Hire a Company Hire a development partner to build your product, and they are responsible for everything.

This option is best for those unknown about the tech part of how to quickly build a web-based app.

By choosing a proven company, you only have to pay for the services and receive a finished product.

However, pay attention to the development process followed by your potential tech partner. Different companies follow varied development processes.

Ensure to enquire into their process and then move forward with the hiring part.

Use No-Code Tools This option is relevant if you are technically mature.

No-Code tools like Bubble, NoCode or Appy Pie AppMakr are great options to create your web app your way.

Using these tools does not imply that you don’t have to follow the other steps in how to create a business web app.

No-code tools help you create;

  • Prototypes
  • Launch the application
  • Make changes
  • Scale, when required

These platforms consolidate the entire application development environment in a single box.

Do What We Do At SpdLoad, we work with a potent development exercise.

When it comes to how to develop a business web application, we follow agile development practices.

These development practices redefine the entire structure of developing an app.

The process we follow for how to develop a web application is given below.

Frontend Development

Let’s try to understand how we create a web app with a case study.

We got a project to build a web application, NoticeSound. The idea was to create an app to predict the success of a song with the help of Artificial Intelligence and user interaction.

For how to build the front-end part of this web app, we need the right tools. For front-end development, we had the choice of;

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • Ajax

In addition to this, there are web app development frameworks you can use as well.

These are;

  • React JS
  • Vue JS

The front-end application development frameworks have pre-coded modules and components. You can extract them and add them to the app.

These pre-coded modules are meant to save the time and cost of development. For NoticeSound, we worked with React JS and Laravel to build the front-end systems.

Backend Development

Back-end or server-side development in how to develop a web application is another pivotal stage.

The back-end operations decide how the app will work. Therefore, the programming languages meant for building the back-end components are required to build interactive components.

The languages that you can use in how to create the back-end operations of a web app include;

  • PHP
  • Python
  • Java
  • C#

In how to develop a business-oriented web application, you might also have to choose between;

  • Multi-page app
  • Single-page app

Similar to the front-end development frameworks, back-end development frameworks also exist.

The back-end development frameworks in how to create a web app include;

  • Laravel
  • Flask
  • Ruby on Rails

We can easily choose the right set of technologies after understanding the scope of the app.

Along with this, you need to look at the size and scale of the app before choosing the right technology.

To get the development process of web application off the ground you need to define tech stack to use

Moving forward in how to develop a web application, we are left with testing.

Step 4. Test the App

In how to develop a website-based application, testing is as much a part of the entire exercise as is designing and coding.

Just like every application, a web app must pass the six stages of testing.

Type of Test Importance
Functionality In this, you need to check;

  • Connectivity
  • Database connections
  • Links between the webpages
  • User information collection
  • Test the overall user experience

Mostly, this type of testing requires onboarding internal and external participants for an honest review.

Interface Here you check the interaction between the app server and web server.

Every aspect that communicates with the users needs testing.

Compatibility Testing the web app against different browsers and devices.
Performance Check the app performance under a heavy load.

Also, test the same with different internet speeds.

Security Test the app to find its weak points and vulnerabilities.

Once the testing is complete, the last step in how to create a web app is hosting and deploying.

Best Practices of Web Application Development

When developing web applications, each development agency has its own procedures and workflow. Here are some of the best web app development practices we follow to make sure your app is ready to hit the market and outshine your competitors.

  1. Ensuring responsive design

We make sure your web application looks good and functions well on different devices (like smartphones, tablets, and desktops). To achieve responsiveness, we use CSS frameworks like Bootstrap or media queries in CSS.

2. Optimizing performance

Focus on speed. We reduce file sizes (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) and use techniques like image compression and lazy loading to improve loading times.

3. Security measures

To protect your app from attacks, we validate user inputs, use secure authentication methods, and enable HTTPS for encrypted data transmission.

4. Scalability and maintainability

We design your app to grow smoothly. To ensure scalability, we use modular code and follow design patterns like MVC (Model-View-Controller) to organize your code for easy maintenance and future updates.

By following these practices, we can build a reliable, fast, and secure web application that’s easy to manage and expand over time.

Ready to validate your vision?

Get a strategic MVP to mitigate risks.

Ready to Develop Your Own Web App?

Building a web app takes planning, design, and careful development. Following this step-by-step guide, you can make a quality web app that works for your business and users.

Our app developers at SpdLoad can help with your project. We have delivered many dozens of web apps and stay up-to-date on the newest tech.

Contact us today to turn your app vision into reality.

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Have a question? Look here

What are the key technologies involved in web application development?
Web application development involves a variety of technologies. Some key components include: Front-end Technologies - HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and popular frameworks like React, Angular, or Vue.js. Back-end Technologies: Server-side languages such as Node.js (JavaScript), Python (Django, Flask), Ruby (Ruby on Rails), Java (Spring Boot), or PHP (Laravel). Databases: SQL databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, or NoSQL databases like MongoDB. Web Servers: Apache, Nginx, or services like AWS Lambda for serverless applications.
What are the typical stages of web application development?
The stages of web application development typically include: requirement analysis: gathering and defining project requirements. Design: the creation of wireframes, designing user interfaces, and planning architecture. Development: writing code for front-end and back-end and integrating with databases. Testing: conducting unit, integration, and system testing to ensure functionality and performance. Deployment: launching the application on servers or cloud platforms. Maintenance: monitoring, updating, and enhancing the application based on user feedback and changing requirements. You can rely on SpdLoad throughout each step of web application development.
How can you ensure security when developing web applications?
Security is crucial in web application development. At SpdLoad, we adhere to security best practices throughout the development lifecycle to build web applications that are both user-friendly and safe to use.

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