What is a Web Application?

Definition

A web application is a computer program that utilizes web browsers and web technology to perform tasks over the Internet.

Overview

Millions of businesses use the Internet as a cost-effective communications channel. It lets them exchange information with their target market and make fast, secure transactions. However, effective engagement is only possible when the business is able to capture and store all the necessary data, and have a means of processing this information and presenting the results to the user.

Web applications use a combination of server-side scripts (PHP and ASP) to handle the storage and retrieval of the information, and client-side scripts (JavaScript and HTML) to present information to users. This allows users to interact with the company using online forms, content management systems, shopping carts and more. In addition, the applications allow employees to create documents, share information, collaborate on projects, and work on common documents regardless of location or device.

How a web application works

Web applications are usually coded in browser-supported language such as JavaScript and HTML as these languages rely on the browser to render the program executable. Some of the applications are dynamic, requiring server-side processing. Others are completely static with no processing required at the server.

The web application requires a web server to manage requests from the client, an application server to perform the tasks requested, and, sometimes, a database to store the information. Application server technology ranges from ASP.NET, ASP and ColdFusion, to PHP and JSP.

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