Web Apps vs Cloud Apps: A comparison of features and usage

Jul 14,2020 by Anushka Agarwal
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Used interchangeably, web apps and cloud apps are two different applications, built using two different technologies and coding process. When talking about technicalities, web apps and cloud apps are completely different, right from the developers who code the app to its platform. 

The line between web apps and cloud apps is blurry as ever. This is because there are some noteworthy differences between both the apps, however, since all the apps run on the web, every app (including cloud apps) is a web app. Put simply, web apps can only run on the web, while cloud apps provide a richer user customization experience and seamless integration with scalable infrastructure. However, cloud apps are first web apps, which then mature further, customized for better user reception, and other additional features to become a better app version. 

Web-based apps

Web apps are designed to run on the web browser. The architecture of such apps is pretty simple, involving server-side scriptings like ASP or PHP, and client-side scriptings like HTML, JavaScript, or Adobe Flash. The client-side depends on the web server components for app functionality. 

Banking apps are an example of web-based apps. The client-side is the bank’s website that a customer can access through a web browser. The website does not store any information although the bank servers do. So, all your account information is stored with the bank servers and you can retrieve it anytime. However, these apps have a standard architecture, and cannot support different customer requirements.

The various types of web-based apps include static web apps, portal web apps, dynamic web apps, web apps with CMS, and online E-commerce apps. 

  1. Static web apps:These apps are created using HTML or CSS language, and have a fixed architecture. This means, content and animated objects like GIFs, videos, banners, etc. have a static location, and altering their layout is not an easy task. For modification, the HTML code is downloaded, changed, and then uploaded back to the server. 
  2. Dynamic web apps:Unlike static web apps, these apps are flexible in terms of content modification. These apps are coded in ASP and PHP language, which makes it easy for users to restructure and modify the content, including text, images, and videos. Such examples include Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Amazon. 
  3. Portal web apps:Very similar to the dynamic web apps, these apps allow access to several categories displayed on the home screen, like email, web browsers, chats, forums, and more. 
  4. Web apps with CMS:Such apps are loaded with content updated every day. A CMS administrator authorizes the changes and updates. Examples include WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.
  5. E-commerce or online store: The most common types of apps on the Play Store and App Store, these apps can support various payment methods due to their dynamic functionality. The e-commerce apps include online product displays, wishlist’s, shopping carts, etc. Such apps support desktop use and mobile browsing, and must be optimized for better reach. 
  6. Animated web apps: The most common types of animated apps are built using FLASH and JavaScript. Such apps are used by creative companies and freelancer video makers, to display their skills and creativity. Most of the developers use CSS animation and transitions, WebGL, or Java Script for creating animated web pages. 

Cloud-based apps

Cloud apps are a modification of web apps. These apps can be accessed online via web browsers, but are not exclusively dependent on the internet, called multi-tenant in nature. Such apps are an edge over the web apps, supported by sophisticated features like security, uptime, and easy integration with other systems. 

These apps first become web applications/apps, develop, and mature later into cloud-based apps. Cloud apps come forth with advanced features like extendible storage and on-demand computing cycle. Furthermore, since these apps are stored on the cloud, you can access them anywhere and anytime, locally and offline. 

Some amazing features of cloud apps are:

  • Highly scalability for data storage. It can also be stored on the cloud to be used later when the device is offline.
  • Cloud is very user-friendly, as it can support various customer requirements like issues with security, data backup scheduling, compression of data, internet-free access, etc. 
  • Cloud apps can be accessed from anywhere from desktops or mobile devices 
  • Examples include Dropbox, Evernote, SalesForce, Mozy, etc. 

The most commonly used cloud-based apps include SaaS, PaaS, RaaS, and IaaS.

  1. Software as a Service (SaaS):This is the most popular cloud-based app where the users use cloud software as a fully functional product, sold by the vendors. These are mainly used to target SMBs, large enterprises, and freelance service providers. The payment models are free, pay for use, subscription, and those based on user quotes. 
  2. Platform as a service (PaaS): These type of cloud services provides the infrastructure, solutions, and computing platforms to the users to build their solutions. These apps are used for development, testing, collaboration, and deployment of cloud solutions. Examples include Microsoft Azure and Google App Engine.
  3. Recovery as a Service (RaaS):These types of cloud solutions are used for recovering data, files, databases, servers, and entire data from the centers. Such apps are highly integral for business continuity, disaster recovery, archiving, and backup requirements. RaaS apps are mainly used to reduce downtime. 

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): These apps are coded to provide a complete virtualized interface, consisting of pre-configured and built-in software or hardware solutions. Clients need only understand how to use these cloud services. It varies from one infrastructure to the other. The leading examples include IBM Cloud, Amazon Workspace, and Google Cloud.

Web Apps vs Cloud apps: Know the difference –

FEATURE

CLOUD APPS

WEB APPS

Accessibility

Can be accessed from anywhere with or without internet

Can only be accessed through the internet

Type

All cloud apps are web apps first

Not all web apps are cloud apps

Stored

Data stored at multiple data centers

 

Data stored at a single data center

Browser dependency

Not dependent

Completely dependent

Scalability

Highly scalable

Limited

Tenancy

Multi-tenant

Single tenant

Flexibility

Every customer has its own instance

The application has a standard architecture for everyone.

Uptime

Very high uptime

Limited uptime

 

The future of data storage is cloud 

Although the discussion about web apps vs cloud apps cover the benefits of both the types, the future of IT and how businesses benefit from it depends on the cloud technology. With the surmounting increase in organizations adopting cloud-based technology, the world and every innovation in it, belongs to the cloud.

Although web-based technology is a dominant market leader, android app developers need to improve their caliber and start learning how to build cloud-based apps. Cloud adoption is a secure way for small businesses to store their data, however, the technology is a perfect platform for industries of all sizes and types. 

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