DEV Community

Discussion on: Website or web app? What is the difference between the two?

genejams profile image
{Gene} Author

OK, I see few replies and it seems there's a lack of interest in this topic. =) Anyway here it is how I see the concept of web app is evolving.

Like a desktop/mobile applications that start from an executable binary/package that contains all compiled code, resources and assets, also a web app will be able to start from an initial package (or call it bundle).

There are already bunch of sites that do so, but this is not the only requirement.

In fact, a mobile/desktop app usually download raw data from the network, but does never download part or the whole interface because the UI is already provided either by the initial package or by the hosting system (unless we're talking about games).

So a web app, to be really close to the concept of "app", should not download part of the user interface (server-side rendering) when it could just fetch the raw data and then render it client-side.

Server-side rendering is used today to overcome the poor performing DOM when it comes to add or update elements dynamically, especially if this cause frequent layout re-flow.

But I guess that soon mobile browsers will get so blazing faaast that there won't be much difference with native apps for the human eye, so having a bundle compiled with all the JavaScript code, CSS and templates and client-side rendering, it will not be a problem but rather an advantage.

So everything else, not matching this design approach, is still a website or a web application intended in the traditional way of back-end website (like Scott said in his comment below).

Even regarding the emerging technology called "Progressive Web Apps" someone said that PWA are:

Just websites that took all the right vitamins

Which is good anyway, just different.