How to Develop a Web Application [A Detailed Guide]

Published On: July 6, 2022
Last Updated: July 21, 2022
Develop a Web Application

Web app development has evolved over the last few years. Earlier, websites consisted of static pages with rich images and videos.

In 2005, Steve Jobs introduced the concept of web applications. After that, Ajax made it possible for developers to create attractive, interactive, and robust web applications.

Fast forward to now, web application development has reached the next stage. Web applications have become so common that they are overlooked. A web app resembles a design almost like a mobile app.

Besides this, web applications are suitable to offer a personalized experience to users on their web browser on any device.

Hence, some leading tech giants worldwide have developed popular web applications like Google Docs, Spotify, Trello, etc.

Considering the increasing demand for web apps, businesses and startups worldwide are looking for trending web app ideas.

After choosing a reliable web app idea according to their needs and goals, they want to convert it into reality. Hence, they search for how to create a web application.

If you are also an entrepreneur and want to create a web application, you are at the right place.

We have years of experience in building web applications for different industries worldwide. Due to this, we know the process of building a modern and scalable web application.

In this guide, we will explain how to develop a web application.

Before that, you should know the basics of the web application.

Here, we will look at types of web apps, web development trends, the technology stack, and the cost of building a web application.

Let us look at all of these things in detail:

What is a Web Application?

A web application is mainly a computer program that leverages a web browser and web technology to perform things on the internet. It interacts with the server-side for handling data via HTML, AJAX, or API requests.

It usually consists of two parts: server-side & client-side. A server-side is necessary to store and retrieve data. After which, it utilizes client-side scripting to show data extracted from the server-side on the UI.

Some well-known web applications are Gmail, Adobe Flash, Pure Formulas, etc.

Benefits of Web Application Development

Here are some of the essential benefits you can get when you build a web application for business:

  • Web app is a cost-effective solution compared to the native app for most entrepreneurs and businesses to reach customers on any platform.
  • If you build a web application, you can easily customize it for multiple devices simultaneously.
  • You can maintain the web application without any headaches. In the case of a web app, you only have to make changes to the host server, and later it will get reflected in the entire web app.
  • It provides more flexibility & scalability. If any issue happens, you can replace the entire server.
  • A web app allows you to enhance your business traction, build brand awareness, present business ideology, and gain a leading position in a specific industry.

What Web Application is Not?

Various people get confused between websites and web apps. However, some people get confused between web apps and mobile apps. Here, we will compare website vs. web app development and then look at web vs. mobile app development.

Web Application Vs Website
One of the interesting questions that might appear in users’ minds is, What is the main difference between a website and a web app?

A website is linked to a single domain name and published on at least one server. Whenever a user accesses the website, the first thing that appears in their mind is information like articles, product information, and more.

On the contrary, a web application is a dynamic platform that enables users to interact effectively.

To know the difference between a website and a web application, check out this blog on website vs web application.

Web vs Mobile App
Web apps can be accessed using a web browser. A web app doesn’t require much space. It is also cost-effective and more adaptable compared to mobile apps.

Native apps are built for a single platform, Android or iOS. Therefore, a user needs to download the app from the specific app store on your device, and then they can access the app. To develop a native app, you need to invest more time, effort, and money.

Types of Web Applications

There are two types of web applications:

Static Web Applications
These are built like static web pages wherein all the visitors will find similar information. These web apps are made using CSS and HTML and are not flexible in their functionalities.

Dynamic Web Applications
These web apps are highly interactive and use server-side and client-side programming. Due to this, these web apps offer different results based on the input you have made.

The dynamic web applications are further divided into different web applications.

eCommerce web apps
These web apps are considered online stores, such as eCommerce sites. These web apps can handle transactions and consist of highly secure payment gateways.

Progressive Web Apps
Progressive web apps are websites that give a look and feel like an app. These apps are built using primary web technologies such as JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Some of the leading companies worldwide have created their PWAs. To know more, check out the PWA examples.

Portal Web Apps
It is an interactive tool anchored to a secure website that allows the user to do some specific task. Here, users login into a secure area directly from the homepage. One example of a portal web app includes an educational portal that requires the user to log in.

Apart from these, there are various other types of web apps. To know in detail, read our blog on types of web applications.

Now, we will provide a step-by-step process to develop a web application. You can follow this process to build a highly functional and feature-rich web application from scratch.

How to Build a Web Application

If you are confused about how to develop a web app, here are 8 steps to build a web application.

Step 1. Identify & Define the Issue that You Want to Solve

The process starts with identifying and defining the problem you want to solve through your web application.

Defining the problem is very important as it gives you the direction regarding what you have to do.

Once you have identified the issue you want to solve with your web app, the next step is to think about an app idea that would solve the problem.

Your web app idea doesn’t have to be unique and pathbreaking; you can also improve an existing idea by adding new features and functionalities.

Here, you should ensure that the new features you integrate into your web app offer a better solution than an existing web app.

Step 2. Conduct Market Research

You should conduct thorough research on your competitors and the audience. You should know what kind of solutions are offered by your competitors.

If you find a solution that already exists in the market, you should try to make it better. How? You should collect all the information about the business.

You can also utilize different tools to gather the information. Based on the analysis, you should define the potential audience. It means a group of people that are interested in your future web app.

Step 3. Validate Your Web Application Idea

As soon as you have done the research and compiled the list of ideas that resolve a problem, the next thing is to validate them. Validating an idea helps you to determine whether a particular idea will work or not.

In order to validate your web app idea, you should obtain your potential audience’s perspective.

You can also utilize forums, your network, and social media platforms to validate your web application idea. Present your web app idea on these platforms and ask users for feedback.

Step 4. Create a Documentation of Your Web App

In this phase, you are passing from your aspirations (regarding your web app) to identifying those features that your app should offer.

The documentation of your web app should consist of three essential things. These include BRD (business requirement document), FRD (functional requirement document), and monetization model.

Let us discuss it in detail.

BRD: It stresses more upon the business viewpoints as it mainly has the information about the result of the project.

FRD: It is necessary to define the functionality of the entire web application in detail. It includes data flow charts, a holistic view, and more.

Monetization Model: Your end purpose through the web application is to earn money. There are various ways to generate money for your web application.

Some popular ways for monetizing a web app include in-app purchases, advertising, subscriptions, etc.

Step 5. Create Wireframe and Prototype

A wireframe is similar to a sketch but created on a computer. It gives you a much more detailed representation of your web application design.

The wireframe you designed gives a perfect idea of how web apps will look.

After wireframing, the next step is to build your web app prototype. Here, you enhance interactivity to your wireframe so that it acts as a web app.

A prototype has limited functionality, and you can use it to test your idea.

Multiple prototyping tools help you to demonstrate your web app concept. Some of these include the following.

  • Sketch
  • Invision
  • Adobe XD
  • Balsamiq

To create a modern and attractive design for your web app, refer to our guide on web application design.

Step 6. Develop Your Web Application

You need to choose a suitable tech stack to build a web application. The technology stack for a web application is divided into two parts: Front-end and Back-end. Let us look at both of them in detail.

Front-end Development
All the things visible on the browser are included in front-end technology. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are used for front-end development.

Apart from these, developers also take the help of different front-end frameworks to enhance the web app development process.

The most popular front-end frameworks developers use worldwide are ReactJs, Angular, and VueJS. Let us look at them in brief:

ReactJs: It is a popular JavaScript library developed by Facebook and is suitable for building highly interactive user interfaces. Its features like code reusability and virtual DOM help to speed up development.

Angular: It is a typescript-based open-source web application framework developed by Google. It offers many in-built tools. Developers utilize these tools for building simple to enterprise-level web applications.

VueJS: It is a model-view-ViewModel based front-end JavaScript framework. The framework is the smallest in size and requires less storage space. It is best for building high-intuitive user interfaces and single-page applications.

When working on the front-end development, you must check the app’s usability and responsiveness.

Your app’s design should be easy and attractive to use, irrespective of the size and shape of the screen.

Back-end Development
It is also known as server-side programming. Things not visible to users are present in back-end development.

Back-end development is that part of your web app that is not visible to the user. It includes the server, the database, and the business logic of your web app.

Some of the essential elements of back-end development include the following.

  • It serves requests from the front-end.
  • It authorizes and authenticates the user during login.
  • It creates, updates, and reads data.

Back-end development is divided into three parts. These include programming languages, databases, and servers.

Programming Languages
There are many programming languages available in the market. Out of all, Python, Java, PHP, and Ruby are widely used for back-end development.

Have a look at these languages in brief:

Python: It is one of the most popular programming languages released way back in 1991. It is a high-level, general-purpose programming language suitable for back-end development. The language is popular among developers because it is compatible with the latest technologies like artificial intelligence & machine learning.

Besides this, Python is adaptable and has a low learning curve. Being an interpreted language makes debugging quick & efficient.

Lastly, you can use Python with various frameworks like Django, Flask, Pyramid, and more.

Java: Java is a high-level and object-oriented programming language used for back-end development. It is suitable for building enterprise-level web applications. Besides this, it is excellent for building Android apps, desktop apps, scientific apps, and more. The programming language was released back in 1996 by Sun Microsystems.

It follows the principle ‘Write Once Run Anywhere.’ It is also platform-independent. Hence, developers can compile Java code on any platform that supports Java without any requirement for recompilation. Lastly, Java is quick to write, compile, debug, and learn compared to other programming languages.

PHP: It is a server-side programming language. Due to this, applications written in PHP can run on any web server without a web browser.

It was released in 1994, and since then, it has remained a go-to language of developers for back-end development. Developers use PHP for building dynamic and interactive websites & web apps.

Ruby: It is an object-oriented programming language released in the year 1993. It has multiple paradigms, which include functional, imperative, and reflective.

Being an open-source language, developers can easily copy, use, update and share code without restrictions.

Ruby is widely used for building web applications. Besides this, the language is also suitable for data analysis, prototyping, and proof of concepts.

Apart from the programming languages, you can also utilize web app frameworks. For those who do not know, web application frameworks are the software frameworks that support the development of web applications, web services, and web APIs.

There are many web app frameworks available in the industry. To know the list of popular frameworks and choose the best, refer to this blog on web application frameworks.

Database
It is required to store data of the web application. MySQL is one of the most widely used databases. Apart from that, various popular databases like PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL, etc., are also used.

Server
The core purpose of web servers is to receive, process, and reply via an HTML message. Apache and Nginx are two of the most popular servers used in web apps.

To know in detail about choosing a proper tech stack for your web app, check out this blog on the tech stack for web app development.

Step 7. Test Your Web Application

The testing of the web application is a continuous process. It not only happens during the development phase but also after it.

Testing is possible automatically or manually. In testing, it is necessary to check the usability, functionality, compatibility, performance, and security of a web app.

Let us understand these things in brief.

Usability: Test the entire user experience of the web app.

Functionality: Test various things like internal links between all pages, database connections, user provided details, and connectivity.

Interface: Check whether the communication between the app server and the web server is okay.

Compatibility: Check compatibility across various browsers and devices.

Performance: Verify web app performance in slow & fast internet connections. Moreover, verify web app performance with massive data.

Security: Check web application vulnerabilities and resolve them as soon as possible.

Step 8. Launch Your Web Application

Once you have developed and tested your app, you need to find a server that would host your web application. When you host a web app on the server, it can be accessed from anywhere.

For this, you have to buy a domain and set up an SSL certificate. Now choose a good cloud provider like Google Cloud Platform, MS Azure, Amazon (AWS), etc.

Once you have found the host of your web app, you are all set to go live. Now, you need to deploy your app on your hosting solution. Then, it is ready for the user.

How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Web App?

In general, the cost of the web application relies on the complexity and the overall time needed to create it. The estimated cost of web application development starts from $3,000 & reaches up to $1,50,000.

A web application is divided into three categories considering its complexity. Let us look at the cost of building different categories of web applications along with their features.

Complexity Simple Web App Medium Web App Complex Web App
Cost $3,000 – $12,000 $12,000 – $40,000 $40,000 – $1,50,000
Features
  • Basic landing page
  • Static content
  • Not much interactive
  • Landing page
  • Highly interactive content
  • Plugin integrations
  • Database Integration
  • User sign up
  • Landing page
  • Highly interactive content
  • Plugin integrations
  • Database Integration
  • User sign up
  • Better personalization
Examples
  • Online portfolio
  • Basic calculator
  • eCommerce web app
  • Online portals
  • CRM
  • Social media web apps

Here is the list of essential factors affecting web application development costs.

  • Complexity
  • Functionality
  • Composition of the development team
  • Hiring opportunities
  • Developer’s location
  • Timeframe

To know in detail about the factors, check out this blog on web application development cost.

Wrapping Up

Web application development is not going to end soon. Various organizations and businesses globally would go with web app development because they offer better interactivity, a range of functionalities, and top-notch performance. Moreover, a web app allows businesses to reach a wider audience.

You must have understood the process of how to build a web app.

If you have an excellent web app idea & want to convert it into reality, then don’t hesitate to contact us.

Guru TechnoLabs is a well-known web application development company. We have delivered some of the best web apps to clients worldwide. Hence, we can understand your idea and provide you with the most suitable solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to build a web app?

The time required to build a web application ranges from 3 weeks to 25 weeks. This difference in time depends on the complexity, and developer location & experience.

How much does web application development cost?

The cost to build a web application starts from $3,000 and goes up to $1,50,000. The cost is heavily dependent on a range of factors like complexity, functionality, development team, whom you hire, and location & experience of the developer.

Ravi Makhija
Ravi Makhija

Ravi Makhija is an entrepreneur, an IT professional, tech geek, founder & CEO at Guru TechnoLabs - Globally Trusted Web & Mobile App Development Company. He loves writing about new technologies and the latest trends in the IT field.