Differences Between Web Page And Web App Architecture

Difference Between Web Page and Web App

Most of us, the common folks, use the terms Web Page and Web App interchangeably. But the question still remains, what is the difference between a Web Page and a Web Application? In general perspective, anything that is view-able on a Web Browser after visiting a URL is a Web Page.

In this context, even a Web Application will be considered a web page but they difference lies in whether it is interactive or not. If the URL takes you to a location where just Read-only data is available, i.e., the site is informational then it is a Web Page but if you can interact with the site and can send or/and receive data to/from a server then it must be considered a Web Application.

So, after this short discussion we conclude that:

  • Web Page is informational in nature.
  • Web Application is interactive (in terms of user input, display of data, etc.) in nature.

Now, let us look into some more intricate details will make the difference between a Web Page and a Web Application clear, technically.

Architecture of a Web Page versus Web App

When the server delivers the end user a static web content exactly as it is stored in the server, it is a Web Page. But a Web Application helps to generate a dynamic web content which can vary from user to user according to the inputs provided and maintained through Server-side or Client-side scripting.

A web page is divided into various chunks called “Elements”. A Web Page is designed traditionally by using a Mark-up Language, usually HTML and CSS. They are, along with various Web Designing Frameworks are used to render a good looking web content.  Along with various media such as images, videos, sounds, etc. the content becomes presentable and informative and is viewed using a special application software known as a Web Browser. Every time a browser requests a Web Page from a URL, it is returned by the server as it was designed and stored.

A Web App displays data in the same way as a Web Page does but the difference lies in the manipulation of the data that is to be displayed. In technical terms, arguments are passed as user-inputs to a Web App on a Web Page. These inputs are processed accordingly and desired results are displayed on the Web Page. Thus, we see that a common Web Application can be considered of having “3- tiers” or modules. They are-

  • First Tier- Presentation of the displayed data.
  • Second Tier- Application of the logics to process the input.
  • Third Tier- Storage of the processed data for further display.

A Web Browser is the Presentation tier, an engine using some Dynamic Web Technology (such as ASP, CGI, ColdFusion, Dart, JSP/Java, Node.js, PHP, Python or Ruby on Rails) is the middle tier (application logic), and a database is the third tier. The Web Browser acts a bridge between the user, the application and the database.

Well, I hope the doubts must be clear now. Why not give it a test? Let’s take a small quiz to test the knowledge that you have gained just now. Each of the following example is either a Web Page or a Web Application.

  1. A static Android App Site that provides information about a specific app and takes an input as email id and send the Play Store link of the app in your inbox.
  2. A site of a restaurant that display Menu as well as address of the restaurant.
  3. Another site of a restaurant where you can order the food online as well as pay online.

You will see each of them either results in a Web Page or a Web Application. You will also realize that there is a very thin line of difference between a Web Page and a Web Application Development and only few reasonable people can see that line. But in the end, it doesn’t matter the web content falls I which category but what matters is if the content is beneficial for the owner and the general public.

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