A web application (web app for short) is an interactive program that runs on a web server and users can access it through a web browser such as Google Chrome. Examples of popular web applications are the social media platforms billions of users use around the world.
For a web application to work, there may be a number of technology components supporting it. For a simpler web application or traditional, it may just need a web server. For web applications that are not so simple, it may need a database and, in some cases, a web application server.
In mobile app development discussions, web apps are often contrasted with native apps. Native apps are applications developers build specifically for a particular platform. There are also hybrid approaches that combine the two.
Types of Web Applications
Below is a list of the common types of web applications:
Static web applications tend to have the simplest web pages. We generally don’t talk about user interfaces unless we’re talking about the other types of applications. Developing these types of web application involves, among other things, building an intelligent, iterative user interface. This makes the application easier to use and easier to capture data from the user side.
Building a Web Application
There are other roles that increase the likelihood a web application development project will be a success. There likely will be a project manager and possibly graphic and/or user experience (UX) designers. There may also be a quality assurance manager or tester.
One of the first steps when building a web application is isolating a strong app idea. Once that is in place, you will want to focus on the target market.
At some point you will also want to sketch out the layout of the application. This can be done with just pencil and paper or using something like Google Docs. This is usually after defining the functionality. These are some of the things a team does before beginning the web application development process.
ArcGIS for Developers
For those not familiar with ESRI’s geographic information system (GIS) software offerings, the company has a complete range of offerings under the ArcGIS brand. One of their offerings, ArcGIS Pro, can be described as a desktop spatial analysis tool. There is also ArcGIS Enterprise which is considered to be the evolution of the ArcGIS product ArcGIS Server.
ArcGIS Online is another offering from the same company that partly gains its popularity from having a low entry barrier and high usability. It offers tools to develop and deploy simple web-based mapping applications in a geoportal type environment.
For developers, ArcGIS provides a platform for creating custom tools. An example of one of the components of this ArcGIS platform is the Python site package ArcPy. One of the many benefits of the ArcGIS platform is it allows developers to integrate open-source tools like Leaflet.
Vardopoulos, Ioannis, et al. “Shaping Sustainable Cities: A Long-Term GIS-Emanated Spatial Analysis of Settlement Growth and Planning in a Coastal Mediterranean European City.” Sustainability 15.14 (2023): 11202.
Arunachalam, M., et al. “ArcOLITIRS: A Toolbox for Radiometric Calibration and Surface Temperature Estimation from Landsat 8 Products in ArcGIS Environment.” Journal of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing 51.3 (2023): 453-468.
Rosero, Marilyn T., et al. “Psychology behind Improving Student Outcomes and Learning Environment Using GIS Classroom.” Journal for ReAttach Therapy and Developmental Diversities 6.8s (2023): 289-297.
Cascón-Katchadourian, Jesús, and Jordi Alberich-Pascual. “La Georreferenciación de Cartografía Antigua en los Sistemas de Información Geográficos (SIG): Revisión, Análisis y Estudio comparativo de Softwares de Georreferenciación.” Revista General de Información y Documentación 31.1 (2021): 437.
Khattar, Rohit, et al. “Tethys App Store: Simplifying deployment of web applications for the international GEOGloWS initiative.” Environmental Modelling & Software 146 (2021): 105227.