Web apps are application software that exist online rather than on an operating system or hard drive. In general, web apps will require a lot less memory from your computer, especially compared to computer-based applications, and for the most part, they can provide similar features. Web apps allow more users to connect with a product and without the need to install a mobile app or a computer-based application in order to interact with the product.

While web app development requires a specific skill set, the process for developing a web app is straightforward. In this article, we want to break down how to develop a web app.

Software Development Overview

Web app development is, like everything else, a process that is continually being refined. Software developments typically will follow a process of development, building, and deployment. Within this process, you’ll find that the problems being solved and the systems being used might differ slightly. However, in general, app development can be understood through the client’s needs (i.e., will it be a web-based app or a mobile app) and the tools required.

Web app development is a multi-stage process that looks something like this:

  • Defining the initial problem
  • Mapping out the software’s workflow
  • Wireframe​/prototype
  • Feedback on the prototype
  • Identifying the tools needed to build the software
  • Building the actual software
  • Testing and sandboxing
  • Deploying the software

As mentioned, the biggest differences in the process will come with the types of software being developed. Software workflow, wireframing, and the tools will all be dependent on the initial problem that needs to be solved. This mainly requires developers and clients to differ between application types, such as web-based applications, computer-based applications, and mobile device applications. From there, workflows can be established.

 

Ways to Go About Developing a Web App

If you want to build a web app, the easiest way to go about it is to work with a web development company. Web development companies are companies who are skilled at one thing (designing and building software) and can usually provide this service for a fee.

Other ways to go about developing a web app include learning how to build one yourself. This process will generally take a lot longer because you are learning to solve problems yourself; but if you have the willingness to learn, the necessary ​tools​, and the know-how, you could theoretically get the job done.

Another way you can consider building a web app is a hybrid method. If you know enough about software development but you, for whatever reason, cannot go through the build processes, you might be able to sketch out a design and hand it off to a team that is more than capable of doing so. This way, you can cut costs a bit and still feel involved in the project.

What to Expect When Building a Web App

Web app development, like other software, requires certain parameters to be followed and certain goals to be met. When you are building a web app, you’ll need to research the type of web app that you want, the features that will be included, the functionality limitations, the hosting platform, and so on.

Throughout this process, you may realize that you want a feature that was essential to know about at the beginning of the web development process. If you are an unskilled web developer, then this could cause extra headaches. Luckily, web development teams know what questions to ask so that you don’t have to repeat the process all over again.

In general, the process to build a web app might take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. This depends of course on the availability of the person building the app and on their skills and knowledge. Most importantly, and especially if you are working with a team, this will depend on the complexity of the app and how much information you are able to provide so that they can work through the project.

Understanding the functions of the app can be difficult, especially in the early stages of software development. Therefore, sometimes the processes of building a web app might take longer than expected. This isn’t always a bad thing, but something to be prepared for.

 

Building Your First Web App

If you’re ready to build your first web app, you want to be prepared for the process. In doing so, you need to map out whether you will be building it on your own or with a team. You also want to clearly lay out the design ideas so that you and/or the team you are working with has a clear sense of the problems that your software is solving and how the software will be addressing these problems.

You can then work through the next steps of building your app. If you are working with a team, then all you need to do is sign up with the team that you trust the most and they will walk you through the steps.

If you are doing this on your own, then you’ll want to be prepared with the right coding language and tools. We break down the different stages of web app development in another article, but usually, you’ll need to follow the eight steps of software development:

  1. Identify the problem you are solving:​ Think of this as a business plan for your
  2. Mapping out the web app’s workflow: ​This should reflect a step-by-step in how a user will interact with your product
  3. Wireframe/prototype: ​If you’ve never ​wireframed​ before, then you’ll want to consider using ​Terrastruct​ or ​Sketch​.
  4. Feedback on the prototype: ​You somehow need to get feedback on your product. Ask clients or customers, friends or family members to see if the web app’s workflow makes sense to them.
  5. Identifying the tools needed to build the software: ​The tools you need will depend on the coding language that you will be using and the functions you need to create (think of project scope and complexity). This is a tricky one to handle and requires research on your part.
  6. Building the actual software: ​Coding the software itself involves code construction, building your database, building the back end, building the front end, and connecting the two.
  7. Testing and sandboxing: ​Plain and simple, you need to test and problem solve the If your software has a weird glitch in it, then you need to work through that problem and try to identify what the cause is and how to fix it.
  8. And deploying the software: ​Finally, you can deploy the software. This might also involve finding a hosting platform, especially since it’s web-based software, and working on app integrations. 

Building your first web-based software is a huge step. Naturally, this process can be frustrating especially if it is your first time going through this process. If you’re nervous or frustrated, don’t hesitate to reach out to a ​web development team​ for support or to take on the project for you!