Understanding custom web application development
Custom web applications are tailor-made to address your unique business requirements. Whether it is for migrating legacy systems, enhancing internal processes, or building a web portal for collaborating with vendors and customers, custom web apps can do it all.
As resources are constrained, IT is overwhelmed with requests and projects. Some business teams opt for off-the-shelf solutions for their readiness and less cost. However, one size does not fit all. These solutions can get part of the job done but may lack good integration capabilities with other systems or the customization capability that the business may need for its unique operations. Further, it can come at the expense of an exceptional user experience. These solutions are not always the perfect fit to satisfy your business’s unique needs, especially when your organizational needs are diverse.
Read on as we take you through the basics of custom web applications and learn how you can build one yourself.
What Is A Custom Web Application?
Custom web applications are tailor-made applications to meet specific business needs. They are designed to streamline processes, store data, remove data silos, and enhance internal or customer-facing business processes.
The primary purpose of a custom web application is to solve operational challenges or enhance existing business processes. The web app is first created by the developer using a proper development framework and then tested and deployed.
There are numerous requirements for web applications in an enterprise. For example, the accounting team may require a comprehensive application to keep track of accounts payable, receivable and manage monetary resources, whereas a business intelligence app tool can be a top priority and need for the business development department.
An organization’s unique requirements are translated into features, design, user experience, and so on. These apps are unique digital products that can be accessed via the internet, offering its users functionalities and allowing for some interaction.
Custom web apps are generally accessed via the internet, through a browser. This means users don’t have to download, update, and configure it to enjoy all its features. Web applications can range anywhere from a shopping cart to demo request forms. In this article, we will focus on enterprise web applications that are primarily employee, vendor, or partner-facing.
When to Choose Custom App Development
You would want to opt for custom app development for a variety of reasons. Some of them include-
1. If your business needs to implement complex functionality to offer a service.
2. You want the exceptional performance of your web app that only custom app development can offer.
3. You work in a competitive industry like eCommerce, sales, or customer service.
On a broader level, you should opt for custom web app development if you want-
Getting a web application up and running is pretty simple. There is a great deal of flexibility in terms of the tools and frameworks you can use compared to other apps. There are also fewer hoops that you need to jump through.
Suppose you want to build a native mobile app and list it on the Apple App Store or Google Play store. Developers have to learn using proprietary frameworks like Flutter, Xamarin, React Native, etc. They are also restrained from using frameworks for app development due to not knowing which frameworks to choose. Additionally, Apple puts your application through a lengthy vetting process, delaying the entire process of listing your app on the app store.
Likewise, if you want to build a similar local desktop application, you will require to roll it out to your users and install it on their machines; this could take days or even weeks in a large organization.
Web applications offer much simpler and faster deployment with more flexibility than these. You just need to send your users the URL to get your app live. It is as simple as you can imagine.
Easy and wider access
Web applications are one of the most widely and easily accessible applications. Most users rely on their web browsers to do everything, mostly in professional contexts. This makes web apps the smartest choice if you want users to find and use your tools easily.
Web applications are mostly accessible from any web browser unless they are under specific restrictions. Employees can use their desktops or other devices throughout the day. The same goes for your partners and vendors. They can enjoy it from any device (phone, desktop, or tablet).
People don’t get easily convinced to download mobile apps. Some may not like having a cluttered home screen, some may not have enough internal space, and some may just be lazy to download new apps.
Developing web apps provide a high level of convenience to your users. Even if most businesses push to develop their own mobile apps, most people prefer to use web apps if it is not something they will use frequently.
Reduced development costs
Web application development is a cheaper and faster alternative to creating native apps or desktop programs. Mostly because, for developing a web app, you don’t need to allocate extra resources to learning proprietary frameworks, developing local installation packages, or getting through vetting processes.
Also, custom web app development typically requires less custom work than other types of software. This is because the ready-made components, front-end libraries, and other tools speed up development.
Many web developers are keen on adopting low-code tools for a more flexible and enjoyable development experience.
Teams, often need a unified view of all the data and processes to get complete transparency on the tasks going on in the organization. Having, a centralized platform can make it easier for team members to communicate and collaborate, as all relevant information is stored in a single location.
Also, a centralized platform can help teams stay organized and on top of tasks and projects by providing tools for project management, file sharing, and task tracking.
Simple vs. complex custom web applications
Businesses looking for basic web applications typically have straightforward criteria. They either only need a single-page app with the most essential functions or they only need a small number of users to interact with the application. On the other hand, complex web applications appeal more to businesses that require advanced integration capabilities, multiscreen apps with automation & navigation, or role-based access control.
Let’s try to understand it more clearly with examples. A static web app is a simple web application that does not display much content and is not particularly flexible. But it can be a good fit for a professional portfolio or digital curriculum, these apps often need to be modified by the developers.
In contrast, a dynamic web application can be more technically complex, using databases to load data. They typically utilize an administration panel (CMS) for management and can be made using a variety of programming languages.
To determine the appropriate type of web application for you, you have first to determine the functional requirements for users (both internally and externally), current and future integration and API capabilities, scalability, and what types of browser and devices the software will be viewed and used on
Let’s try to understand it elaborately -.
User Functionality Requirements
First, you should determine the user functionality aspect of the software. The top things to take into consideration are –
1. Use of the application (internal or external)
2. Requirements such as assigning and defining user roles.
3. Access control
4. Uploading and downloading documents.
5. Client communication functionality.
6. Task management.
Integration & API capabilities
The software’s capability to integrate third-party applications and API into external databases or websites is another important distinction between a simple web application and a complex web application. Integration facilitates interaction between two applications, whereas an API is an actual interface between two.
Simple web applications can integrate easily with tools such as Google Fonts or Shopify. Complex web application integration capabilities may include company/customer web portals or integration of customer relationship management systems.
Over time, your business needs will grow, so you would want to invest in an application that could scale according to your needs. Some of the problems you might encounter due to the less scalable capabilities of your application include-
1. App server limitations
2. Incorrect server configurations
3. Inefficient caching
4. Poor/slow database queries
5. Limited memory and CPU resources
6. Complicated database schema
A simple web application would be a more ideal fit for smaller companies that plan on using the software for basic internal processes and have a stagnant user base with no plans on growing them. Before deciding on the type of application, companies should consider the growth of their company over time and their current IT infrastructure. This includes the age of software being used and the information requirements between internal departments.
Browser & devices the web application will be used on
It is important to consider the browsers, versions, and devices you want your web application to run on. Most users like to stick with a handful of popular browsers, even though many browsers are available on the market. Some popular browsers are Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple’s Safari.
Chrome has an incredible reach, while Firefox is fast and lean. The default browser on Apple iOS devices and Macs, Safari also enjoys popularity. So while developing a web application, you can capture a sizable chunk of potential users if you target these browsers.
It is also important to remember that browser trends are continuously evolving and changing. While choosing, keep in mind that some browsers only run on certain operating systems, and developers should check to ensure that the user experience is flawless across most common browsers.
Advantages of custom web app development
Here are some of the most common advantages of custom web app development-
Flexibility and scalability
Web applications can be easily scaled to fit the evolving needs of your business. They are designed to meet your business goals. They offer incredible flexibility to update and adapt to new requirements easily.
Control your user journey
A web application will allow you to control every aspect of your user journey and ensure customers want to keep using and interacting with your software. On the Google Play store or App Store, you need to find ways to encourage customers to search for your app and download it. Custom web apps allow you to find new ways to onboard users through SEO, landing pages, QR codes, social media, email marketing, and more.
You can map out how users will find and use your software and find new ways to build trust and loyalty. You will fully control your user journey without bending any existing frameworks and decide how and where your app can be used.
Improved security controls
Developing a custom web application will give you total control over your software’s cybersecurity. You can decide which features you do and don’t want to include in your app while keeping your customers’ data secure and compliant.
Ensure you implement the right cybersecurity features to give your customers and stakeholders peace of mind with features like two-factor authentication, biometrics, and more.
The majority of the company’s operations are dependent on a variety of software tools, and applications that should effectively connect with one another to produce desired results.
Ultimately, seamless integration guarantees real-time visibility and raises data precision.
What is the custom web application development process?
Here is how you can build a custom web application in 8 simple steps-
The first step is to identify and define your problems and how you want to solve them.
Planning the user journey/user experience of your web application
Once you know what solution you want to create, it is time to determine how and how the application will work. This can include defining crucial app features and the sequence of the pages.
Prototyping your web application
Determine the wireframe, A wireframe consists of simple lines and shapes which represent the outline or the skeleton of the web app’s user interface and core functionality.
Present the prototype or wireframe of your new web application to potential users or prospects. Record and analyze the feedback and iterate on the design until you get the desired results.
Choose your framework/tool
You may require different tools/ frameworks to build your web application.
Choose a tool that you need and fits the best for your requirements and resources and not only the popular ones.
Create your web application
This essentially involves three processes-
First, determine what type of data you need to store in your database and then build your database.
Your frontend will be the same as the wireframe/prototype you validated earlier. The frontend consists of HTML, jS, and CSS. You will likely build your frontend and backend simultaneously.
It is one of the toughest parts of the web application development process. Backend provides HTTP endpoint for your frontend, authenticates users, and serves the frontend.
Testing typically happens during and after the building phase and is an ongoing process. You can either automate the testing or do it manually. The testing components include functionality, usability, compatibility, security, and performance testing.
5. Deploy your web application
You can now finally run your web application on a server.
Why DronaHQ for your custom web application development?
DronaHQ is a low-code platform offering the fastest and most secure way to build web applications. You can easily build your web application with minimal complexity in just a few days. Here is how DronaHQ can help you build a powerful web application-
Backend configuration- Users can use our dedicated connectors for Postgres, MySQL, REST, Oracle, Google Sheets, and much more
Drag and drop builder– DronaHQ offers 100+ responsive, reusable, powerful out-of-the-box UI components enabling building interfaces in a straightforward and quick manner.
Hosting- Users can enjoy instant deployments with minimal fuss or configuration with DronaHQ’s cloud hosting options, You can also deploy to your own infrastructure using Kubernetes, Docker, and more.
Web+mobile output– Allows users to publish, manage, update, rollback, invite, and embed with any device (Android + iOS), and access specific settings easily.
Role Based views and user management- Protect data integrity by allowing only authorized user access to sensitive data and managing how a user uses your app with login authentication, email verification, user roles, and permissions.
Security– DronaHQ is SOC-II and ISO 27001 certified, and all plans include SSL encryption to keep your data safe. Also with a secure embed, only logged-in or authorized users can access the app.
Integrations– Smoothly manage data fetching. Integrate with any API, databases, and multiple third-party applications. Users can also visualize data coming from multiple data sources in a single view.
Doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, a tech enthusiast, or a professional developer, DronaHQ offers a seamless app-building experience with unmatched speed and flexibility.
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