In 2022, we are already provided with a number of opportunities and options for successful web app development. What are the strongest trends of the year and the best practices that we should follow to create exceptional web apps?
Read the article to find out:
- what the most modern web development approaches are
- what the best practices in web app development are
- what the steps of the web application development process are
- examples of successful web applications.
Web Applications vs Websites
What is a web application? What is the difference between web app development and web development?
To put it simply, web application development is the process of building websites that behave similarly to mobile apps. Thanks to this, they are accessible from a regular browser just as if they were classic websites. Moreover, web apps can also push notifications and perform features typical to mobile apps. Web applications, similarly to traditional websites, are also developed with web development technologies.
So, what are the differences? To name but a few of them, web applications are first and foremost focused on interactions with users, while standard websites are developed rather for informative purposes (excluding e-commerce websites). To provide you with an example, you can clearly notice the difference between a highly engaging and interactive Facebook page and a regular company website.
All social media channels are obviously based on users’ creative input, while web pages mostly provide visitors with information. This is why web-based applications must be highly responsive, UX-oriented, interactive, dynamic and prepared for handling big traffic and a significant number of real-time requests.
Iconic Web Apps examples
In 2022, web applications are all around us. To help you even better understand the differences between websites and web applications, we’ve prepared a quick list of the latter’s most vivid examples. Take a look!
Google Docs is a world-renowned solution for editing documents online. One of the most important features is auto-saving, which prevents the loss of content in case of breakdown. Developed with the Java programming language, Google Docs had reached over 2 billion active monthly users by the end of 2019.
Notion is a multi-purpose tool that can be used as a notepad, calendar, to-do list, or more. It is helpful in preparing personal notes, but also improves teamwork thanks to the possibility of sharing them with co-workers. Notion was developed with technologies such as Lodash, Core.js, React.js, Next.js and Contentful.
Mailchimp is a marketing automation platform designed for sending newsletters and mass emails. Their web page is a complex web app with a great, intuitive UI that makes preparing emails easy even for the non-experienced. According to G2 Stack, Mailchimp uses 54 technologies, including HTML5, Google Analytics, and jQuery.
Salesforce is a SaaS CRM platform equipped with multiple functionalities related to customer service and marketing purposes. According to the Salesforce website, the platform has attracted more than 150,000 customers worldwide. The tech stack includes Boomerang and Java, among others.
Last but not least, at Naturaily we also develop our own web applications. They may not be as iconic as the previous examples, but we’re proud of them! Take ArtInfo – a portal designed for art lovers, collectors, art dealers and investors. Launched in 2000, ArtInfo has already collected a database of more than 400,000 artworks. It enables live art auctions and is equipped with a search engine and user admin panel. To learn more about the technologies used in this project, go to our portfolio.
Web Application Development: Best Practices in 2022
Alright, as we now know what web apps are, we can go on! What are the best practices in web app development in 2022? How do we develop a successful web application with the available technologies?
If you decide to launch your own app in 2022, we highly recommend following these steps:
Choose the right tech stack
Choosing the right technologies is the first step in building a successful web application. With such great availability and diversity of programming languages, web application frameworks, servers and libraries, the choice may seem to be challenging. However, to provide you with more information about the best options, we will continue this topic later in the article.
Create attractive design
If you wish to attract new users, you need to deliver exceptional design and an intuitive interface. Well-planned navigation and easily accessible functionalities will make your app much more appreciated and loved. Remember that the vibe and typography of your app (meaning colors and fonts) should correspond with your target audience and be appealing to them.
Provide great UX
While a unique design may attract customers, user experience is key to keeping them satisfied and loyal – and obviously, great satisfaction leads to recommendations. Therefore, if your goal is to scale your app and observe growing numbers, always remember to test and optimize the UX of your web app and actively respond to users’ needs.
Ensure great speed and performance
According to Google, the bounce rate increases 32% when a page load time goes from one to three seconds. This is why great performance is crucial for any app to succeed. Page load speed depends on a number of factors, such as the tech stack, content, website architecture and dynamic elements. Then, constant testing and optimization of your web application in order to reduce page load time will be worth the effort.
Keep the app scalable
Scalability is one of the most important aspects of the app life cycle. Once your audience starts to grow, you need to make sure that your app is capable of handling increasing traffic. In order to do so, consider choosing the tech stack designed for scaling apps that will be also flexible enough in case you need to introduce updates or optimizations.
Make the website responsive
As we use a whole range of devices, responsiveness ensures the right UX on any kind of OS or browser is a must. The seamless operation of your app, regardless of the preferred software, will make your app easily accessible and boost user satisfaction.
Use a robust CMS
As a web application requires regular updates, you need a tool that will support you in content management. Make sure that you are provided with a powerful CMS (Content Management System) that will allow you to efficiently edit and modify the content of your app. This will significantly help you to increase the efficiency of your app maintenance.
As the next hacker attack happens every 39 seconds, security is an inherent part of software development and a 2022-priority. Security measures should be integrated during aweb app development process by applying best practices and prevention tools. Remember to implement solutions such as data encryption, input validation, access control and roles management.
Keep the code concise
Code readability is one of the most important web app development best practices. It helps not only to easily develop and maintain software but also to prevent legacy code issues and reduce technical debt. The code should be then written in a consistent way that is understandable for the majority of developers, as well as those who were not involved in the app development process at the initial stages.
Creative data visualization is one of the strongest trends in web application development in 2022. Web animations are not only appealing and engaging, but they also support storytelling and website navigation. This is one of the many ways to make an app more modern, increase user experience and integrate trendy technologies such as AI, VR or AR.
In order to build a solid source of new customers, make sure that your web application is always optimized in terms of the constantly changing algorithms of modern search engines. Following SEO guidelines and implementing best practices such as reducing page load time, ensuring responsiveness, creating the proper content and providing the right website architecture is a chance for increasing traffic that you simply cannot miss.
Steps in Web Application Development
However, best practices are still not enough. In order to develop an exceptional web application, you need to follow all of the important stages, including careful planning, prototyping and the right maintenance. So, what are the basic steps of a successful web application development process?
Let’s start with defining three types of web applications that differ in functionality and the development purpose:
Client-side web apps
This type of web app is focused on front-end development, mainly creating and optimizing the user interface (UI) and prioritizing the user experience (UX). Client-side web apps ensure excellent page loading speed and smooth user interactions.
Server-side web apps
Server-side applications prioritize back-end development, which is associated with everything going on in the backstage of the application – databases, APIs, servers and more. This approach works well combined with static content, as it may require some time for the server to answer received requests. On the other hand, this type of web app ensures higher security than client-side apps.
Single-page application combines features of both client-side and server-side apps. Its structure is based on an infinite scroll mechanism and dynamic outing that allows websites to display all of their content. This ensures fast page load speed, as the web page processes only the data necessary at the moment of time and there’s no need to load the entire page in order to complete one desired action.
So, how can you develop a successful web application and what are the typical stages of the web application development process? Regardless of the type of web app that you’re going to deploy, the process is split into similar phases, including defining the problem, designing, preparing mockups, coding, testing and maintenance. Let’s break it down to provide you with a better understanding.
1. Defining a problem
A successful software development process cannot exist without a careful and complex analysis. The first step on our list is mostly about finding answers to questions such as:
- what do we build the app for?
- what kind of problems do we aim to solve?
- what does the target audience expect?
- how can the product properly target their needs?
- what features should I provide to keep end-users satisfied?
Defining the goals above requires detailed and comprehensive research that will reveal real, not only assumed, customer needs. As you can clearly see, the idea of a web app is not enough – to make sure that the development process will be successful in technical and business terms, it must first and foremost consider the customers’ perspective.
2. Developing a plan
Once you have answers to the most critical questions, it’s time to develop a plan in order to keep the process smooth and manageable within a required deadline. At this stage, your development team should define the project scope, as well as the expected functionalities, and prepare a project roadmap. Developers should also select technologies that are most promising for the specific type of project.
Furthermore, the plan for website application development should consider both technical and business perspectives. This is why the development team should also estimate the budget and define the best way to achieve their goals with available resources. A well-prepared plan with established communication rules and project management methods will help to keep the development process smooth and prevent bottlenecks.
3. Product designing
The next step in web app development process is about conceptualizing and gathering initial ideas for the future product. At this stage, the development team aims to define the shape of the app. It’s related to both the functional and visual side, including UI and UX design. Most importantly, such brainstorming should be based on analyzing the in-depth thoughts, desires and expectations of the target group. After the ideas are collected and primarily verified, the team proceeds with choosing the most promising one for further development.
A well-conducted design stage will help to eliminate or reduce many risks and increase the chances of choosing the most optimal idea. As a result of this step, the team should have a defined list of tasks and split responsibilities in order to proceed with the next stage of website application development.
The next important step on the way to developing a web app is comprehensive testing of the chosen idea. This usually means building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This allows getting a better understanding of the product’s look and functionalities, as well as starting the process of gathering feedback from early adopters.
A well-prepared MVP will help you to validate whether your idea meets the customers’ expectations and whether its development should be continued. This is basically how development teams mitigate the risk of deploying an unsuccessful product. Presenting the beta-version to the target audience also helps to finetune the product’s final functionalities and make sure that further development will head in the right direction.
5. Web App Development
Now we finally proceed to the major step of the web app development process – coding the final solution. Once your idea is validated, and the desired functionalities of your app are defined, you can start with building a final solution. Based on the feedback collected from early adopters, your team can focus on the development of the most required features.
At this stage, front-end and back-end frameworks and technologies should be already defined. For instance, at Naturaily, we are fans of Jamstack development technologies that, in our eyes, are one of the most efficient ways to create a fully functional web application. However, there are also many other approaches available, which we’re gonna mention in a minute.
At the end of the development stage, the app must be hosted on a web server under a proper domain in order to be finally launched and presented to a wider audience.
Once your app is ready-to-go, it’s time to test it! Before you let your customers use it, you need to make sure that it’s efficient and bug-free. It’s also crucial to observe how the app reacts to traffic and whether it’s capable of handling the expected intensity of requests. Remember that quality assurance and testing significantly impact the overall app rating and user satisfaction.
Skipping testing may cause severe malfunctioning in the future. This is why we recommend carrying it out not only at the end but on a regular basis during the entire development process. The sooner the error will be detected, the cheaper and less tough it will be to remove it. Once the final testing stage is completed, the application is ready for launch.
Time to celebrate? Sure – but hold on a second. Launching an app is obviously a success, however, it also heralds an intensive time of collecting feedback from users. At this stage of web app development, it’s very important to keep your eyes open, andactively search for opportunities to improve your appeven further. Careful listening to your users, monitoring their opinions. For example, testing the UX of a ready solution will be a valuable source of tips for optimizing your app and boosting its attractivity.
8. Maintenance and development
Obviously, web app development does not end once the app is launched – the post-development process is equally important. Monitoring its performance and making sure there are no malfunctions is simply a must if you wish to keep your app successful in the long term. Functional, safe and bug-free web applications will keep attracting more and more users and lead to financial success. Thus, you should never never stop optimizing performance, reacting to consumers’ feedback and requests, renewing licenses and extending the functionality by developing newly desired features.
Web App Development: Recommended Approaches and Technologies
So, what are the most frequently recommended technologies for web app development? Obviously, there are many promising trends and approaches. Let’s catch a glimpse of the main techniques and directions of building functional web applications that, in our eyes, are the most vivid and influential in 2022.
As Jamstack experts and fans, we couldn’t help but start with this technology. To find out more about what headless architecture is, feel free to read our article – What is Jamstack? – which will provide you with more information about the pros, cons and principles of this web development approach.
To provide you with some basic information, Jamstack is a modern web architecture approach thatallows the building of static, fast-loading sites equipped with dynamic elements.This happens thanks to decoupling the front-end layer from the back-end logic, which leaves freedom in choosing the development languages and web application frameworks.
As headless architecture specialists, we see a huge potential in this technology and expect that it will become a strong trend in web application development in 2022. Why is that? Jamstack is constantly growing in popularity. According to the Jamstack Community Survey 2021, the percentage of developers with less than one year of experience increased from 4% to 13%. This means that more developers are drawn in by this technology, and have decided to learn it.
What are the main reasons behind the growing popularity of Jamstack technologies? Jamstack provides developers and product owners with a number of benefits:
- Rapid development process
- Fast performance
- Cost-efficiency (hosting static elements is cheaper than hosting dynamic elements)
- Flexibility (Jamstack doesn’t limit developers to any specific language).
This is why we think that the Jamstack approach will soon transform the way of deploying web development apps, and will become one of the strongest trends in 2022.
The other interesting numbers and trends about Jamstack development are:
- There were 50% more websites created in Jamstack within 1 year (2021 compared to 2020)
- 48% of eCommerce and tech companies want to start using Jamstack in the next year
- More and more developers outside the United States and Europe are learning Jamstack. According to the Jamstack Community Survey 2021, 48% of new Jamstack developers come from Asia, Africa, South America, and other areas.
- React-powered websites are SEO-friendly and high-performant.
- The library is easy to learn, compared to others.
- React development delivers excellent UI and UX.
- React ensures code stability.
Although React.js obviously has some disadvantages, with poor documentation being one of them, it’s still one of the most popular and loved web development libraries.
And what are the other React.js trends?
- However, there are two other technologies that are becoming more appealing: Svelte (66%) and Vue (63%) vs 58% interest in React. We carefully monitor the situation and constantly assess React’s potential.
What are the main benefits of Node.js development?
- Node allows for the building of highly efficient websites, web apps and one-pagers.
- It supports data streaming, so it can be used for developing visual and social media channels. This is why Node.js is used by market giants such as Netflix, Uber, Twitter or PayPal.
- Node ensures a great caching ability. This means it stores data for future requests.
- The technology enables cross-platform web app development.
- Node helps to achieve great scalability without decreasing speed and performance.
- Node has gathered an active and engaged community of developers from all around the world.
To name but a few of Node.js drawbacks, it is not recommended for developing financial software and complex CPU calculations, as it doesn’t provide enough precision and can lead to errors that are unacceptable when dealing with finances.
Additional trends in Node.js web development are:
- It’s popularity is spreading worldwide. According to Web Survey Report 2018, 32% of Node users come from the US or Canada, 44% from the EMEA region, 18% from APAC and 7% from South America.
- Node.js can reduce development costs by 56%. This is why it is more and more frequently chosen by startups.
- Node can increase developer productivity by 68%, and satisfaction by 62%.
PWA (Progressive Web Apps)
Progressive Web Apps are specific web applications. They operate without the need for opening a browser and can be accessed directly from a device. Moreover, PWA apps push notifications and are able to work offline. Although they behave exactly like a mobile app, technically they still remain websites, only wrapped up in a mobile app packaging. To learn more about the opportunities provided by PWA web development, check out the information on our website.
What are the benefits of PWA apps?
- PWAs ensure a great page load time – they load even 2 or 3 times faster than regular websites.
- They are universal, as they operate regardless of the browser. This means that they can be adapted to nearly any type of device.
- On the other hand, PWA apps don’t require installing anything as they can be accessed via a browser.
- Most PWA operate offline thanks to caching.
- They are lightweight and consume less space than native apps.
For the reasons listed above, PWA are recommended mostly to those who want to achieve short time-to-market, cover all the main platforms with a single codebase, have a limited budget, and aim to maximize UI/UX and user engagement.
When it comes to drawbacks, PWAs meet some limitations in hardware support. As they run in a browser, they don’t have access to all the functionalities typically designed for native apps. Then, when native app functionality is highly required, a PWA might not be the most optimal choice.
So, what are the major trends in PWA development?
- According to Divante, PWA apps have a 36% higher conversion rate compared to native apps.
- Companies using PWAs notice an increase in customer engagement, page load time and conversion (from 17% up to 380%).
- Progressive Web Apps require 33% fewer maintenance costs than native apps.
As Jamstack specialists delivering web app development services, Naturaily obviously applies the most modern approaches. To all clients who wish to build static websites or web applications equipped with dynamic elements, we highly recommend our beloved headless architecture. This approach has helped many of our clients achieve extraordinary functionality and great performance.
And if you’re searching for a highly qualified web app development company, you’re in the right place. In our website application development process, we use the most efficient Jamstack languages and web application development frameworks. With our portfolio, experience and resources, we are ready to complete even the most complicated projects while keeping the development process smooth and agile. If a future-proof web application developed in line with the latest trends is currently on your mind, feel free to contact us!