Web Applications vs. Web Services: Knowing Which is Right for You

A person is typing on a laptop and numbers and data symbols are in the foreground.As a marketer or business manager, adding functionality to a business process is vital to continue refining and improving your service delivery. Based on the need for interfacing with data and results, two distinct paths may present themselves—web applications and web services. Knowing which option to choose will help your organization save time, effort, and money while improving your internal efficiency and external customer support.

At Progressive Data Services, it’s our goal to help maximize your marketing dollars and provide the best overall insight into your customer base. Keep reading to learn whether web applications or web services are the better choice from a development standpoint.

Web Applications: What You Need to Know 

A web application is an application program that is stored on a remote server and delivered over the Internet through a browser interface. Put simply, web applications use web pages to display data. These applications can be designed for a wide variety of uses and can be used by anyone—from an organization to an individual for numerous reasons. Since web applications are accessed through a network, there is no download necessary on the users end.

Web applications are easy to use and work on most platforms, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari. For these apps to operate, it requires a web server, application server, and a database. Web servers manage the requests that come from a client, while the application server completes the requested task. A database is then used to store any needed information.

Examples of Web Applications

Built for user engagement, web applications are extremely customizable and can perform a wide range of functionality. Some examples of these apps include:

  • Web email services
  • Wiki sites
  • Google Drive (Docs, Sheets, Slides)
  • Netflix
  • Youtube
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Web Service: What You Need to Know 

A web service includes any software, application, or cloud technology that provides standardized web protocols (HTTP) to interoperate, communicate, and exchange data messaging through the internet. Put simply, web services are the API that drive the website. All of the interaction is done programmatically while the website user only sees the results.

Different Types of Web Services

There are a few central types of web services, including:

  • Web template
  • UDDI
  • SOAP
  • REST

Which Option is Best For You?

Think of web applications as complete user interfaces, while web services are intended to be application components or "libraries" which can be used by other applications and programs. 

Web services will be less costly to develop, as they save time because they skip the development of the front-end user interface. Keep in mind that it doesn't make it necessarily the better choice, though, if the long-range plan involves front-end development.

In order to determine whether web services or web applications are right for you, it’s important to weigh the immediate needs and resources of the project against your future organizational needs. Consider the future and how scalable your business model is for growth. 

Empowering Progress—Making the Choice Your Business Needs

Key Takeaway: If your application doesn't need a user interface, then lean towards creating a web service. If it needs a user interface, then create a web application. 

Progressive Data Services specializes in data management, web app development, and mailing services and are dedicated to helping you get the most out of your business. We can create custom, interactive, data-driven add-ons to augment and enhance your existing website’s capabilities with our professional web application services. Give us a call today at (248) 313-9120 to get started on your project right away.

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