There is a common misconception that mobile and web applications are the same thing. But in fact, they're both very different. First, it may be useful to distinguish between web applications and websites. Simply put, a web application is a seamlessly designed website that responsive on a smartphone. There are many different types of websites, some static and rarely updated, while others are responsive and have a great deal of interaction.
But what's the difference between a mobile app and a web app? Let's take a look.
Mobile apps vs. web apps
Original mobile applications were designed for specific platforms, such as iOS for the Apple iPhone or Android for the Samsung. It is downloaded and installed through the app store and has access to system resources, such as GPS and camera function. Mobile applications work on the device itself. Snapchat, Instagram, Google Maps, and Facebook Messenger are some examples of popular mobile applications. One of the abilities of mobile apps that they can work offline without having an active internet connection. Mobile applications can access a device's resources, but it always requires the user and the developer to stay updated by updating the program code and download updates regularly.
On the other hand, web applications need an active Internet connection in order to run and cannot be operated without an internet connection, but they are automatically got updated and active. It can be accessed or executed through any Internet browser and will be automatically adapted to any kind of device or screen size you are browsing the web app through it. It's not authentic to a particular system because of their responsive nature, they are already similar to mobile applications and work very well - this is where the confusion between the two terms arises.
Mobile and web applications: pros and cons
Now that we know the fundamental differences between mobile and web applications, we can summarize the pros and cons of each:
Pros of mobile applications:
The ability to work offline (Without Internet Connection).
Accessing system resources, such as GPS, camera functions, etc.
More secure, as the mobile applications must first be approved by the store after passing through several auditing stages.
Cons of mobile applications
Is more expensive to create than web applications.
More difficult to create and implement as developers need to deal with multiple platforms and different programming languages for each application platform.
Compatibility with different platforms (such as iOS and Android) usually means designing and building an application from scratch.
Expensive to maintain and update.
It may be difficult to get your application approved from the App Store.
Pros of web applications:
Do not need to be download, the web application can be executed from any device and any web browser at any time.
Easy to implement and maintain and having one source code with a shared database regardless of the device that uses it.
Faster and easier to create than mobile applications.
It does not require App Store approval, so it can be launched quickly.
Cons of web applications
Limited capabilities in controlling device sources (such as GPS, camera, etc.).
It may not be discoverable like mobile apps because they are not listed in app stores.
Quality and safety are not always guaranteed because they can be launched without any approval or auditing stages, so the developer must be chosen carefully.