What is a Web Application?
A web application is not the same as a web site.
A simple web site or what is sometimes called a
"brochure site" consists of words and pictures. A
beautiful website design does not indicate a complex
web application. So what does?
A complex, data-driven web application might have
- Data - features of the site are driven by
a data source, typically a SQL database
such as Oracle, DB2, Sybase, MySQL and so
forth. More and more data-driven sites use
indexed data such as SOLR or Endeca or use
NOSQL or "web-scale" type sources such as
Cassandra or Hadoop.
- Data Manipulation - Typically, the purpose
of the application is to manipulate and
interpret all that data.
- Integration - Often a web application
integrates with many other data sources,
outside vendors, supply chains, document
repositories, legacy systems, etc., etc.
- E-commerce - Many complex web applications
are e-commerce applications or have an
e-commerce component to them.
- Reporting - Once you store all that data and
integrate with all those outside sources and
tools, you usually want elegant reporting
screens to let you know what's going on and
to interpret all that data. These can be
custom reports or a connection to outside
tools such as Google Analytics.