Website and Web App Differences


To gather information on the characteristic differences between a website and an app, including design principles and feature sets. The information will be used to help think through how apps behave differently than websites in web browsers.

Early Findings


  • A website's main purpose is to facilitate navigation for users and "extract relevant information that meets their needs."
  • According to Imaginovation, an enterprise-level website builder company, websites' benefits include easy access, easy updating, time and cost saving, easy advertising, and customer satisfaction.
  • The main elements of a website include "Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and JavaScript."
  • Other features include quality and relevant web content, user-friendly navigation, and they can be easily searched through search engines.
  • A website provides images and text content that "the user can view and read, but not affect its functioning."
  • Authentication is not necessary. Sometimes, users may register to get additional options, such as newsletters or exclusive content.
  • Websites display "collected data and information on a specific page."
  • The website is a complete product, which users access with the help of a browser.
  • Websites do not need to be precompiled before deployment. If small changes are needed, a full re-compilation and deployment are not needed, only an update of the HTML code.

Web Apps

  • According to Imaginovation, web apps' benefits include personalized experience, expandability, device capabilities leverage, and customer satisfaction.
  • The main elements of a web app include "HTML, CSS, and JavaScript; additionally uses programming languages such as Ruby, PHP, and frameworks such as Ruby on Rails, Scriptcase, Django, and database."
  • Web apps are "cloud-hosted and highly scalable , mostly cross-platform , modular and loosely coupled , and it is easily tested with automated tests."
  • In a web application, the user not only reads the content but also manipulates data.
  • Web apps require authentication due to their broader scope of options available for users.
  • Their functions are more complex compared to a website.
  • The web app is part of a website. It is not a complete website by itself.
  • Web apps need to be precompiled before deployment. If changes are needed, the entire project has to be re-compiled and then deployed.

Proposed next steps:

You need to be the project owner to select a next step.