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An Easy Guide to Web Application Development in 2024: Top Approaches, Challenges and Solutions

According to a survey, 70% of companies are either working on their digital transformation strategy or have one already in place for them. 

Web application development today plays a significant role in this digital transformation. When it comes to SMEs and enterprises, traditional systems are being replaced by progressive web applications resulting in a 400% boost in user engagement. In the startup industry, SaaS web apps are quickly becoming the most in-demand solution.

So whether you run a startup or an established SME/enterprise, you can bet on the fact that web applications are the future. And if you want to stay ahead of your competitors, you have to stay on top of your game about your knowledge of web apps.

In this blog, we’ve curated a comprehensive guide to web application development in 2024 to equip you with the insights and knowledge needed to make informed decisions before investing in them. Let’s dive in.

How is web app development transforming businesses in 2024?

Businesses in 2024 love web applications because they have the potential to completely transform the scales in their favour. 

For example, the leading cab aggregator company of India named “Ola” built a web app that was 300X times smaller than their Android app and 500X times smaller than their iOS app. As a result, they saw a 68% increase in their traffic in Tier II and Tier III  cities.

It’s results like these that web apps have taken over traditional native apps. They’re cheaper, more secure, more reliable, and offer way too much of an upside for businesses to ignore.

Here’s a summarised table that’ll show you how web apps have been transforming businesses by helping them achieve their various goals:

Existing challengesGoalPotentail web app solutionReal-life examples
Limited online visibility Establishing digital presenceA web portal that lets a business connect with customersGCBF, a UK based loan provider needed a web application that makes it easier to apply for loans and lets GCBF track, approve, and disburse business loans to the eligible businesses. They built a web app that automated and simplified the entire process for both GCBF and their customers.
Limited revenue and stagnant growthUnlocking new  revenue streamsTo build a subscription-based SaaS web app that turns in monthly recurring revenueMonzo, a UK-based digital bank, decided to build a web app that allows users to manage their finances seamlessly and offers subscription-based premium features to generate additional revenue streams.
Limited reach Expand an established businessMove from an on-premise infrastructure to cloud-based web app Vertual Ltd, a medical training company was facing hurdles in delivering training because their users needed to install their software on desktops with high-end hardware specifications. They created a SaaS-based web application “VERT on Demand” that let users access the training app remotely and virtually, hence fixing the installation problem.
Inefficient legacy systems that risk errors, non-compliance, and data loss.Upgrade an underperforming software A web application with sophisticated features and automationLondon Women’s Clinic was struggling with the efficient provision of treatments for their patients because they were relying on a legacy MS Access based system to manage their operations. So they built an interactive web app “iMatch” that lets them manage, view, and update information about orders, treatments and their outcomes easily.
Manual tracking and error-prone processes hindering the entire organisationAutomating operations management An enterprise management web app with workflow automation featuresUnilever, a global consumer goods company, developed a web application for supply chain management to optimise inventory management, streamline logistics, and enhance collaboration with suppliers, resulting in cost savings and operational efficiency improvements.
Limited access to data and outdated analytics toolsEnhancing data analyticsA web-based analytics dashboard with real-time data visualisation and predictive analytics capabilities.Barclays, a multinational investment bank, developed a web-based analytics platform that leverages and analyses large datasets, identifies trends, and generates actionable insights for strategic decision-making and business optimisation.
Lack of visibility into adherence to compliance and security protocols in a regulated industryImproving regulatory complianceA web-based compliance management platform with audit trails, automated workflows, and regulatory reporting capabilitiesAlpaca is a UK-based company that aspired to make compliance easy for financial service firms. They built a web app solution that streamlines their compliance processes and adapts to evolving regulatory requirements in real-time.

With all of these benefits, the significance of building a web app becomes self-explanatory.

However, the choice of the development approach of the web app plays a crucial role in ensuring that these benefits will be realised.

So, let’s have a quick look at different types of development approaches in web app development.

What are the different types of web application development approaches?

The basic difference between the web development approaches is based on the complexity of the code required to achieve the functionality of the web app.

Programming languages, coding frameworks, and use cases for building web applications differ from each other.

Here’s a summarised table you can use to decide the right web development approach based on your use case:

Development approachUse caseCoding frameworks
Custom (traditional) web developmentComplex web application with extensive features (ERPs, real-time collaboration tools, SaaS platforms, etc) that require:

• Highly interactive user interface with real-time updates
• Advanced business logic and database management system
• Data aggregation from various sources 
• Processing and visualising large amounts of data for analytics purposes
• Scalability to handle multiple tenants, complex data models
• Personalisation and customisations
Frontend framework examples:
• React.js
• Angular
• Vue.js

Backend framework examples:
• Node.js
• Django (Python)
• Ruby on Rails

Full-stack framework examples:
• Meteor, MEAN (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, Node.js)
• MERN (MongoDB, Express.js, React, Node.js)
Low-code platformsSimple business applications where businesses want to speed up development and reduce the technical barrier, for instance:

• Validating business ideas with MVPs and prototypes
• Creating customer portals for basic user interaction
• Automating organisational tasks and workflows
• Building internal tools for analysis, reporting, and project management
• Managing field operations, scheduling, and maintenance
Low-code development tools examples:
• OutSystems
• Microsoft Power Apps
• Bubble 
• Adalo
• Salesforce Lightning
• Zoho Creator, etc.
No-code platformsWeb apps and websites for individuals or small businesses lacking coding expertise, minimising dependence on technical resources:

• Personal or small corporate business websites
• Simple content websites, blogs, or digital portfolios
• Directory websites with searchable databases and filters
• Simple e-commerce apps with basic functionalities such as product listings, shopping carts, and payment processing
• Marketing and landing pages to A/B test various layouts to optimise conversion rates
No-code platforms examples: 
• Bubble and Airtable for database websites
• Wix and Squarespace for small corporate websites
• Shopify and BigCommerce for eCommerce apps
• WordPress, Weebly, and Webflow for content management systems (CMS) 

How do low-code/no-code and custom web apps compare against each other?

When choosing between the different types of web application development process, you have to take various aspects of development into account.

Apart from time and cost, several other aspects need to be considered that have a significant impact on the development journey.

Here’s a quick comparison of the top aspects that you should consider, and how they compare against each other.

In the table below, the check mark determines whether a specific aspect of development is dominant in a low-code/no-code approach or a custom web application development process.

Let’s have a look:

Aspect of developmentLow-Code/No-CodeCustom Web App DevelopmentArgument
Speed of development✔️Low-code/no-code platforms can be built using pre-made modules and templates and can be developed faster.
Ease of ese✔️Low-code/no-code are less complex than custom web apps and are easier for a non-technical person to develop.
Maintenance✔️Low-code/no-code is low maintenance because the maintenance is usually carried out by the platform used to build the app.
Upfront cost✔️Low-code/no-code has a low upfront cost because the code used to build the app is minimal.
Cost of ownership✔️Custom web apps don’t need a monthly subscription to stay active and most operations are a simple one-time fee.
Performance✔️Custom web application development offers optimised performance tailored to specific business requirements, ensuring efficient operation and a seamless user experience.
Customisation✔️Custom development provides unlimited innovation possibilities, allowing businesses to implement unique features, functionalities and user interface that drive competitive advantage.
Flexibility✔️Custom web application development allows for complete customisation, offering tailored solutions that meet specific business needs and adapt to evolving requirements.
Scalability✔️Custom web apps are built on scalable architectures, ensuring they can accommodate growing user bases and increasing demands without limitations.
Low-code/no-code vs custom web apps: A comparison

The table shows that the choice of web application development approach is not as straightforward as it seems.

You have to review your long-term vision for the web app and choose a development approach accordingly.

Choosing the right development approach

When embarking on web application development, it’s crucial to align your approach with your long-term vision. Here’s a breakdown to help you make the right choice:

  • Validating market viability of new ideas: When exploring the commercial viability of nascent ideas, leverage low-code/no-code platforms to swiftly construct prototypes. This enables a cost-effective methodology for gauging market receptivity, allowing for informed decisions on further investment based on empirical user feedback and market demand.
  • Scaling proven business models: When scaling a proven business model, custom development is key. It offers the flexibility to develop unique features and integrate complex systems that are critical for sustaining growth and handling increased user load.
  • Innovative applications with unique value propositions: For truly innovative ideas aiming to disrupt the market, custom development is essential. It enables the creation of unique, market-leading features and user experiences that cannot be replicated with off-the-shelf solutions.
  • Building internal business tools: For developing internal tools (e.g., inventory management, HR portals), low/no-code solutions can provide the necessary functionality with minimal coding, enabling fast deployment and easy maintenance.
  • Data-intensive applications: Custom development is crucial for applications that require handling large volumes of data, ensuring data security, and integrating advanced data analytics and machine learning algorithms for personalised user experiences.
  • Customer-facing apps with brand significance: Custom development is preferred for applications that serve as a key touchpoint with customers and need to reflect the brand’s identity. It allows for full customisation of the user experience and interface.
  • Integration-heavy apps: For applications that require extensive integration with existing systems, databases, or third-party services, custom development provides the necessary flexibility and control to ensure seamless integration and data flow.
  • Regulated industries and compliance-driven applications: In sectors such as finance, healthcare, and legal, where compliance and data protection are paramount, custom development is essential. It allows for adherence to industry-specific regulations and security standards.
  • Long-term platform development with evolving features: For platforms expected to evolve and expand over time, custom development is advisable. It supports a modular architecture, making it easier to add, modify, or retire features as market demands evolve, ensuring the platform remains competitive and relevant.

To sum it all up, the following table shows when you should use a low-code/no-code development approach solution against a custom development approach.

FeaturesLow-Code/No-Code Web AppsCustom Developed Web Apps
Upfront costLowHigher
Lifetime costHigherLower
Solution flexibilityGeneric/TemplatedInnovative/Tailored
Control over the appPartialFull
Customization optionsMinimalMaximum
Development timeQuickLonger
Integration capabilitiesLimitedExtensive
Support and maintenanceLimitedFlexible
Adaptability to complex needsLimitedVersatile

On top of that, there’s also one top reason that makes choosing a custom web app development approach almost a no-brainer over the low-code/no-code.

Let’s have a look.

When and why custom web apps outshine low/no-code solutions 

No doubt that low-code/no-code apps can be developed fast and have comparatively cheaper upfront costs.

But when choosing their over custom-developed app, it comes down to one massive downside that diminishes their usefulness i.e. “platform dependability”.

You see, if you want to use a low code/no code approach to build a web app, you’ll have to use third-party platforms such as Bubble, Webflow, Shopify etc. 

You can never afford to lose control because third-party platforms can:

  • Disable your accounts
  • Ban your transactions
  • Refuse to share data
  • Hurt your reputation

On the other hand, using a traditional approach, you can:

  • Keep 100% control of your app
  • Manage your transactions
  • Secure your data
  • Protect your reputation

Now, there’s no arguing that custom web and app development can be time-consuming, which is their biggest downside.

But, if there was a way to reduce the time consumption in custom web app development massively, that problem could also be eliminated.

Luckily, there is a method called the ‘Agile approach to web app development’ that significantly reduces the time for development and increases the effectiveness as well.

Agile approach for fast and effective web app development

If your business demands quick and adaptable solutions, the Agile development approach is the answer to deliver feasible results quickly and meet your expectations.

Agile is all about flexibility and efficiency. Instead of delivering the entire project at the end, we break it down into smaller, manageable parts. Each part is delivered in a short cycle called a sprint, typically lasting a couple of weeks.

You don’t have to wait months to see progress. After each development stage or sprint, you get a working part of the application. This approach also allows us to adjust as we go, ensuring the final product meets your needs.

At GoodCore, we consider the Agile approach of web app development the cornerstone of our process to build world-class web apps for our clients saving them time and money.

A case in point: How Agile approach helped us consistently deliver quality results for EchoVision

EchoVision, a U.S. company specialising in briefing and event management software, reached out to us in 2012. They were facing significant challenges with their flagship SaaS product, BriefingSource. 

The platform, initially developed by a previous outsourcing partner, experienced severe performance issues making it unreliable and prone to inaccuracies, jeopardising EchoVision’s relationship with its Fortune 100 clients. 

To address these issues and accommodate the fast-paced nature of the BriefingSource project, we employed the Agile methodology. This allowed us to adapt quickly to changing requirements and deliver incremental value throughout the development process. 

Our team followed a structured approach that involved detailed project planning, resource allocation, milestone tracking, and regular progress reporting. By combining agility with effective project management practices, we ensured smooth execution, maintained project timelines, managed risks efficiently, and delivered the solution within budget.

Get top-notch web apps developed through Goodcore 

To build a web app, you need a world-class team of developers.

Currently, 97% of IT leaders acknowledge that they struggle to find talented developers for their teams.

Lucky for you, GoodCore is here to support your talent needs and can build web applications for your specific business needs, so you don’t have to waste time worrying about finding developers and can focus on operating and growing your business.

Ranked as a #1 development agency by Clutch.co, GoodCore is here to support your web application development journey.

Seeking a top-tier, intuitive, and high-performance web application? Count on us to deliver, meeting your expectations and deadlines.

See our Services


Why would you develop a web application?

Developing a web application is ideal for reaching a wide audience as it can be accessed from any device with internet access, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers. This accessibility leads to improved user engagement and convenience. Additionally, web applications can be updated and maintained centrally, eliminating the need for users to manually update their software, and easing the management of cross-platform compatibility.

How much does it cost to build a web app?

The cost of building a web application varies widely, depending on factors such as the complexity of the app, the design requirements, the number of features, the technology stack used, and the geographic location of the developers. Please check our pricing page to get indicative pricing for different types of web solutions. 

Web apps vs websites: what is the difference?

Web applications and websites differ primarily in functionality and user interaction. Websites generally consist of static content, are informational and often do not require user interaction beyond navigating between pages or shopping in the case of an e-commerce website. On the other hand, web applications are interactive, dynamic platforms that allow users to perform tasks, manipulate data, and interact with complex functionalities. While both run in web browsers, web apps typically provide more personalised and engaging experiences, requiring back-end processing, user authentication, and data handling capabilities.

Is it cheaper to build an app or website?

Generally, building a website can be cheaper than developing a web app, especially for basic or informational websites. Websites often require less complex programming and fewer resources compared to web apps.

What should I consider when choosing a cloud hosting provider for my web app?

When selecting a cloud hosting provider for your web app, consider factors like scalability, reliability, and security. Evaluate the web server provider’s ability to scale resources to match fluctuating demands, ensuring uninterrupted service. Check their uptime records and redundancy measures to gauge reliability. Lastly, assess their security protocols and compliance with relevant data protection regulations to safeguard your application and user data. This strategic choice can significantly impact your app’s performance and customer satisfaction.

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Tags : web app development

The author hareem

Hareem is a freelance writer with 4 years of experience in the tech and SaaS space. She has a knack for turning technical jargon into engaging stories and has helped many companies convey their brand message with clarity and impact. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with family or trying out new recipes in the kitchen.

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