Developers are often confused about the difference between Windows Applications and Web Applications. This chapter gives brief information about various types of computer applications and provides an introductions to web applications.
Different types of computer applications
It is very hard to divide applications into any strict categories. There is no clear definition exists to categorize computer applications. However, here is a small list of different types I can think of:
1. Embedded Systems
2. Windows applications (also called 'Desktop applications')
3. Web Applications
Have you ever used a digital diary (also called 'digital organiser') or a mobile phone ? Do you know when you save a name and address, how does it get saved in it?
It is a small computer program 'Embedded' in that device. It is similar to any small address book computer program that you can write using your favorite visual basic or c++. The only difference is, it is written using soem special language and 'embedded' into a chip in the device inside the mobile phone or digital diary.
If you find a bug in a regular computer program, you can simply write a better program, compile it and copy to your computer. But if you find a bug in your mobile phone's embedded program, you cannot copy it! The manufacturer has to embed the new program in a new chip and replace the chip in your mobile phone!!
If you don't know what is a 'Windows Application', probably you have never seen a computer. Almost any application you see on a desktop computer is called 'Windows Application'.
It is also called 'desktop applications' since they are mostly used in desktop computers.
Some common examples of desktop applications are:
1. Paint Brush program
2. Calculator program
3. MSN Messenger
4. Yahoo Messenger
The first three windows applications are written by some programmers sitting in Microsoft office and they give it free to all who buy Windows operating system. The Yahoo messenger is written by Yahoo programmers and they give it free to download from their web site.
If your neighbour ask you to write small 'Address book' application for his personal use, you are going to write a 'windows application'.
Now you must have a good idea of what is windows application.
I am sure you have seen atleast one web application! Do you know how I guessed it?
It was easy to guess. This tutorial is a web application and you are currently reading this tutorial from our web site (unless you copied it to somewhere...)
So, what is a web application ?
A web application is also called 'web site'. A web site is a collection of web pages hosted on a special computer called 'web server'.
Now you are reading this tutorial. This chapter is a page among several other pages part of our web application. The name of our web application is 'AspSpider.com'. This web site (web application) is running in our web server, which is located in a safe place in USA. You are a 'visitor' to our site and you are accessing our web application using a tool called 'Internet Explorer' (or, some other browser like Netscape etc). We don't know where you are (we have several ways to find it, which we will explain in some other chapter)
So, here is some interesting points about a web application:
- A web application is a collection of web pages.
- A web application needs a web server to run.
- Web server can be located anywhere and visitors need not be even in the same country of the web server.
- Visitors can access the web application using a tool called 'browser'. There are many browsers exists. Most widely used browser is 'Internet Explorer'. This is provided by Microsoft and it is free. Another famous free browser is 'Netscape'.
Hope this chapter gave a clear picture about web applications and how they are different from windows applications.