When most people think of an app, they think of mobile applications– something they can download on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Others may think of computer applications that they use on a regular basis at home or work. What many may not consider, however, are web based applications. With the majority of computer owners downloading an internet browser as their first app, and with Google Chrome having one of the largest pool of active users among all desktop/laptop applications, it’s no doubt that web apps are on the rise.
The common notion that the actual programming portion of an application is the hardest is quite wrong– the difficulty comes with the thought process of structuring your application, designing a user friendly interface, and narrowing down your ideas. As with most application development, creating a web app starts with blueprinting your ideas. This can either be hand drawn sketches in a notebook, or even a digital prototype through mockup platforms. If you own a Mac, we recommend Sketch, otherwise you can use online services such as Marvel App, Invision, Proto.io, or Origami Studio. All of these platforms simply serve to turn your ideas into well designed prototypes that you can eventually begin developing into an actual application. We also suggest referring to Google’s beautifully structured Material Design.
Google must definitely love web apps– not only do they push out a lot of web based products, but they also provide plenty of resources for you to create your own. In late 2014, Google acquired Firebase, a platform that supplies databases, web hosting, and all the other tools and infrastructure you need to create an app. Using Firebase’s free hosting service, you can get your web app live in a matter of minutes. If you’d like, you can even purchase a domain from Google Domains to connect to your Firebase project. After you’ve done a soft launch with test users and worked out the kinks in your app through various iterations– you’ll have a market ready web application that you can share with the world.