Web Development vs Software Development: What Businesses Need to Know

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Difference between web app development and software development

Bill Gates once famously said, “If your business is not on the internet then your business will be out of business”.  Just about every business, big or small, has come to this realization. However, here is a catch: when entrepreneurs or SMEs want to develop a tech solution for their organization, they get confused at times about whether they need a software development company or a web development company.

This confusion is because of the nature of things in our connected world. Almost all products and services are available on the internet. In fact, most software programs have web applications that use the internet for easy access. However, web development and software development are two different beasts and serve different technology needs.

The difference between software development and web app development 

Both of them run on specific code and both use the internet. But the commonality stops here. In brief, the defining difference between the two is as below:

Software development is the process of creating complex software programs for desktop or mobile devices. These solutions are usually developed using specific programming languages and are usually aimed at business needs.

Web development, on the other hand, is the coding involved in creating user-facing interfaces, specifically websites, that are accessed on the internet.

There is more to it than this and so let’s dive deep.

Software Development vs Web Development

What is web development and when do you need it? 

Web development can be as simple as developing a static business website or as complex as developing a gaming portal or an eCommerce platform. Essentially web development involves building an interlinked series of webpages that are served under a single domain name and can be globally accessed on the internet.

While there are UI (User interface) and UX (user experience) designers involved in designing the interface, the web developers are usually concerned with coding and not designing. There are two components in web development – the client side and the server side.

  • The client-side of web development is every element that is visible on the front-end i.e. webpage elements that a user can interact with. A front-end web developer will know HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  • The server-side is the backend where the requests or ‘interactions’ from the user on the front-side are sent to the server, the request is interpreted and the information is sent back. Server-side application development uses many programming languages such as SQL for interacting with databases, Python (an object-oriented programming language) etc.

Web developers who have the expertise to work both on the front and back end are called full-stack developers.