October 19, 2021
0 min read

Web development vs app development: Choose the best for your business

Web development vs app development: Choose the best for your business.png

Mobile phones continue to gain market share. People use them more and more to do tasks they once sat at the computer to accomplish. Not too many years ago nobody would try and book a flight on their phone. Now this type of activity is common. The rise of apps caused part of this shift.

We cannot forget desktop users, however. For many, the desktop is still the preferred way to work and shop. If your company wants to build a new app, you will still need a website to promote it. You will need content optimized for search engines. Websites help educate and convert new users and build the brand. Let’s take a closer look at both app development and web development.

What is the difference between app development and web development?

App development means creating an application for download to a smartphone or tablet device. The development team creates an app in code for a specific platform. Apple's iOS and Android currently hold the most market share. Users download apps from an app store. The apps have access to system resources like GPS and the camera, if the user opts in. Instagram, Google Maps, Words with Friends, and Uber are all apps.

Developers create web apps in a different way. They code web apps using HTML, javascript, Python and CSS. The end-user accesses web apps through their browser. They can do this on a mobile device or desktop computer. Web apps do not require download or installation. Web apps require an internet connection to function.

Learn more in our web app development guide.

Mobile app development costs more than web development. Software development teams must code their app for each platform (iOS or Android) from scratch. App developers create apps for iOS using Objective-C or Swift. For Android, they use Android Studio or Eclipse IDE. Google and Apple have released Software Development Kits (SDKs) to help developers. SDKs include reusable elements like libraries and code samples.

Learn more on what are the best languages to develop an app in 2022.

Web developers have different tools. They use code editing programs like Adobe Dreamweaver. They have access to a wide variety of templates and standards. Web apps take less time to build. They usually cost much less to create than mobile apps.

You might be also interested in: Outsource web development in 2021 and beyond: benefits & tips

Pros and cons of mobile applications


  • Faster than web apps

  • Increased functionality

  • Work without an internet connection


  • More expensive than web apps

  • More time-to-market as developers code for both iOS and Android

  • Maintenance and updates prove costly

  • Privacy concerns (App Stores keep a record of downloads)

  • Must get approval from Apple or Google to get into the app stores

Pros and cons of web applications


  • No download or installation required

  • Easy maintenance

  • Faster time-to-market, faster to create

  • No store approval required

  • Maintenance costs less than mobile apps


  • Fewer features than a mobile app

  • Slower than mobile app

  • Won’t function offline

A third way: Progressive web apps

Progressive web apps (PWAs)  fall somewhere in the middle of a mobile app and web app. They have more functionality than a typical web app. Because of developments in browser caching, users can access a progressive web app while offline. From a UX standpoint, Progressive apps behave more like a mobile app. The API connectivity proves a bit limited compared to mobile apps. Progressive web apps, like standard web apps, don’t require installation or approval from Apple or Google. Progressive web apps offer the best of both worlds: flexibility, ease-of-use and speed. They don’t have features like push notifications. Progressive web apps also have to perform within the constraints of the browser. Companies that have used progressive web apps have reported better engagement numbers than with a standard responsive website.

Read more about web development and how AI is shaping it.

Which is better app development or web development?

Mobile app development requires platform-specific coding.  Developers use Integrated Development Environments  (IDEs) to code their apps. They must code their apps for both Android and Apple if they want to have a large audience of users.

Web apps require HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Python. Many users prefer web apps when they are not positive they want to download the app. Web apps give users a chance to test-drive the app before they make the commitment and give up hard drive space for the app.

The number of app downloads has steadily increased. According to Statista, users downloaded 208 billion apps in 2020. In 2016, they downloaded 140 billion apps. The revenue generated by apps also shows steady growth.  By 2023, Statista estimates apps will generate over $935 in revenue.

All this means that companies seeking to increase their customer base must choose a hybrid approach. They cannot create just a web app or a mobile app. Rather, they should seek to meet their users wherever they might connect from. Users connecting from a mobile device will appreciate a dedicated mobile app. Users spend 90% of their time on mobile using apps. Desktop computers still hold an important place, however.  In the end, the question should not boil down to web or mobile. In most cases, businesses need to anticipate all sorts of engagement. They need to be ready for desktop, mobile, tablet and future states.

Seeking project ideas for your business? Check out the 16 Web application ideas article.

Web and app development with Blocshop

Here at Blocshop, we know app development, both for web apps and mobile apps. Our experts create responsive web apps that scale to desktop and mobile devices. Our teams harness the power of Agile. We have mastered the project budgeting process and help our customers reduce costs up to 30%. Read more about the process that we’ll use to estimate the cost of your software development project and reach out for custom cost calculation in case you already have a project idea in mind.

Check out our recent case study on app development for Fairphone, a company that designs, develops and produces smartphones with a lower environmental impact.

Learn more from our insights

0-4 cover.png
October 03, 2023

IT Staffing: Individual Hiring vs. Specialized Developer Teams

Should you hire individual developers or go for a specialized, custom-built developer team?

July 17, 2023

ChatGPT-3.5: An Overview and Limitations

In this article, we'll take a closer look at the capabilities and limitations of ChatGPT-3.5, providing you with a comprehensive overview of what it can do and what its boundaries are. So, let's delve into the inner workings of this large language model.

gpt4 vs gpt3-5 and the key differnces.png
June 15, 2023

A Deep Dive into GPT-4 vs GPT-3.5 Differences and Ability to Revolutionize Software Development

There are key differences between ChatGPT-3.5 and ChatGPT-4 that software developers and companies procuring software solutions alike should be aware of. Let's see how these differences affect the output generated by these models on specific examples.

May 09, 2023

AI-powered software development: What CTOs need to know in 2023

As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace in 2023 and beyond, CTOs must stay ahead of the curve by utilizing predictive analytics, automated testing processes, and deployment solutions.

May 05, 2023

How Artificial Intelligence is changing web development

AI technology is now being used in many different industries, including web development. It’s important to understand the impact that AI can have on web development as it can help companies to create more efficient and user-friendly websites.

May 05, 2023

How AI-powered software development is changing the role of the CTO

As AI-powered software development becomes increasingly commonplace, CTOs must prepare themselves to take on a new set of responsibilities that require more than just technical know-how.

April 17, 2023

How to build a minimum viable product (MVP)

The MVP is the version of a new product that allows Blocshop and your team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least amount of effort. The essence of your core idea is delivered as a barebones solution. The solutions is, however, sufficient for usage by early adopters. As a product, it has tangible qulities that express a look and feel.

March 21, 2023

10 AI tools for developers you should know about in 2023

For developers, programmers, and data scientists, AI coding solutions can free up thinking time, allowing such professionals to focus on the fundamentals of their projects, and complete such projects much faster.

February 14, 2023

17 Ideas for Web Apps in 2023

Gazillions of web apps and ideas for web apps are floating around the metaverse - so creating one that properly represents a unique brand is a huge challenge. Our list provides a number of areas of simple app ideas to help businesses transform their online presence through a web app.

Top 15 micro-SaaS ideas for your startup in 2023.png
December 06, 2021

Top 15 micro-SaaS ideas for your startup in 2022

What exactly do we mean by micro SaaS? Micro Saas solutions use a web browser or mobile app interface. Micro SaaS solutions usually come about through the effort of an individual or very small team. It aims to solve precise problems. Micro SaaS projects have small budgets and overhead. Customers use Micro SaaS solutions on a monthly or yearly subscription basis. Micro SaaS projects target a small niche of the consumer market.

Software engineer hourly rates in 2021 (based on experience and location).png
November 22, 2021

Software engineer hourly rates in 2022 (based on experience and location)

Region influences salary more than any other factor. Taxes rates, cost of living, and government benefit programs affect the rates software developers charge. Software developers in the USA  and Canada earn more than software developers in other countries.

The best programming languages for app development in 2022.png
November 15, 2021

The best programming languages for app development in 2022

Software developers usually have three main ways to create an app. They can choose to code a native app, a hybrid app or a progressive web app. Developers create native apps to function on one specific platform, usually either iOS or Android. They create these apps using Swift or Objective C for iOS. For Android they use C++, Kotlin or several other languages. 

Cross-platform mobile app development: Tools & frameworks for 2022.png
November 09, 2021

Cross-platform mobile app development: Tools & frameworks for 2022

The cross-platform development project aims to create apps compatible with several operating systems. Cross-platform apps work on iOS, Android, and Windows. Cross-platform apps look and feel like apps developed specifically for the operating system.

App development cost breakdown in 2022.png
November 08, 2021

App development cost breakdown in 2022

Your business needs an app, but you aren’t sure about the cost of creating an app. Without some figures, you can’t even begin to estimate the potential budget, so let’s get you sorted with the information you need to make your app a reality.

November 04, 2021

Web app development: a detailed guide

The best web apps give a responsive and engaging user experience through a browser instead of a single application. Think of web app development as a super-charged website. Web apps have many features of mobile apps coded for iOS or Android without the need to code for specific platforms. Developers create web apps using HTML, javascript, Python and CSS.

15 useful web app development tools for 2021.png
October 29, 2021

15 useful web app development tools for 2022

Web development vs app development: Choose the best for your business.png
October 19, 2021

Web development vs app development: Choose the best for your business

Outsource web development in 2021 and beyond: benefits & tips.png
October 15, 2021

Outsource web development in 2021 and beyond: benefits & tips

8 IT outsourcing trends in 2022.png
October 11, 2021

8 IT outsourcing trends in 2022

More and more firms choose to outsource their IT operations and functions. IT outsourcing grows each year. The Gartner report announced that firms spent $3.8 billion dollars on IT outsourcing in 2019. They expect that the trend will continue. Companies aiming for digital transformation need partners and tools. They need tools that they cannot build in-house with speed and accuracy. 

In-house development vs outsourcing software development.png
October 01, 2021

In-house development vs outsourcing software development

Every business starting software development must ask themselves what will serve them better, in-house or outsourcing? There is not a simple answer to the question. Making the choice to develop in-house or to outsource will have long-term consequences.