Client Server Application vs Web Application
Client/server application and web application are two types of applications that are used in the world of web. The applications that run on the client side and access the remote server is called client/server applications whereas applications that run completely on the browser are called web applications.
A piece of software application that runs on the client or the user side and make requests to the server or access information from it is called client-server application. High-level languages are used to write these applications which include business logic, forms and user interface. Most applications of this type have a database and they make queries from this database stored on the remote server.
A client-server application can be platform specific or it can also be cross platform if a cross platform programming language is used. The advantage of using a cross platform language is that the application looks native to the platform or the operating system of the client.
Every client-server application must be installed on the client’s computer. This can be a very easy job or it may take hours to install the application as it depends on the application’s complexity, care taken by the developer while packaging it and the platform in which it is written.
These applications can run on the user’s computer or there may be some kind of VNC, Citrix or terminal server that works with the operating system in order to provide robust, powerful, easy to use and rich interface.
An application that runs completely on the user’s browser is called a web application. An interface similar to client-server application is provided to the user in a web application and the user interacts with in same manner as the client-server application.
A web application can provide the same functionality similar to client-server application. As these applications run on the browser so they can run on any platform or operating system having a web browser. For example, a word processor can also be a web application that may allow the users to download data into their hard disk drives.
Yahoo mail and Gmail clients are examples of powerful web applications and much of the sophistication is provided by AJAX that is used to create more responsive web applications. Other examples of next-gen web applications include WebEx, WebOffice, Microsoft Office Live and Google Apps.
Difference between client-server application and web application
• In a client-server application, the user interacts with the server through a user interface or application that is installed on the client side whereas in a web application, the user interacts with it through the web browser.
• A client-server application must be installed on the client’s machine whereas this is not the case with a web application as it runs on the browser only.
• Some client-server applications run only on specific platforms whereas web applications are platform independent as they only need a web browser for their working.
• Examples of client-server applications include Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo messenger, Windows Live etc while examples of web application are Google Apps, Gmail, Yahoo mail and Microsoft Office Live.