What is a Web App?

Late one night, restlessly pouring over my feeds, I came across this contest. I didn’t have a handy html5 app or chrome extension to enter, but the third option required no preparatory work: Tell us how you would explain what a “web app” is to your grandmother.

My grandmother passed away a few years ago, and honestly I don’t think she ever got a chance to really use a computer. When I visited her as a child, I never brought my computer, or got technical with her. Instead, we sat eating stale popcorn and watching Gunsmoke reruns and The Price Is Right. During it all, she knitted constantly. From afghans to sweaters to warm winter hats and mittens, she pumped out garments all year long. I was reminded of this, and wrote the following entry:

When you pull out your iPod and hit the Knit Buddy button to manage your needles and yarn, that’s what we call an “app”. Now, let’s say you’re at the yarn store and you need to access your yarn and needle inventory to figure out what you need to buy for your latest creation. You realize you forgot your iPod at home. There’s no easy way to get access to the information you stored there. You could drive home and get your iPod, but it’s a long way. You could call Grandpa and attempt to have him look up the information, but what if he’s napping, or has the TV turned up too loud again? What if you could access your knitting inventory from your iPod, or your friends phone, or by the store’s computer? That’s what we call a “web app”. Instead of being stuck running an “app” on a single device, and having your information locked to that device, you run a “web app” on any device attached to the web, and you can access your information anywhere.

Now I did take a little poetic license here, and I assumed that my grandmother at least understood what an iPod and the internet were. Who knows; if she had lived a little longer, I may have gotten around to explaining them to her.

In any event, while I didn’t win the grand prize, I did have my entry published.

One Response to “What is a Web App?”

  1. Grammy would have loved this!

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