What is the difference between a web app and a website?

I've just dove into Rails/Ruby for a class and wtf is the difference? I feel like calling a site on the internet an 'app' is misleading. Don't apps have to run naively on the machine?

Or is it a semantic issue? Where web apps have the CRUD data manipulation that persists across devices and sessions?

1 thought on “What is the difference between a web app and a website?”

  1. The terms are used interchangeably depending on who you talk to. But as a rule, [really more of a guideline](https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-3GwSbX-tpl8/U7R9mbaYu6I/AAAAAAAAAR8/xj7zuTTszY4/s640/blogger-image-1782337503.jpg) the term app is more appropriate for a a hosted interactive program that provides an API or UI for doing “something”. Operative word “doing” here. It’s there to serve a purpose other than pure information. Think of it this way, if you had a program you ran locally then re-implemented it in Rails and hosted it online then it’s a web app. If you have a site that you go to for information (like Reddit) or a brochure site it’s more of a website. The brochure site might not have any interactive capabilities at all and be served strictly from HTML. It’s the sign post of programming. It just stands there and people look at it. Reddit is obviously doing more than just serving information but in the context of my current use and the context I’m using it it’s little more than a website (and we know that there’s a lot actually going on under the UI but that’s hidden from my context).

    Web apps can be websites. Websites can be webapps. It’s all about context so don’t stress out too much over the semantics.


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