A reader read our article on the LunaPic photo editor and wanted to know where she could download it.  You can click here to learn more about LunaPic.

The answer to that question is that you can’t download it. LunaPic is what is called a web app. Instead of downloading and running on your PC, you go online and access it using a browser. You upload the files you want to edit to your account on the app’s server, do the work, and either leave them there or download your finished work to your PC.

lunapic-upload

Another example of a web app is Canva, a graphics program that I very much enjoy using. Other examples of web apps are the interfaces you use to access email programs like Gmail, Outlook online, and Yahoo Mail with a browser. Google Docs and the whole Google Drive office suite are very well-known web apps.

google-drive-share-folder

The platform I use to maintain this website is a web app. One of the benefits of web apps is that you can get to your stuff no matter what device you’re using. If I log onto Canva on my desktop and create a file, it will be just as I left it when I open up my laptop to work on it later. Some web apps like Google Docs can be accessed from PC or Mac, phone, or tablet. You can just pick up where you left off and access any file.

Another advantage of web apps is that the same program works across multiple operating systems. I can use Canva on a PC, Mac, or Linux system. The same goes for Google Docs.

Web apps can be either free, paid, or offer a combination of some free and some paid services. If there is a fee, usually it is subscription-based.

The downside is that you need to be online to access the service and you’ll want a stable Internet connection. Also, if the service decides to stop providing the app, you’re out of luck. It’s just gone. Normally companies do give a fair amount of notice before shutting them down.

The proliferation of web apps has led to the popularity of devices like the Chromebook which have very little hard drive space and don’t use traditional programs. Instead, these devices focus on web apps. They’re very popular for classrooms since they don’t require installing and maintaining programs on individual computers.