Real-time Web Apps - a new trend or a necessity?

In the world of rushing people, time became one of the most valuable assets of all. People need services to be faster and more efficient. Nobody wants to wait anymore for things to be done. As to websites and apps, the ones that take too long to load or transfer information are not in favor anymore.

Thankfully, real-time app technologies bring a whole new experience. They transmit the information instantaneously, as they are directly connected to the server. Unlike the conventional apps, real-time ones don’t need to wait for a server reply.

These technologies show any changes made by other users or admins on the server right away. If something changes on the client side, the server decides if the user should be notified. All of this helps to save time and effort in performing some of the day-to-day tasks. Good examples of real-time web apps are messengers, online games, or any other apps where the information is pushed instantly.

Real-time Web Apps – a new trend or a necessity?

What are the real-time apps used for?

While most of us think of the real-time as something created for entertainment, there is actually more to it. The application for these technologies is quite widespread and is still growing. Some of the existing apps are already used by us on a daily basis. However, some others are still not widely known. Communication and social media apps are probably the most widespread examples of this software. You can send and receive instant messages with the apps. They allow you to share pictures, geolocations, leave audio messages.

All of these actions happen right away, without delay. And using such apps became a very important part of our lives. For those who need to be always connected, real-time technologies are especially valuable. So, let’s see which applications have topped the industry and how they can bring benefit to us.

  • Murally is an application which allows teams to communicate online using murals. The murals, digital walls containing various information, can be used to share media, texts, or interact with each other. The information sharing is easily managed by dragging and dropping links or files from anywhere on the web. All the changes are shown to the participants instantly.
  • Firepad is an open-source text editor. What’s great about it except for it being free, is that it can be embedded into your own applications. The app supports text editing, highlighting, undoing and redoing, version checkpointing. Moreover, several people can work on one text or code together. Firepad works in most popular browsers and has no server dependencies. That’s why it is much easier to use than most of the other text editors. You can also collaborate with product creators to add something valuable.
  • Caplin Trader is a real-time app for stock trading and monitoring. The application provides real-time data for high frequency trading. Thus, you can see charts, grids, news, and trade tiles within the application. The amount of information being processed is amazing. The software is created by Caplin Systems, one of the first companies who adopted the real-time technology. One can use a pre-set configuration or customize the app to their liking.
  • UserVoice is a customer support helpdesk. The app helps support teams to track their customers’ issues and assist with the tickets quickly and easily. The tickets can be filtered in the real-time, allowing for a better prioritization. Additionally, a feedback mechanism is available, to track the reviews from satisfied customers.
  • Browser Meeting is a web application that helps people chat with voice and video. The app can work for multiple users. There are quite few similar applications, like GoToMeeting, Join me, Zoom, Blue Jeans, etc. Most of them have similar features. Those include video and audio calls, conference calls, screen sharing, chats. Some also allow joining a call from a phone instead of a computer. This makes collaboration between teams faster and better.
  • Social Media & Communication applications. We couldn’t possibly skip those. There are too many of them to mention each separately, but they definitely deserve a place in this list. Of course, we mean apps like Facebook, Skype, Twitter, WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, and so on. We use them every day on our phones, tablets, or PCs. We get instant notifications about messages or anything happening on the web. The apps allow chatting, media sharing, audio & video calls, etc. Most of us can’t imagine their lives without those apps anymore.
  • LazyFeed is a service allowing to discover content that you like with less effort. With its help, you can find blog posts, web pages or anything else on the web without any spam links on your way. So, it’s a win-win situation. You are getting useful and interesting stuff in real time. Another similar service is YourVersion. It has almost the same feature set and helps you to find the content fast.
  • Online games are one more valuable type of the real-time apps. It’s hard to pick one, as there are so many of them. The information in such games is transferred instantly and updates are performed right away. Also, these apps often allow chatting between users, or making audio calls. The game industry is extremely vast and keeps adding new features constantly. Some games are played all over the world by multiple users. So, the instant communication is extremely important for them.
  • GoInStore is an app that connects customers to the music store and its staff. This way they can pick what they need and get help with any uprising questions. The staff is wearing glasses or special headsets to show customers around and assist them. They can’t see the customers but can only hear them, while customers can see the assistant as well as the store. This way a virtual presence is established for a better experience. Moreover, the same company has recently introduced “Adaptive Store” for clothing recommendations.
  • Commuter Hive is a real-time crowdsourcing application, which provides information on the transport connections. It can even track customers traveling to the same destination and suggest them shared fares. It suggests taxi fares according to the information it receives from the train stations.

How Are Real-time Apps Developed?

Real-time web applications are not related to any specific language or framework. As the rest of the applications, they can be built with any language you are comfortable with. Many of the apps are built with JavaScript and NodeJS but the choice is definitely not limited to that. However, one thing that is essential is the real-time API. The API is required to ensure that your application will be actually working with instant update provided.

There are four main mechanisms used by the real-time API:

  • WebSockets are used to connect a client to the server and establish a bidirectional message pipe.
  • HTTP Streaming deals with requests made by clients. It delivers requests to servers and responses of an indefinite length back to clients.
  • HTTP Long-polling is required when a request was made by the client but a server takes some time to respond.
  • Webhooks are required when a service makes an HTTP request to receiver URL. However, for this to work, the receiver should run an HTTP server.

How Are Real-time Apps Developed?

The various APIs provide various possibilities for development. Yet, some of them are more complex than the others and may cause the issues during the process. Quite a few of the APIs are available for free and have communities working to improve them constantly.

One of framework examples for real-time development is Meteor. This is a JavaScript framework fitting for both web and mobile development. The JS developers grew to like it quite a while ago as with its help you can build the applications rapidly and easily. But now, they realized it’s also a great solution for creating real-time apps. Meteor gives an opportunity to concentrate on the functionality of the app. Some other perks of this framework include it being easy to install, easy to learn, and providing instant updates during coding.

The great thing about building real-time web apps is that you can use already existing solutions in most cases. You don’t have to do everything from scratch. There are various platforms providing customizable apps for various use. The advantages are that you spend less time and get a great support from the community behind the application. Besides, you get other people improving the product constantly.

There is quite a big range of companies providing real-time web apps development services. All of them, of course, use different instruments and technologies. So, when choosing a partner for your application, you might want to pay attention to the experience of the team and check if their methods fit your needs. Since apps can be built in any language, the main focus should be on the features of your future application.


All in all, real-time applications can be used in any field of life. In fact, we are getting more and more use out of them as they are being introduced into various industries. The expression “time is money” has never been more accurate than now. As consumers, we are getting more impatient and demand products that are working faster and with more efficiency. That’s why the speed of the applications became so important.

At CyberCraft, we understand the importance of this, helping you to create an amazing product for your customers. Our team of highly-skilled professionals will support you at every working stage from planning to final release. And later on, we will be happy to assist you with the support of your application.

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