Software vs. Web Development: What’s the Difference?

There are two main types of developers in the development world. Those who work on desktop applications and those who work on web applications.  

As it is with most things tech-related, most companies have learned that the best bet is to leave your needs to an expert. Fortunately, the internet means you can do things even faster. You can reach out to a local web design company to create beautiful web content for you in no time at all.

For instance, if you’re from New York City, you can start by searching for the best web development agency NYC has to offer. Look at the way these web designer companies integrate resourceful content into the websites they design. The content could be in graphics, videos, written copy, and audio formats, yet, they deliver with great speed.

But what’s the difference between the two? What does each type of developer do? 

This article will go into detail about the differences between software and web development. It will also help you decide which type of development is right for you!

The Short Answer

Software applications are computer programs such as Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop. These apps find their use in specific operating systems, such as Windows or MacOS. 

On the other hand, you can access web applications via a web browser, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. These applications can work with any operating system with internet connection.

Both write codes and learn to program, but the major difference is in the programs they try to create.

What Are the Development Types?

Software Development

Software development is the creation of software components, frameworks, and applications. It involves the process of designing, programming, testing, specifying, and bug fixing.

Software development involves the maintenance and writing of source codes. It also includes modification, new development, research, prototyping, or maintenance of software products. Software is the program and other operating routines used by a computer. They are sets of instructions or data that tell the computer what to do.

Types of Software Development Areas

The creation of the term software was for differentiation. It is the set of instructions given to the physical components of the computer. The location of software is in external memory devices. 

The two software types are either:

  1. System Software

System software functions with the aid of the operating system. There are several types of system software. There are operating systems, device drivers, and application programs. Each type works hand in hand but has different functions.

  • Application Programs

These programs perform specialized tasks like accounting using spreadsheets. Some others are writing in a word processor, or drawing in a computer-aided program. As a result, these programs have the highest rating in system software.

  • Operating Systems

There are a set of programs that organize resources. Also, they control the running of programs on a computer system. Examples of these resources are monitors, keyboards, printers, and disk drives.

Sending and receiving messages while maintaining files is under a set of programs. These programs go by the name utilities or commands. These special programs work in close relation to the operating system. Application software works together with the operating system to carry out a specialized task.

  • Device Drivers

The device driver’s function assists the operating system and application program. It helps these software components carry out their specialized activities. They receive communication signals from hardware components.

  1. Application Software

These are programs that carry out special functions. The design for the use of these programs is for end-users. These functions could either be business or educational. Application software does not involve the operation of the computer.

There are several types of application software. Information worker software, educational software, entertainment software, and content access software are some examples.

Web Development

Web development is the procedure of building and bolstering websites. It could be for the internet (world wide web) or the intranet (a private network). These are the types of web development: front and back-end, as well as full-stack web development.

Image Credits: Pexels

Website development involves writing code for the website using programming languages. Some examples of these languages are HTML or XML. Whether it’s graphic development or design, it involves the integration of video, graphics, and audio into the website design.

Like software development, website designing is not easy. In fact, it’s also complicated. That’s why a trusted and certified web design company is recommended for excellent and custom-made website designs.

Types of Web Development

There are several types of web development, and they are;

  • Front-End Development

This form of website design deals with the client-side. This segment handles the visual aspect of what the user sees first on the website. It handles the facial outlook and the feel of the web design.

They deal with the integration of graphics, texts, objects, colors, and more. Also, they provide the layout of the website and the creation of applications with other items. Writing of web design programs is in various computer languages. These languages include JavaScript, CSS ( Cascading Style Sheets), and HTML (Hypertext Markup Language).

Website designers in this category debug applications, design codes, and design layouts.

There are important things to take note of in front-end development though. These are color theory, layouts, topography, and grid systems –– the designer must make sure that all these elements go well together in the final output.

  • Back-End Development

The server-side is the major priority of this website design. This aspect deals with the basic structure of the website design. Users do not see this section of the web design. It comprises codes that bring about communication between the database and the browser.

Back-end languages include JAVA, .NET, RUBY ON RAILS, PHP, Node.js, SQL, and PYTHON. 

The back-end comprises three parts: an application, a server, and a database. Website designers often focus on speed and efficiency.

  • Full-Stack Development

Here is a web designer who handles both front-end and back-end web development. A designer with a vast set of skills is a must in this field. The designers could interact with the client-side and handle API and database all at the same time. A web designer can handle UX/UI design, databases, and web servers.

Here’s a table detailing the comparison between software development and web development:

SubjectSoftware DevelopmentWeb Development
DesignSoftware design is simpleWeb design contains web content involving graphics
PerformanceSoftware applications perform better at file handling and gaming Web applications perform better at multi-user and centralization of data
ResistanceSoftware applications are impervious to failure.Web developed applications are resistant to loss
CustomizationSoftware design has limitsWeb design has a wide range of customization.
ApplicationsSoftware-designed applications are desktop-related.Web designed applications are web and website-related.
DeploymentSoftware designs are machine specific. Web applications are accessible from any machine. This is because its deployment is in the server.
DynamicSoftware designs are static.Web design pages are dynamic.
MeaningSoftware development is conceiving, designing, programming, testing, and maintaining software.In contrast, web development generally refers to creating a website or web application.
ProcedureIt can be broken down into several stages: requirements gathering, design, coding, testing, and documentation.That includes everything from designing the user interface to creating the back-end database and coding the front-end web pages.

What’s the Difference Between Software Development and Web Development?

 In a nutshell, it boils down to this:

Image Credits: Unsplash

Software development is about creating standalone applications that can be installed on a computer or mobile device. On the other hand, web development is about developing applications that are accessed through a web browser.

Both of the processes require a strong understanding of computer programming. However, they also have some key differences. For instance, software developers typically work with specific programming languages (such as C++ or Java) while web developers need to know how to code in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Additionally, software development usually follows a more formal process, with clear milestones and deliverables. On the other hand, web development is often more flexible and iterative in nature.


We can say that the difference between software development and web development is obvious. The software gives instructions to the computer allowing several channels to communicate these instructions to the computer.

On the other side of the table, web development deals with the creation of websites that help people interact with their clients. These website developments are on several levels and demand a lot of skill.

So which type of development is right for you? Well, that depends on several factors. If you enjoy working with computers and love spending time tinkering around with software and programming languages, then desktop development may be a good option for you. 

If you prefer working with websites and if you enjoy creating user-friendly, easy-to-navigate interfaces, then web development may be a better choice.

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