Steve Jobs of Apple Inc. introduced the iPhone in January of 2007 and then released their App Store in July of 2008, thus popularizing the term “app.” However, there is no technical distinction between an app (application) and a program.
People and companies alike use these terms today in so many different ways it’s best to think of an application, app, and program as basically the same things.
Granted, there are different types of apps for different devices. However, this article focuses on web apps; after a brief definition, my favorite web apps are listed and linked to.
Three Types of Apps
- Desktop apps
Created for computers that require a mouse and keyboard for input
- Mobile apps
Specifically designed for use with devices that have touch-based input (smartphones, tablets)
- Web apps
These are apps that run within a web browser. Which makes it able to function on many platforms (ex., Linux, Mac, Windows)
Benefits of Web Apps
The biggest benefit of a true web app is that it functions all within a web browser and doesn’t require downloading or installation on a computer. Sometimes, a web app may have a browser extension available to make it easier for you to access the abilities of the web app. But in my opinion, that means that I’ve now downloaded (and installed) something.
While browser extensions (or addons) are convenient, having too many can greatly impact the function and speed of any web browser. That is why I like a true web app that doesn’t require downloading or installation of anything.
A Short List of Favorite Web Apps
These web apps are in no particular order. I can use them on any of my computers.
Note, I highly recommend updating your web browser to the most current release and make sure it has an ad-blocker extension (addon) installed. Most web apps have a plethora of ads (and trackers) on them.
- YouTube Video Downloader (https://yt5s.com)
Is there a video on YouTube that you would like to download the music, or the whole video? Then this handy web app is just what you need. While this web app tells you it has a browser extentsion available, skip it and just use the website.
Is it legal to dowload videos from YouTube? In short, no. Check out this MakeUseOf.com article for a deeper dive into this question/issue.
Simply copy the URL of the YouTube video into the box at the top of the screen and click the blue Start button.
After a few moments, you’ll see a new screen showing you the video you are downloading. Just use the drop-down menu to select the format you want — MP4 is for video (audio and video), MP3 is for audio-only — and then click the green Get Link button to download to your computer.
- Jitsi Meet (https://meet.jit.si/)
This is a great Zoom alternative that doesn’t require an account to use it! And although they do have a pay subscription, as a free user you can enjoy:
- Full HD Audio and Video
- Unlimited Free meeting access for up to 100 participants at a time
- End-to-End Encryption
- Remotely control other participants desktop
- Multiple participants can share their screen simultaneously
- PDF to Image Converter (https://pdftoimage.com/)
Free online service to convert a PDF file to a set of optimized JPG images. This tool provides better image quality than many other PDF to JPG converters, offers mass conversion and allows files up to 50 MB.
- Online-Convert (https://www.online-convert.com/)
This is a very useful free online file converter. There are multiple file types to convert from, or to, depending on your needs. They also have browser extensions, but again just skip it and use the website.
Here are the most useful conversion tools they have available:
- Audio converter
- Video converter
- Image converter
- Document converter
- eBook converter