Are storefront sites like eBay, Apple App Store and Amazon considered to be "web applications"?

The current help page is pretty vague, it just defines a "web application" as "a website which behaves like an application" without really defining what an "application" is. The Wikipedia description of "application software" tends to describe it as doing complicated or constructive tasks such as a word processor, a spreadsheet, an accounting application. In the old days storefronts were generally considered to fall into the category of E-commerce portals, not applications, however this site may want to make a broader definition of "application" that includes relatively simple functionality. For example, a hotel web site that allows a visitor to book a reservation. Is that an "application"? What about a club web site that has a form that allows a person to enter their email address to be added to a mailing list. Is that considered to be an "application" even though all the user is doing is entering an email address and pressing enter?

In any case, I would suggest that some kind of definition of what constitutes an "application" for the purpose of this stack exchange should be included on the help page.

  • Votes work differently on discussion and feature-request. On the former means helpful/unhelpful while on the later means agreement/disagreement.As a feature request, IMHO, it's too vague so will remove the corresponding tag. – Rubén Aug 11 at 16:14
  • You might want to have a look at What's the difference between a website and a web app? I disagree with the accepted answer but, as it is the accepted answer, has more or less guided what's allowed here since the beginning. – ale Aug 13 at 4:29

Short answer

Yes they are, but only those questions about using the web front app. Questions about installable apps are off-topic.

Extended answer

Current tags

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  • Apple App Store?

Some sort of definition

What about this?

A web application is something that is reachable through an URL by using a web browser and that includes features that have certain use complexity.

Regarding the examples

For example, a hotel web site that allows a visitor to book a reservation. Is that an "application"?

This could be on-topic if the question is about using the the hotel web site but will be off-topic if it's asking customer servicer support.

What about a club web site that has a form that allows a person to enter their email address to be added to a mailing list. Is that considered to be an "application" even though all the user is doing is entering an email address and pressing enter?

I don't see what kind of question could be done about using the club web site other than customer service support questions.

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