We have been thinking about what properties of an HTML application make it an application rather than a webpage with logic.
We have documented our thoughts here: http://code.google.com/chrome/apps/articles/thinking_in_web_apps.html
(Thinking in Apps). This is only the start of our thinking and work on what hopefully will become a robust guide to patterns in web application development.
Many of the things that define a great web page experience are also the same things that describe an application experience on the web, however we think there are some subtle differences, especially around the use of client side data storage, offline support and user experience.
For example our focus on user experience is key. Applications should do what they do well, by only concentrating on the task that the user wants to perform. Combine this with our idea of making better use of the browser real-estate by laying out your applications differently and removing extraneous content such as footers, menus and logos plus (I.e, traditional webpage design); you start to see some compelling differences.
We are keen to hear your thoughts so leave a comment, examples and thoughts.
About Me: Paul Kinlan
I lead the Chrome Developer Relations team at Google.
We want people to have the best experience possible on the web without
having to install a native app or produce content in a walled garden.
Our team tries to make it easier
for developers to build on the web by supporting every Chrome release, creating great content to support
developers on web.dev, contributing to MDN, helping to improve browser
compatibility, and some of the best
developer tools like Lighthouse, Workbox, Squoosh to name just a few.