The tech and software world is talking about blockchain, which has been making a big splash lately. This tech has brought innovations to the software world. These innovations will also lead to great developments in the apps. In fact, this process has already begun. This amazing tech has introduced the terms centralized and decentralized apps into our lives. However, most of us do not even know what they are or what they do. We’ve deemed it appropriate to prepare explanatory content based on this popularity and this intense curiosity on the subject. At the end of this article, you will know more about centralized and decentralized apps. Thus, you will be self-sufficient in determining which of these apps you need. In this article, we will explain what blockchain tech is. Then, we will explain centralized and decentralized apps. Good reading.
What Is BlockChain?
Let’s start our article by explaining what blockchain tech is. It is a relatively new tech that seems pretty complex to most people. In fact, these people are not wrong at all. Because it is a complex tech indeed. That’s why we’ll first introduce you to its relatively simple basic concept. This tech is a new type of big database. Therefore, to understand this subject better, it is necessary to have sufficient knowledge of what a database is.
Any data stored in any computer system form a database. This information is structured in table format. This structure helps to make searching within the database easier. It is also very suitable for filtering. This point may be where you can understand better what this tech exactly is. The design of a database has a foundation to serve a huge amount of users at the same time. So, this access density does not slow down or disrupt access to data in any way. Accessing this data is as easy as it is fast for users. Users may filter this information and get the data they want to access. However, to provide these eases on the basis of larger databases, much more powerful server computers are required.
At this point, blockchain tech records digital data. Then, it shares this data according to demands. However, it is not possible to edit this data. That is the most important difference that separates blockchain tech from the database. You may have heard of this tech, most likely with Bitcoin. Because the first real-world implementation of this tech was Bitcoin. Since then, I’m sure that you’ve become more familiar with the subject with the derivatives developed based on this tech.
Decentralized Networks Explained
Thanks to today’s web techs, individual devices scattered across networks have very high processing capability. That has had an effect that makes decentralized network designs much more prominent. For many app developers, such designs are now much more attractive. However, these network designs also have different levels of centrality at their core. However, its main difference with centralized networks is at the level of basic principles. In decentralized networks, there are many clusters of independent server computers. These clusters of server computers integrate with each other and form a resource pool. There is the main point that highlights the decentralization feature. This feature is that each node in the network has an independent control mechanism from the other. So, what advantages does this feature bring to decentralized networks? These advantages are too many indeed. However, we will only talk about the most basic ones. Let’s explain these advantages now together.
First of all, in a decentralized network, each node can perform its own customizations on many issues. The most important of these issues is data and workload customization. These actually look like rather complex computing networks. When this is the case, it seems that it is just as difficult to manage these independent nodes. However, at this point, the possibilities and advantages of decentralized networks should not be overlooked. First of all, this web tech has given all organizations the ability to use edge computing in a unique way. Another plus is that it has made the Internet of Things tech possible. To take advantage of decentralized networks, all you have to do is scale a current network. Then, you add a device to this network. You have now increased your decentralized computing resources in a few steps. So, let’s move on to explain dApps in detail now.
Disadvantages of Decentralized Networks
It is not possible to run massive-scale tasks over these networks. For this reason, it is far from providing adequate performance for institutions operating on a global scale. In addition, these systems do not have a chain of command as they are not centralized. For this reason, it is not possible in these systems to order others to complete tasks.
Another major disadvantage of decentralized networks is that there is no regulatory oversight of the systems. That creates great difficulties in detecting the problems that occur in the system. Because it is very difficult to determine which node caused the failure in the system. Performing usability control in systems is just as difficult. You can understand how difficult it is to do this from the following processes:
- To do this, you must first ping each node separately.
- It is necessary to compare your expected output with what each node produces.
- Next, you need to proceed with work partitioning to find out which node is failing.
As you can see, this process is quite unfit and time-consuming. Moreover, it is difficult to detect which node responds to all these processes. A node within the system delivers any request. However, it is almost impossible to detect which node in the network is serving this request. All these disadvantages are the main reasons why large organizations do not prefer decentralized networks. However, it is important to remember that this tech keeps developing day by day.
What Is a Decentralized App?
Decentralized applications are most commonly known as dApps. So, what are dApps? First of all, let’s say that there has been a very intense trend towards dApps in the app world lately. So, why are dApps so popular? Because these apps are based on the blockchain, we have just mentioned. Thanks to the advantages of this technological base, it is very likely that it will be adopted by all sectors soon. Let’s take a closer look at how these apps work.
All of these apps run on top of the blockchain networks. Developers may design these apps for multiple real-world uses. At first glance, they may seem like they don’t have much of an advantage over other apps in terms of UX. When you take a closer look, you may notice that the back-end processes of these apps operate in a different way. The protocol that other apps use for communication is called central HTTP. I guess you understand now why they are called decentralized apps. Because dApps do not use central HTTP. Decentralized apps have to avoid centralized servers. Because the purpose of these apps is to make it possible to transact in a distributed and peer-to-peer manner.
Mobile and desktop devices are required to develop an ordinary app. In contrast, dApp developers develop their apps in different conditions. In this context, these conditions are called blockchain networks. Decentralized apps enable data processing over shared networks. These apps are also very suitable for executing transactions via smart contracts. So, blockchain provides the base that makes all these possible. Well, have you ever wondered about the history of Decentralized apps? So, let’s take a closer look at where the roots of decentralized apps go.
Examples of Decentralized Apps
One of the best examples of decentralized apps is private networks. Private networks are one of the most effective ways to provide a secure internet environment. In doing so, it allows users to create certain restrictions within a private network. It presents many restrictions applied to provide a secure and secluded environment. One of these restrictions is not to allow access to any device from outside the private network. It also offers some settings to ensure that only certain devices can connect to private networks. One way to achieve this is to set up network routers. Another way is to set codes on access points. In other words, these networks are the opposite of public networks in terms of access. Contrary to popular belief, a private network is not a different type of network actually. It’s just another way of using the network.
There are no striking differences between public and private networks in terms of hardware support and tech. Both are the same in these respects, basically. The differences between the two are only due to customizable issues such as security and accessibility. However, regulating these networks with access and security issues is a more complex process. Sometimes this may result in different hardware terms. That creates extra costs in the use of private networks.
Another important example of decentralized apps is cryptocurrencies and derivatives. The untraceability of decentralized networks turns into a great privacy advantage when it comes to transferring cryptocurrencies. We have talked about this issue, the disadvantages of these networks. Nodes responding to requests are nearly impossible to detect. In this context, it turns into an advantage. People who transfer Bitcoin do not leave any traces behind, including location. This situation increases the sense of trust in the use of digital money.
History of Decentralized Apps
In fact, the web has already been decentralized since its invention. What centralized the new web tech of the time was the HTTP protocol. HTTP centralized the web enough to connect the entire world. This integrated web is what has come to this day and made many internet techs possible. Over time, everyone hosted their own personal servers so that others could connect. That is, a person with his own server was also storing his own data. A new development that occurred during this period left its mark on the internet world. This development is called app servers. This new development was running on the centralized data ownership model. So, what made this model so successful and popular?
The centralized data ownership model worked quite easily. The simple operation of this conceptual and programmatic model was the main thing that made it successful and popular. Server owners were following the support, repair, and development processes of the servers. They are doing that in return for renting the servers to the users. We all know the first strong examples of this model. Also, I’m sure many of us have used them at one time. The first successful apps serving with a centralized data ownership model were MySpace and Yahoo. So, Uber and Airbnb are on the decentralized side of this huge app world. The most important reason for the increase in the number of these apps is so obvious. Because most of the new business models are getting away from the center. So, it is these new business models that make these decentralized apps even more widespread.
The economy acts as a spur for both the development and spread of decentralized apps. So, the more decentralized business models there are, the more decentralized apps there will be. You should note that this will not be limited to business models only. But for now, so be it.
Features of Decentralized Apps
Decentralized apps differ from others in terms of base, first of all. Its base differs from traditional software architecture. We may collect the main features that distinguish decentralized apps from others under a few headings. The main difference in the base of decentralized apps is due to the fact that it has an open-source code structure. That basically affects the changes in the protocol. The consent of network users is required to achieve it. Another feature that makes these apps different from others is the way they store data. Decentralized apps store data on the blockchain database.
There are many different ways to act as proof of value. Creating digital assets is one of these methods. In this context, decentralized apps use this method. The way decentralized apps share assets on the network is also quite different from the other platforms. They do this using the prizes method. So, there is an app on the web that meets these criteria. I’m sure you already understood that this app is Bitcoin. It is possible to order Bitcoin as an app based on these criteria. It is even possible to say that this is true for all cryptocurrencies active on the web. You may consider them as some kind of primitive version of dApps. Bitcoin and its derivatives have their own blockchain. That is what makes it so important.
What Is a Centralized App?
Did you understand decentralized apps well enough? Then, you may be sure that it will be much easier for you to understand this one. Because, as the name suggests, centralized apps are the opposite of decentralized ones. So, they are central. These apps are often run by a single company. These companies also manage them through a single center. So, a cluster of servers is the administrative center of these apps. That is opposed to decentralized ones. So, how do these work?
You all know the answer to this question. Because if you have a smartphone, you are doing this often already. What you do is enter the app store first. Then, you download a copy of one of the apps available here to your own device. That is where a central app starts to work. After this stage, your app sends information about each of your transactions to the central server. In return, it receives information from central servers. That explains well enough why they’re called centralized apps.
Here, let’s draw attention to a very important point about these apps. The dependencies of these apps on central servers are pretty obvious. Therefore, any problem that occurs on the central server will also affect the operation of your app. In other words, these apps, whose information exchange with the central servers is interrupted, will never work in this process. This situation continues until the problems on the central servers are resolved.
You are quite familiar with many of the central apps, actually. All social media giant platforms are great examples of these. At the same time, you may also consider many movie and tv show platforms in this scope. The most famous examples of this topic are the apps you know well, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Periscope.
Centralized Computer Networks Explained
The most distinctive features of central computer networks are that they provide direct control. In this way, it provides important advantages to service provider companies in terms of control. Moreover, central computer networks are very easy to set up. Because of these advantages, it is the primary choice of most companies. Centralized computer networks today share the transaction design of many institutions. Central computer networks consist of extremely high-performance computer batches. So, what does this high performance provide? We may list them as follows:
- It allows the central network to handle large volumes of requests from interconnected systems.
- It provides the ability to control who can access the resources of central computer networks.
- Also it provides the ability to manage when and under what conditions users who can access the resources of networks can do so.
Central computer networks are managed through a central server. Therefore, central computer networks have to be built around this server. So, what does the central server do? Central servers are critical in fulfilling these three main functions:
- Managing the processing functions that the central computer network provides to users.
- Managing processes of user storage services.
- Also managing permission functions of those providing access to central computer networks.
I assume that you have a good opinion of the base of central computer networks up to this stage. If so, you have a clear answer to the question in your head about the biggest advantage of centralized networks. As you can see, the biggest advantage of these networks is the efficiency they provide. That is why centralized computer networks are the primary choice on such a large scale. So, do central computer networks have any disadvantages? Let’s find out together.
Disadvantages of the Centralized Computer Networks
First of all, central computer networks work dependent on an uninterrupted network connection completely. Because central computer networks have only one central node. Therefore, as soon as the connection is lost, the whole system will fail. In this case, all the other nodes connected to the central node that form up the whole system will lose their functions. Similarly, even the slightest problem that may occur in the system creates an effect that will affect the entire system. That forces the success of the maintenance and repair processes of central computer networks. The fact that central computer networks have a single central node also causes great difficulties. These difficulties may occur in maintenance and repair processes. It is not possible to shut down the central node for maintenance and repair purposes. Because other nodes operating connected to this node will also lose their functions.
A disruption to any node in central computer networks also causes large amounts of data loss. If there is no data backup, important data will be lost. That will increase the hardware and software costs for backup. Hot updates are mandatory in central computer networks. That is a very difficult process. Trying to make updates instantly may break the entire system at the slightest mistake.
The disadvantages of decentralized computer networks impose a financial burden on institutions. However, it is possible for institutions to experience great grievances due to errors that may occur in the system. These are the reasons why decentralized networks have become so popular today.
Differences Between Centralized and Decentralized Apps
- A centralized app is connected to a single server batch. This server batch contains the basic logic to perform all operations.
- In decentralized apps, the server batches that will perform the acts are scattered. Therefore, the logic needed to perform the processes is also divided into these scattered servers.
- Both types of apps are based on different designs in-app and service tiers.
- A single server cluster is not required for decentralized apps to keep running. Other server clusters in the system are also capable of keeping the app running.
- For a common API call in decentralized apps, each node it is on must execute a call. For this reason, breaks will occur in the API call.
- Centralized apps are highly compatible with common systems and work with high performance.
- In contrast, decentralized ones have major unity problems with traditional systems. That leads to great inadequacies in terms of performance.
Do Decentralized Apps Have a Future in the Real World?
Most experts today agree that Bitcoin was the first dApp. However, from those days to now, the main growth driver of the dApp ecosystem has shifted gradually. Ethereum is now the flagship for a long time. So, what brings Ethereum to this initial position? The biggest factor in this is its smart contracts. In addition, Etherium’s user base is another important element that has brought it to this point. The network effect of Ethereum is one of the basic dynamics that makes all this possible.
So, how long will this expansion continue? As you know, the decentralized finance industry has taken a huge leap forward in the last decade. The main factor that provided the dynamism to this incredible development that took place in such a short time was BlockChain tech. The expansion of the use cases of the decentralized financial sector has also been made possible by this tech. The environment of trust built by this situation played a primary role in people’s adoption of this sector. In parallel with this progress, dApps also continued their development thanks to blockchain tech. In this process, they blended the advantages of decentralization with the interfaces of traditional apps.
The ability of decentralized apps to expand the functionality of the web to this extent has made them so popular. So, regardless of blockchain tech, which enables many new developments, interest in dApps is increasing. We may evaluate this issue in the context of the future of dApps. So, we can say that dApps are still in the development phase. That process is still ongoing. As a result of these developments, it is highly likely that dApps will spread to all industries.
Mini-Guide to Develop a Decentralized App
- For this, you need to install a couple of tools first. These are Node Package Manager and Git. Thus, you will be able to generate the open-source codes.
- Select the tech stack to use. Consider your experience level to decide it.
- You need to install Truffle in the Node Package Manager.
- Now, you may write the codes and smart contracts through the Ganache.
- You must complete the front-end for the user interface.
- You must test the smart contracts regularly. Don’t skip this step. Because after you launch the app, you cannot change the codes again.
- Now, your decentralized app is ready. Release it now.
Centralized and Decentralized Apps, In Short
Centralized applications are apps that we are all familiar with and that we use every day. However, developments in web technologies also revealed a new app architecture. Apps developed with this new type of architecture are called dApps. In this context, many people are wondering the answer to a single question. What is a dApp? So, we have explained what a dApp is in this context. We’ve covered this topic in detail down to the historical roots of dApps. At the same time, we have explained the disadvantages of these emerging apps objectively. In this article, we also included the features of centralized apps for comparison purposes. We have evaluated centralized apps in terms of both advantages and disadvantages. We would like to remind you that we have also touched on blockchain tech, which enables the development of dApp. Finally, we evaluated the future of dApps in the real world.
We hope this article has helped you in understanding centralized and decentralized apps. We hope this article also will serve as a guide for dApp development.