The short answer would be: no, this is currently the only practical way to go.
It fully supports the current Android firmware and future firmwares as well since it is not firmware dependent.
What exactly do you mean by the apps stop running? Apps stop running every time you restart your phone. So maybe you meant that they stop working?
CF-Auto-Root is the safest and easiest method and no data should be lost. You should not have to reinstall firmware. If you used the method correctly, your apps should be working as before.
Please note that the tutorial that you have linked is only for Android 4.4.4 with a specific built ID. Since your device is not running on the same Android Version and built ID, then you need to download and flash the firmware to match the one from the tutorial before rooting it. Or check other tutorials to use this method with your specific Android version and build ID.