The Pros and Cons of Web Applications
There has been a long running debate about web applications replacing
desktop software applications. While some functions are better suited to
web applications. It is my belief that security concerns and legacy
systems will prevent desktop software from becoming obsolete.
Some argue that the debate between web applications and desktop
applications is pointless; as their is no clear answer. While still
others argue that the issue at hand is as much a business and marketing
issue, as it is a technological issue.
What Defines a Web Application Vs a Desktop Application?
A web application is an application delivered to users from a web server
like the Internet. Some businesses run web applications on an intranet,
as well. Web applications are becoming more popular due to the
widespread use of the web browser as a client.
Some applications are better suited and more likely to become successful
as web applications. Web applications designed specifically for search
engine optimization, have become increasingly popular. It is easy to
understand why web applications that relate to the Internet would
prosper, while business applications may have less appeal in a web
A desktop application is a self-contained program that performs a
defined set of tasks under the user control. Desktop applications run
from a local drive and do not require a network or connectivity to
operate or function properly, though if attached to a network desktop
applications might use the resources of the network.
Pros and Cons to Desktop and Web Applications:
Web applications can be easily accessed from any computer or location
that has Internet access. Travelers especially benefit from the
accessibility. This often means that if a traveler has access to a
computer, phone or handheld with Internet connectivity they can utilize
the web application.
Low Maintenance & Forced Upgrades
Desktop applications need to be individually installed on each computer,
while web applications require a single installation.
Many web applications are hosted by a 3rd party and the maintenance fall
under the applications hosts responsibility. The ability to update and
maintain web applications without distributing and installing software
on potentially thousands of client computers is a key reason for the
popularity of web based applications. This can be a blessing and a curse
as users of web applications on hosted systems are at the mercy of the
host, if an upgrade does not go well, or the individual user doesn't
want or need the new features the upgrade will still go forward.
Increased Security Risks
There are always risks involved when dealing with working online,
regardless of how secure a host might say a web application is, that
fact of the matter stands that the security risk of running an
application of the Internet is more significant than when running an
application on a standalone desktop computer. Some applications require
more security than others, playing Sudoku on a web application would
cause little concern, but dealing with sensitive corporate formulas or
accounting details in a web environment might be determined risky.
Over the life of the software use, web applications are typically
significantly more expensive over time. Desktop applications are
purchased outright and rarely is their a recurring fee for the software
use. Some desktop applications do have maintenance fees or fee based
upgrades associated with them, but rarely is there a subscription fee
associated with the software's ongoing use.
Many corporate web applications use a different model, users typically
are charged monthly service fee to operate the software. Fees are
considered "subscription fees". If you fail to renew your subscription
you may be unable to access the data stored in the web application.
Web applications rely on persistent and unmanaged connectivity. If you
do not have an Internet connection or if your host does not have
Internet connectivity you cannot access the information. Critical
applications or businesses that are time sensitive cannot risk denial of
service attacks or power outages to interrupt their operations and
access data that is sensitive.
Web applications that rely on the Internet to transfer data rather than
a computer's local hard drive, may operate slower. The speed may also
vary based on number of users accessing the application.
Backups & Ownership.
Regardless of the platform, companies need to be sure that their data is
appropriately backed up. When using a web application that are hosted by
a third party, companies should clearly determine who owns the data
housed in the application, and be sure that privacy policies prevent
that data from being used by the web host.
Ultimately the accessibility of web based applications make them very
desirable. Web applications have some fundamental limitations in their
functionality, and are better suited for specific tasks. Understanding
the pro's and con's to each business model, will help users determine
whether a desktop application or web application will better suit their
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manages marketing for FeedForAll
http://www.feedforall.com software for creating, editing, publishing
RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for
http://www.notepage.net a wireless text messaging software company.
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