Web or Desktop?
What do we mean by a desktop application? It´s an application that runs standalone on a desktop or laptop computer, in contrast with a web-based application, which requires a web browser in order to run.
If we compare the advantages in detail, we will come to the conclusion that each solution fits different purposes and ways of working of its users. Some aspects of desktop applications that were previously understood to have advantages over web applications, are nowadays close to equal, as a result of new technologies introduced in Web 2.0. One of these is AJAX technology, which enables the web browser to provide synchronous communication of parts of the web page, without refreshing the whole page. The result is more convenient ways of working, reduced server performance requirements, and an overall improved user experience. New technologies also enable the use of context menu features, familiar to many desktop application users, which were missing in web applications before.
But let’s take a close look at the comparison of web apps and desktop apps.
Web Applications - Advantages for Users
Web applications have the advantage for users that there is no need to install and update the software, which saves a lot of administration work for large companies, as well as end users. A user is able to access from anywhere on the Internet, his data is stored remotely, and it is cross-platform compatible. That is good for users who have more than one computer, as all their data and software is accessible on multiple devices. They can also use low-end computers with minimum requirements on disk space, and their computers are better protected from viruses.
Web Applications - Advantages for Companies
Web Applications - Disadvantages
Desktop applications offer a better user experience, although many advantages have recently been cancelled out by new web technologies as mentioned above. Web applications require Internet access and so may be affected by network delays: however, this situation is changing rapidly as mobile Internet and mobile broadband become faster and cheaper. Another disadvantage is that the remote server could be compromised, leaking private information.
The most important issues with web applications right now are performance problems and browser limitations, which lead to a poor user experience. The exponential increase in computer processing power, combined with web browser performance improvements will solve these problems very soon.
Web Application and Companies
Given the arguments stated above, it is obvious that the trend is towards wider web application development. No company can afford to miss that trend, whether the application is used to enhance work processes within the company, improve customer relationship management, provide sales support or direct transactions with the client. Whether it is business to business communication or business to business transactions, web applications are the future of company information systems.