I often come across software developers delivering their applications on the desktop platform (either for MS Windows or Apple OS), and most times I ask them if they have a web version of their solutions; to my surprise most of them don’t have or are planning to build one in the future. In fact, there is an internationally renowned business solution that still runs only on desktop since their inception in the late 80s, and I wonder if this solution will survive coming years when most users will virtually be doing business on mobile/web platforms with enhanced user experience and interface.
Web-based applications offer good range of business advantages over traditional desktop applications.
For those new to software development, a web-based application is an application that uses web browser (like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox) as the user interface or front-end. Users can easily access the application and their data from any computer connected to a Local Area Network or the Internet with any device.
This contrasts with traditional desktop applications, which are installed manually on only a local desktop computer.
It is worth pointing out that almost any desktop software can be developed as a web-based application with the assistance of a good web-designer/programmer while maintaining the current database infrastructure and business logic.
Business Advantages of web-based application
- Cost effective development:
With web-based applications, businesses can access the system via a uniform platform—the web browser. It only need to be developed for a single platform saving you the stress of compatibility issues on OS (Windows 10, 8, 7, XP or Mac OSX).
There is no need to develop and test it on all possible operating system versions and configurations. This makes development and troubleshooting much easier.
- Accessible anywhere:
For businesses, this is the sweetest part of using a web-based application. For instance, you need to know your current inventory status or total cash sales for a previous date of a location store, all you need to do is log into the system from anywhere with your mobile device and get that information instantly.
This puts the business owners/managers firmly in charge of where and when they can access the application.
- Easy Integration with other Applications:
It is possible to achieve a far greater level of connectivity between web applications than it is with isolated desktop systems. For example, it is much easier to integrate a web-based POS system with a web-based accounting package than it is to get two proprietary systems to talk to each other, by taking the advantage of internet technologies like Application-Programming Interface (API), you get a flexible and adaptable business model that can be changed according to shifting business demands.
- Easy deployment and maintenance:
With the web-based approach installation and maintenance becomes less complicated too. Once a new version or upgrade is installed on the host server all users are upgraded automatically, and there is no need to upgrade the PC of each and every potential user.
Rolling out new software can be accomplished more easily, requiring only that users have up-to-date browsers and plugins. As the upgrades are only performed on server, the results are also more predictable and reliable.
- Adaptable to increased workload:
Increasing processor capacity also becomes a far simpler operation with web-based applications. If an application requires more power to perform tasks only the server hardware needs to be upgraded.
- Enhanced security maintenance:
Web-based applications are typically deployed on a server, which are monitored and maintained by administrators. This is far more effective than monitoring hundreds or even thousands of client computers as is the case with desktop applications.
This means that security is maintained on a single front and any potential breaches can be noticed far more quickly.
- Easy customization:
The user interface of web-based applications is easier to customize for businesses than with desktop applications. This makes it easier to update the look and feel of the application or to customize the presentation of information to different user groups.
In conclusion, from a developer’s perspective, Web-based apps are easier to develop, user-friendly with good user interface & experience, easier to deploy, maintain and secure and finally the scalability process is hassle-free.