Top 5 Reasons Web Apps are better than Desktop Apps

Top 5 Reasons Web Apps are better than Desktop Apps

Last time I shared my thoughts on why Desktop Apps are better than Web Apps.  This time I’m talking about the advantages of Web Apps.

Top 5 Reasons Web Apps are better than Desktop Apps

Web Apps…

1.       Can be accessed without installing anything

If you move around from PC to PC, this advantage could really be a necessity.  Think about web Outlook.  Maybe you use the desktop version of Outlook when at your primary PC at work but when do you switch to web Outlook?  You switch to the web version when you don’t have access to a PC that either has the desktop version installed or configured.  Most of us wouldn’t switch to the web Outlook version on our primary PC though.

2.       Can be managed and updated by IT more easily

Have you noticed Google changed their search results page slightly?  We now have a left hand side bar we didn’t have a week ago.  None of us had to install anything or click and annoying button saying “New updates are available.  Do you want to install now?”  That creates for a better user experience.  There is a good chance I’m not running the exact same point release of Adobe Acrobat as you are.  If it were critical that we have the same version, that would be difficult to manage.

3.       Can be accessed with a mobile device

Like #3 above, one potentially quick benefit from a web app is that it can be accessed from a smart phone without much or any change required.  Smart phones are making it easier and easier to access the same web pages we’re used to seeing from our desktop web browser.  With the dozens of mobile platforms out there, it is a major challenge to write an application that can work on all if it is not web based.

4.       Can be accessed across multiple operating systems

No special compiling required.  Web browsers, for the most part, provide a consistent platform for development that can be leverage across various operating systems.  Handling the differences between the top 3 browsers is much easier than building desktop applications that work the same across operating systems.

5.       Typically have fewer restrictions outside a firewall

Web apps typically use one of two ports: HTTP port 80 or HTTPS port 443.  These are commonly open on firewalls.  Desktop apps do not typically use HTTP ports or require additional ports.  This can present a problem if access outside the firewall is required. 

As I stated last time, new web app technology is making more desktop type functionality a reality on the web.  Going back to the Outlook example in my first item… I wouldn’t be too sad if I were forced to use only the web app version of Outlook.  I don’t think I’d be missing out on much.  With fewer of us being tied down to one desk and one device the advantages for web apps increasingly outweigh the advantages of a desktop application.  I’m just glad that tabbed browsing is standard now!

  -Peter