SBP Blog

Web vs. desktop applications: friends or foes?

Jan 11, 2011 by Oana

With a steadily increasing number of households that have Internet access around the world (according to statistics, in 2010, in UK , 73% of the households - almost 19.2 million households - had an Internet connection), in the last couple of years web applications have taken a huge bite from the desktop apps market share. Although some eager beavers have hurried to affirm that web apps have started replacing the desktop counterparts, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Lately I've heard a lot of opinions that announced the decline of the desktop applications market, and the main reason behind this is that we've became more and more mobile. We have smartphones, and tablets and notebooks, and e-readers that have permanent access to the Internet, and it has become a habit and in the same time a necessity to be online all the time. Although, the web applications market is definitely going to increase due to our new habits and existing technologies, it doesn't need to exclude the desktop applications.

So, web applications offer mobility, whereas desktop applications don't - you need to be near your PC to use a certain application. On the other hand, once bought and installed the application on your desktop, you are pretty much settled and don't need anything else, maybe from time to time an update. As a result, in the long run, desktop applications tend to be less expensive than their web counterparts, which may require "subscription fees".

Another issue, long debated by the pro desktop developers is security. The online environment is less secure, and involves more risks. Let's be honest, it's more likely to get a virus while being online than otherwise. So, this can be a major issue for big corporations that want to protect their work.

In terms of "speed" desktop apps tend to offer more advantages than the web ones. One thing is to be the only one who accesses the app on your PC and another is to "share" the same app with hundreds or thousands of users. Not a pretty speed rate I may say.

Apart from the pro and cons the main question that you should ask yourself is what app fits best your work. If you are mobile, and accessibility is your main goal, than yes Web apps are for you. But, this doesn't mean that you can't benefit from the desktop applications.

So, as I see it, is not a matter of web vs. desktop, but the future will be: web + desktop. I can even say that the competition of what app offers the most advantages from both worlds has already started. A good example is WPF and Silverlight, with each new version developed Microsoft tries to offer developers as many features that are suitable for both web and desktop environment.

Are you a pro web, or pro desktop? Let me know!

Tags: Business  Future  Web 


Navya commented on 2/19/2011 1:11:05 PM

Hi Oana,

You have clearly explained the pros n cons of Desktop and Web based applications. Thank You for the information.

Oana commented on 2/21/2011 3:57:55 PM

Thanks Navya! I've tried to be as objective as possible when writing this, because most of the articles on this matter are too subjective: either the author is pro web applications and rejects the desktop apps or vice versa.

Escort Bayan commented on 2/13/2012 8:46:46 AM

While both notions hold certain measures of truth, in the space of rich Internet applications (RIAs), there are still many situations where either technology might provide a similar solution. This paper will point out the commonalities and differentiators, discuss the pros and cons of using different frameworks for various implementations, and provide a comparison between Web & desktop .

Loftplan commented on 12/22/2016 8:33:06 PM

As a result, in the long run, desktop applications tend to be less expensive than their web counterparts, which may require "subscription fees

Your Comment: