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Last post Author Topic: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?  (Read 16955 times)

zridling

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Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« on: October 10, 2007, 08:39:06 PM »
If so, which ones?

Gmail has long replaced my email client, since it's good enough. And Zoho Apps have saved me a small fortune in the past 15 months. I also play a lot of online chess and use online PGN viewers for studying games.

zoho191.png

The two great advantages to web-based apps is online storage/backup and hey, it's OS-independent, which means they could care less whether I'm with XP, GNU/Linux, or that other one.

Josh

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2007, 08:41:39 PM »
I really dont think that online applications will ever, truly, replace desktop based applications. Gmail is nice, but I prefer to have my email stored locally as well as remotely. I cannot do this with gmail unless I use pop, which is a pain in the butt and quite an old/outdated protocol. I love IMAP. If gmail supported it, I would gladly move to it permanently, however, I cannot since IMAP has become quite a necessity to me. As far as other online apps, I still think a more full featured desktop application would be preferrable to an online version which is just ok.

lanux128

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2007, 09:10:51 PM »
for me, so only Gmail has supplanted the traditional email client, though i do keep Thunderbird around to d/l & archive my Gmail messages once a month.. i sort of *trust* Google with my mails since it is an online behemoth and unlikely go down any soon or in danger of being bought over by another company.. however, tellingly i don't use much of Google Docs because i believe it's too much of hassle to wade through folders in a browser to find a documents..

Deozaan

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2007, 09:46:27 PM »
Only Gmail for me replacing desktop e-mail client.

Google Docs is kind of handy for sharing documents/having them available wherever I have internet.


app103

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2007, 11:11:37 PM »
I have actually found myself replacing web-based stuff with some sort of desktop application when I can.

I have switched from using the web-based blogger.com & wordpress editors to Windows Live Writer. (I absolutely LOVE it!)

Sometimes things are a bit of a combo of both, like using yahoo's notepad & calendar with the desktop widget notepad & todo list. I never really had a use for either till I got the widgets. It was too much bother to open the web pages and use it that way, but on my desktop I like it.

Same goes with Pandora.com. I love it, but having the browser window open bugs me, so I use it with OpenPandora.

About the only thing I really have switched to a web-based app is gmail. But just like Josh, I wish there was a way to download it easily to keep a local copy, just as I have it, with all the labels intact for each email. I don't want to have a folder based system for my email any more. It would be great to be able to have some sort of desktop email client specifically made for archiving gmail locally.

MrCrispy

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2007, 01:59:04 AM »
Gmail
del.icio.us integrated with Firefox instead of local bookmarks
misc web based calendaring/todolist apps
bloglines/google reader for rss

Offline gmail is coming!

Lashiec

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2007, 09:14:59 AM »
Only mail. I've never used a mail client in my life, and always relied in web mail. My Yahoo! Mail account has been active for years, and so far never had any problem (save for the occasional spam).

And that's all. I use from time to time some web apps, like the Last.FM player or Google Docs, but they're not replacing audio players and OpenOffice.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2007, 01:20:09 PM by Lashiec »

zridling

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2007, 04:30:39 PM »
Crispy makes a good point, and Zoho will soon launch a local version of their client software as Thinkfree already has. Seems the best of both worlds. My biggest gripe with online apps is the most basic one: unless there's a local version installed, then my computer is virtually dead without a connection.

CWuestefeld

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2007, 05:13:41 PM »
The best internet connection I can get at my house is DSL 512K up/128K down (and I live in NJ, the most densely populated state in the nation). So web-based apps are non-starters for me.

I've lately seen a few photo-editing and even video-editing sites. I can't fathom this, even with a fast connection.

Besides this practical concern, I want to be responsible for my own data. I don't want it in anyone else's hands. I don't have any concrete reason for feeling this way, it's just a gut thing.

Grorgy

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2007, 05:31:54 PM »
I'm frequently on a dialup connection and when at home I have a satellite connection at 512 and 64.  It is both expensive and limited to the amount of downloads I can make before it reduces to 64 / 64 .  So data transfer and so on does become a bit of an issue and little bits do add up rather fast ive discovered.  So until that improves on line apps are not really an option

Dirhael

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2007, 07:06:12 PM »
No, I would much rather completely stop using a computer than fully move over to any so-call "web 2.0" applications.
Registered nurse by day, hobby programmer by night.

Ralf Maximus

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2007, 08:31:23 PM »
Total online everything can happen ONLY when internet connections are near 100% reliable, like electricity or wired telephones.  Not being able to edit a document or look up a bit or personal data because "the internet's down" is just silly.

I'm curious as to why companies think people want this anyway.  Sure, some things make a lot of sense (maps, yellow pages) but running a word processor inside a browser?  For anything but short documents it seems absurd.  Even cheap workstations have ridiculous amounts of hoursepower not utilized by the server 2000 miles away. 

We've spent the last 30 years running away from timeshare computing.  This is progress?

app103

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2007, 11:11:36 PM »
I don't see the advantages in a business or the average home environment, but for someone that is on the go that wouldn't have access to their own pc while traveling, web-based applications make a lot of sense.

Everything is online...accessable anywhere you have access to a browser and an internet connection. There is no need to worry about the ability/inability to install software on the machine you will be using.

Just drop into a public library in whatever city you are in and use one of their pc's to get some work done. If you don't finish, it will be ready & waiting for you at the library of the next city you happen to find yourself in.

And on that note, I think it opens up a lot of possibilities for people that don't even own a computer. Much less stuff you would have to stick on your thumbdrive if the applications are online, and even less if they store your data, too.

Ralf Maximus

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2007, 11:31:45 PM »
Good arguments, very good.

Where do you draw the line regarding security and privacy?  If every document you've ever edited is stored in somebody else's server, what guarantee have you that they will (a) respect your privacy, (b) enact security sufficient to keep your stuff out of the hands of thieves, and (c) still be around in 5 years when you need it again?

Most IT departments I've seen don't even do backups right.

I was discussing the exact issue with an IT manager today, and he mentioned he'd read through the Google EULA for their online docs app... he says there's lots of stuff in there about Google's "right to use" your documents for anything they want.

Granted they probably WON'T do anything evil, but they're not saying they will not.  How'd you like to log into their "free" service and suddenly learn you'll be charged $5 to download a copy of your resume? 

Or that your family photos are now being used in a Kodak ad campaign?

All legal, according to the EULA, according to him.

Deozaan

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2007, 04:50:20 PM »
Something that I just don't understand why hasn't been made widely available yet is automatic syncing of documents online and off.

It would be great to have a local client that works offline, but syncs with your online folder for when you're on the go. I know these things exist, but why aren't they more mainstream?

I know some people question the security and privacy, but for those who don't (most people, probably) why isn't this available?

In slightly related news, I recently installed Office 2007 on my wife's laptop as an upgrade from Office 2003. Because I selected upgrade it did the entire install by itself and didn't let me customize it. After that I was using her laptop and noticed a Groove button in Windows Explorer, thought it was some garbage app she had unwittingly installed, and tried to uninstall it. When I found out it was Office 2007 and that it was for file and folder synchronizing across the network, I quickly installed Groove on my other two PCs. I really like it.

Something as simple as that would be great with internet connectivity.


mouser

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2007, 05:53:05 PM »
i guess i belong to the minority (perhaps not on dc but elsewhere) who have not warmed up much to this online-application trend.

however, if you look at the trends in online web services, they seem to be quietly doing more and more on your local pc (javascript, etc.).  i suspect that the future won't really be a move from local desktop applications to online applications (the way some people think things are trending), but much more of a transparent blend. doing sort of what java was meant to do but in a more efficient and transparent way, so that most stuff will be happening locally, but the internet enabled functionality will be transparent and offer up new functionality without you even notice its happening through the web.

i think part of this move will happen when we get programming languages that seamlessly bridge local execution with remote execution and information transfer.

cybernetnews

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2007, 10:47:30 PM »
I definitely haven't grown fond of the online trend either mouser. Gmail is really the only online service that I use to store information, and aside from that there isn't much of my info online. The more things I have stored on my own computer the more control I have over them. If I had to access a document and a server was down I would definitely be frustrated, and that's not something I want to go through.

I do, however, use Flickr as a backup source for all 6,000 of my photos. They are among the most important data that I have, and it would truly be disappointing to lose those. Because of Flickr Pro's unlimited storage/quality/bandwidth I felt compelled to upload all of my photos there. That's one service that I really believe you get the most bang for your buck.

Renegade

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2007, 11:05:21 PM »
You're not alone in not wanting to jump into the 'cloud' of Web 2.0, online application, social media, insert buzz word here...

I refuse to use free web mail still for anything important. Having local copies of everything is a requirement for me. Having complete control is a requirement for me. Surrender things to a TOS or EULA that allows itself to be changed at a moment's notice? I think not. My data is valuable to me, and I simply can't afford to be cut off from it.

I got burned in the last dot com crash and lost a lot of data that I couldn't replace. Not a mistake that I plan to make again.

Granted, I have to pay for my own server - but the peace of mind in running things myself is worth it. I have zero problems, and can fix them if they occur.

The Windows Live Writer is the right direction. MS 'gets it'. Web applications will always be inferior to the power of the desktop. (OK - that's an exaggeration, but for the foreseeable future anyways...) Giving me the power and control of the desktop, and then giving me access to the web is the right way to go. I can't stand waiting for web applications to post to the server... return a response... Mother of mercy! I'm not immortal! I've got limited time on this planet and I need it done yesterday! :) Yep. I'm a bit impatient. ;)

For me, power - flexibility - control. Those are all important. Web apps don't deliver like desktop apps do.

However... I think I can see Silverlight/Moonlight changing my attitudes there. They will bring real power to the web in ways that other platforms simply can't. Flash is still slow. Javascript is a joke for performance. Silverlight/Moonlight can bring desktop power to the web. That will make a big difference for me. (Provided I get to keep my local copies and retain control...)

Ok - Ryan's rant is over. :)

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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

TucknDar

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2007, 02:09:43 AM »
I'm in the desktop application fan club, too! I do use free mail (Gmail for me), but 99% of the time I read/write mail in the Opera M2 client. I don't use any web applications that I can think of...

wr975

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2007, 04:29:22 AM »
If so, which ones?

LogMeIn (free version) replaced an installation of UltraVNC.

The client needs an installation of the LogMeIn service module, but I can remote control from the browser.  :Thmbsup: Much better than Crossloop or any VNC based free remote control software.

iphigenie

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2007, 04:37:42 PM »
The main advantage of online apps:
- synchronisation between computers.
- works on different OSes, very nice if you mutli boot
- No need to sync and shuffle things back and forth trying to keep your notes / bookmarks / invoices organised
- lots of updates (can also be a negative)
- monthly pricing models add up quickly

The main advantage of offline apps:
- faster,
- functionally richer and more mature apps, on average
- way more choice,
- not everywhere has a connection!
- won't disappear without notice
- I am very keyboard oriented and webapps are usually weak at supporting keyboard commands

theres loads more on each side of course but got to stop somewhere

I still tend to favor desktop because most online stuff is a never finished beta, and I have little patience for a lot of the bad choices made. I am in the field of web development though, so I have very high standards and very little patience for the badly designed, half finished, functionally empty but slick looking apps that are all the rage...

Even "standards" like salesforce.com and zimbra are not as slick as equivalent desktop software.

I do love the webs apps that can be controlled via email though - sending an email or instant message to create an appointment, note, task, website post etc. is brilliant.

The only webapps that i use on a regular basis
- fastmail, but this is on top of my normal mail client, not instead
- link a gogo - this did replace my old bookmark convert/share manager which was GUL, but thats only cause GUL disappeared off the surface of the earth
- librarything - i never managed to get motivated by a desktop cataloger, but librarything pulled it off
- meebo is currently replacing my multi messenger. this is cause i cannot find a multi messenger which is stable and does it all, so i might as well not run a separate program and use my browser
« Last Edit: October 13, 2007, 04:40:42 PM by iphigenie »

suleika

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2007, 04:45:29 PM »
I use logmein too.  And I have a gmail account but I back up my gmail into thunderbird.

The supposed advantage of web-based apps is the freedom to move around, but in my travels (Europe mainly) getting regular decent internet access is not something to take for granted.  And it's not as if I would have access to other computers either, without having to pay for them, so since I need my own laptop I might as well have offline apps.

On an extended trip abroad this year (14 weeks) my laptop screen suddenly failed.  I got my smaller laptop from home to use instead - and the hard drive failed after two weeks.  All this time the internet access was spotty.  I pay for internet access in hotels and apart-hotels very often and about 30% of the time the service is problematic.

On my new Dell laptop I use as many portable applications as possible, and although I run them from the C drive (or Q in my case - my data partition) I back them up daily onto usb sticks.  With so much that I can't control or predict, this gives me the most freedom and flexibility for my situation.

Ralf Maximus

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2007, 10:16:58 AM »
One trend I find particularly disturbing...

There is at least one company out there (name omitted) that markets web-based solutions for government agencies.  Not for the PUBLIC, mind you -- I am all for online registration of car tags, etc. -- but for ENTERPRISE use by gov't employees.

The idea (how their marketers sell it) is that instead of devoting countless IT hours to maintaining big enterprise apps on local servers and hardware, pay us and we'll maintain the thing on OUR servers in far away places.  Via the magic of the interweb, your employees will have access to all their data right in their computer's browser, just like it was "local", but without the hassles of configuring workstations, maintaining servers, etc.

We're not talking about cat licenses here, or when it's legal to water your lawn... this is often patient-confidential data, customer financial data, and lots of stuff critical to the functionality of the agency in question.

Think about that for a second.  Potentially YOUR data (depending on which state you live in the US) is being hosed back and forth over the internet daily as part of the normal business operations in some agencies.

Security issues aside, why is this a bad idea?

Has anyone noticed that the intertube is not necessarily 100% reliable?  What happens when some script-kiddie gets mad at (say) the state of California and DOS attacks the frack out of the state servers?  I'll tell you: nobody gets any work done.

Of similar concern: what if the vendor goes out of business?  The data's all stored on THEIR servers.  Sure, contingency plans exist (e.g. "in the event of operational shut-down a copy of the data shall be delivered to the customer") but that's little comfort if you don't have a crack IT staff standing by to rebuild your enterprise.  And that's assuming the customer even GETS the data -- I've personally witnessed situations where the customer ended up with nothing.

A better solution would be to run the vendor's wonderful software inside the firewalls, on state-owned hardware.  But that's not the business model that sells, apparently, because none of the customers I know using this product operate that way.

It's a disaster waiting to happen, many know it, but are powerless to do anything. I know, because some have tried.  It seems the interlink is a Bright Shiny Object that overcomes rational thought, at least for some folks.

Sorry for the rant, but this situation has been on my mind since this thread started. It's not a condemnation of web-based apps, far from it... just an observation that not everyone is immune to the power of marketing bad ideas. 

iphigenie

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2007, 10:47:23 AM »
That is certainly something to ponder - although I am thinking about it not from a perspective of reliability (as I can imagine that a company which focuses on technology and provides it to 20 different clients across the coutry -and whose livelyhood depends on this working properly - is more likely to have good architecture and practices than each of those 20 running something independently). No, I am thinking about it from a perspective of accountability - the *staff* in these companies have access to our data, and they don't have the public service contracts/oaths/whatever to limit what they can and cannot do about this data. The potential for a bad apple to take criminal advantage is high. Or maybe I have illusions about public service.

To be honest the data safety probably is a plus for most online apps. When my laptop was stolen and i discovered I couldnt figure out  how to recover my opera notes, sent mail history etc. I was extremely happy that quite a lot of my key files and settings had been uploaded or used on online services and could be recovered.

Tekzel

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Re: Have any web-based applications replaced desktop apps for you?
« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2007, 10:55:51 AM »
I am firmly in the "no use for online apps" camp.  I don't use any free mail services, tried Gmail but hated it instantly and never looked at it again.  For email, a portable install of Thunderbird on my flash drive is perfect for me.  I have a domain hosted at Godaddy with their email service and it has worked perfectly for me for 2 years now.  Side benefit:  I can be michael@ instead of michael2200404@.  Its a small thing, but it makes me happy.

Oh I do use the web based email client at Godaddy once in a while when I find myself without my flash drive and need to check my mail for some reason.

No. To me the web based app thing is mostly a fad and like all fads, it will die.  I could be wrong.  Time will tell.