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Author Topic: doing a web app is easier than a desktop app. Days are counted for Desktop apps?  (Read 2950 times)


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Doing a web app is easier than a desktop app.
This thread has lots of details and stats:


If the stats are true, sooner or later all devs will come to the same conclusion.
Days are counted for Desktop apps -excluding some niches like photo editing etc-?


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Of course I am (starting to feel like) enough of a dinosaur to still code in C because it's "more efficient" :-[.


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"Easier" is relative - it's all black magic to me: Ajax, all kinds of databases, and you have to think about security at every line of code.

However, to the extent that it may be easier for professional programmers, I'd say it's because web apps suck. All of them. Their functionality, speed and ease of use don't hold a candle to the current state of desktop apps. Most web apps I've seen belong in the User Interface Hall of Shame, with few exceptions - but even those exceptions can't compete with what's available on the desktop today.

The only saving grace of a web app is that it remains accessible from just about anywhere. That gain though comes at a price of potential security breaches and having to trust your data to a for-profit (or amateur-run) business. To my mind this is a poor trade-off, but that may be because I don't have to leave home to do my work.

In recent years I've seen a number of software developers (and developers of Delphi components) move their support system from nntp to the web. The results are always disappointing. It takes much longer to find anything, the search is not nearly as powerful or flexible, copying is a drag, and often you have to log in manually. By contrast, in Forte Agent I have years of experience and knowledge stored and accessible within a few clicks, and Archivarius keeps it all indexed, too.

Also in my line of work, localization vendors have been moving things like terminology databases to the web. It seems to make sense, since they can update those databases and translators always see the latest version without having to re-download or re-install anything. Yes, but then each database is located at a different website (instead of within a single desktop app), requires a different login (which they make you change every two months), and the web interfaces tend to log you out after 30 or 60 minutes of inactivity. That's like five or more repeated log-ins during a single work session. It's more than mere annoyance: it takes me longer to accomplish a task, so in effect it's like a taking pay downgrade just because web apps have become trendy.

For those who travel a lot, web apps may have improved their lives. To me though, they are but nuisance and aggravation. Yes, they are probably easy to write. It's because they're all crappy!  :mad:

Edited to add: one reason web apps are loved by developers is that they can shove more adverts down my throat, too. GMail shows me ads; TheBat! does not. The choice is really simple.

And to add some more: Stack Overflow seems like an example of a really good (and very successful) web app. Information-wise, it's brilliant. But try to enter a few words in the search box and search for posts containing all of them (rather than posts with any of the words). Quick tip: you can't. I'm ever grateful to Mouser for building DC around SMF rather than phpBB, because again, the search facility in phpBB is next to useless. And it's the most popular forum engine on the planet!

They say bad money drives out the good, and the rise of web apps is a prime example.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2009, 10:40 AM by tranglos »


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dinosaurs WERE efficient once, other wise they would not have ruled this planet for so long.

re the OP: I do find web apps easier to program, so I prefer to code web apps. However, I do think there are a lot of applications for which a webinterface is not the right choice (calling the elevator for example). These two categories will exist in parallel for quite a while, maybe adding a third category: CLI programs.

Some applications might provide all sorts of interfaces to suit the users need. And this is what ultimately will determine the interfaces in use...


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tranglos: hear ye, hear ye!

There are situations where webapps make sense, but they'll always be slower and more limited than desktop apps in general. There's really no way around it when you run across internet links rather than in-process memory, and when you use JIT'ed JavaScript as opposed to native (or heck, even JVM/dotNET) code.
- carpe noctem

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Webapps are great until something goes wrong - I was with a client this morning panicking over the fact that Hotmail ate about 1400 emails (including financial details from web orders and banking stuff).

Ironically she lost them trying to back them up in Outlook - she installed the Outlook Live Connector and added her Hotmail account only to have all sorts of problems including the post count dwindle before her eyes.

Note she had a paid for hotmail account too.

OK you could argue that anyone who uses Hotmail for sensitive and important information is asking for it but in my limted experience that is what you can expect from webapps - plus the developers and hosts don't give a damn about their users.