Web applications vs. desktop applications

Web applications have a lot of advantages, for example, they don't require installation and updating which saves a lot of administration work for large companies. They're also good for users who have more than one computer, as all their data and preferred software is accessible on multiple devices. It also becomes more important that web applications are cross-platform and work on different OS.

However, web apps have some downsides. The most important of them is the requirement of the internet connection. But this changes quickly, as mobile internet and pay as you go mobile broadband becomes faster and cheaper. Land-line internet access also becomes more common.

Advantages for users

  • No installation and updating
  • Access from anywhere with the internet
  • Data is stored remotely
  • Cross-platform compatibility
  • Better suitable for low-end computers and require little disk space
  • Client computer is better protected from viruses as the app is sandboxed inside a browser



In conclusion, web applications are undoubtedly growing fast and this trend will continue in the next years. Apps that were impossible a few years ago such as browser-based audio editing software are now good enough for non-professional use. Email, collaboration and project management web apps are starting to replace desktop applications.

Tool for developing are becoming better. Microsoft tries to push his own Silverlight platform, Google is betting on the open standards. Adobe continues to develop Flash and Flex. And it will be exciting to see which platform for web development will advance the most in the next years.