Web-Based Tool or Desktop Tool: Pros & Cons of Each?

by 11 comments
I want to create a tool for Internet Marketers and initially I was thinking I would hire a developer to make a web-based application. My thinking was that this would be the cheapest to have developed and it would be easier as I wouldn't have to deal with PC vs. Mac compatibility issues.

Before I plow forward with this and sink a bunch of money hiring a coder, should I consider a desktop-based tool or stick with a web-based solution?

I guess I need to know what the pros and cons are of both solutions.

Thanks,

Travis
#programming #cons #desktop #pros #tool #webbased
  • Profile picture of the author Revolves
    More and more people are going the web route. Even Microsoft is going to release office 2010 with limited features as a web app.

    A web application can be accessed by logging in from anywhere in the world. The only downside to a web app is the cost of bandwidth. A desktop app is more or less a 1 time download.

    Revolves
  • Profile picture of the author Mohsin Rasool
    Originally Posted by tvanslooten View Post

    I want to create a tool for Internet Marketers and initially I was thinking I would hire a developer to make a web-based application. My thinking was that this would be the cheapest to have developed and it would be easier as I wouldn't have to deal with PC vs. Mac compatibility issues.

    Before I plow forward with this and sink a bunch of money hiring a coder, should I consider a desktop-based tool or stick with a web-based solution?

    I guess I need to know what the pros and cons are of both solutions.

    Thanks,

    Travis
    Hi Travis,

    You can offer a hosted solution at your own site...Online service!
    and you can also offer a desktop solution/or web app for their own server...

    I would say at first go for the cheapest method...get it done, let the market
    test, and prove that it is a winner idea...then you can get developed its
    other versions...like if it was first a php script, you can get a desktop version
    + you can offer managed solution online as a service...

    Best Regards,
    Mohsin
  • Profile picture of the author TrafficMystic
    if your creating a stand alone product that may not be a monthly subscription or an app that may need a local database then I would say do a desktop app. It really depends on the product your creating
  • Profile picture of the author Alican Yenidogan
    Well,

    does your software need a database? Does it require an internet connection?

    Making a software online means when your server is down, lots of unhappy customers but if you make it a desktop app, users doesn't even need a connection to use it.

    but

    As you said, you can't make 1 application that would both work on mac and pc, you need to have 2 applications but it is doable.

    The bottom line is, there are lots of criterias for a desicion like this. Don't only think about bw, think bigger..

    Also if you ask me, a web application would cost more (at least for me) compared to a desktop application..
  • Profile picture of the author patfl
    Few thoughts:

    One important thing to take into account is confidentiality. For me, web apps are just a way to give info to the owner of the website, while with a desktop app, you (as the user) can always manage to control what's going on the cloud.

    Cost wise, a wep app costs more to develop (you have to take into account different browsers, size screen etc) but on the long run, it will cost less in deployment and support.

    Another positive thing with web app is you can bill monthly and create a community more easily than with a desktop app.

    But the confidentiality for me is a killer. I don't want people to know my niches, keywords etc so I will never subscribe to an online service for that kind of thing.

    Patrice
  • Profile picture of the author Travis Van Slooten
    Some great input, here guys, thanks! But now I think I'm more confused than before!!

    I see the pros and cons of both solutions. This tool wouldn't require any confidential information. It's basically a data mining, research tool. It would be analogous to Terapeak (a tool the provides indepth research of eBay auctions). Except this tool wouldn't be storing anything - at least not in the first version. If I did go the database route, it would allow for a ton more functionality that I would like to add someday, but for the first release, it wouldn't be necessary.

    So essentially this tool would tie into a website api to pull in their data and information. I would then present that data in a table so people could sort it and filter the data. I would also be adding my own formula to the data (i.e. taking the data and running my own calculations to give people an index or rating).

    Down the road, I would like to give people the ability to save things, cut and paste data, etc. but for now, it would be a fairly basic tool. For now, they would just search through the data, sort it, and filter it. Future versions would allow them to save their results, cut and paste the data to a form, and maybe a few other features.

    So given my immediate and long-term needs, which route would you recommend? I'm not a technical person but I don't understand how a web-based app could cost more. If a desktop solution is indeed cheaper and easier to deploy (and provides more functionality), then that seems like the obvious choice. If I were to hire a developer to do this, what language or platform would such a tool be built on? Some have suggested Adobe Air or .NET (neither one means a thing to me but that's what I was told).

    Still looking for more input! Thanks!!

    Travis
    • Profile picture of the author ZorroCat
      Hi Travis,

      all I can give you is my personal preference: I will always prefer a web-based tool that I can install on my own web server for two reasons:

      a. it's under my control and I can usually check if there's some shady tactics such as phoning home or making unauthorized use of my data (which is a lot harder to check with desktop-based tools or hosted solutions)

      b. I can use it from wherever I want (I work from multiple computers in multiple locations, which SUCKS with commercial desktop-based apps).

      Kind regards,
      Zorro
  • Profile picture of the author garyk1968
    Travis,

    A web app typically will cost more simply because it takes longer to build. It is much easier and faster to prototype a user interface using a desktop development tool than a web one. The gap is narrowing with the likes of adobe flex and some very good javascript frameworks but it is still faster to code a windows app.

    I'm old school so I still code traditional windows apps but can of course hook web apis provided by the likes of amazon and ebay. As others have said deployment and cross platform is the biggest advantage of web apps.

    Gary
  • Profile picture of the author VisualWebEffects
    Well it really does depend on what the type of tool is.

    I prefer doing Web Based Apps, but since my web programming is centered around the .net framework that does not always work, considering allot of people use PHP for their web based marketing tools.

    But, as said, it depends on the tools you are creating. I am in the process of making an Internet Marketing based tool, it does not need internet to be used, does not require the use of a database, and because of the type of program it is i decided to make it a Windows Application.

    So you just have to list what the program will do, and what it is ment to achieve. Then list the pro's and cons of having it as a web app, and a Windows App.
  • Profile picture of the author Elliott Bean
    If you get the desktop app written in java it will be cross platform, hence no pc versus mac issues
  • Profile picture of the author mrmagos
    When I hear data mining, I usually think web app.

    Additionally, if you will be querying other web app apis, you may want a database on the back end to cache queries to help speed up whatever algorithms you may be using to transform the data. A caching database would also be helpful if the api has strict tos.

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