The Synthasite team recently had a strategy & planning session, and one of the things we did, was to look at the real benefits of why users (we hope) would use a platform like Synthasite, instead of Dreamweaver or Frontpage (i.e. Web App vs Desktop App).
There is a screencast demo of Synthasite that we produced from the sessions, but also, here is the list of reasons that we came up with as to why Web Apps are superior to (most) desktop apps â€“ and herein lies the future of the web! The clip is available on YouTube here and in higher res format here.
And here are the 20 reasons why Web Apps are superior to Desktop Apps!
Browser based software never requires installation processes or hard drive space. It lives in a virtual cloud in the Internet and this means that whenever you launch it, it always has the latest version. Ajax has made it possible to deliver Desktop-like look & feel, and functionality, with no loss of performance!
Updates are seamless
Instead of having to patch each and every individual user, the patches/upgrades are applied to the server and each user received the updated version the next time they log in.
This is a big issue for traditional software vendors. Users who purchase previous versions of a software almost always will result in legacy versions lying around which need support (which is costly). The problems relating to legacy software are almost limitless, and often is not efficient for both the vendor or the customer.
No admin rights required
Finally, a world where the network administrator in the company does not have to approve the installation of your software!
Available anywhere, anytime
Ok, so the anytime comment is a stretch, but thatâ€™s only until Adobeâ€™s Apollo gets here (hereâ€™s hoping!). The same way that people access their email from any browser, web apps are exactly the same.
This opens a wider market for software vendors â€“ no longer do they have to build technology around a specific platform and limit their market (or incur additional costs to build for another platform). The browser is the platfom and therefore I believe you will see increased uptake in OSâ€™s like Mac OS and Linus, due to the increased availability of Web Applications.
Less environmental conflicts
There are certainly going to be a lot less bugs in Web based software, due to the fact that it is not depending on any of the hardware or environment settings in the OS that may usually cause a problem.
Enables social possibilities
Many Web Apps are creating chat facilities and the ability to share your work in real time. This removes the previous â€œstand-aloneâ€ functionality that use to exist with most installed desktop applications. The world is becoming more and more social – people want to collaborate and work online together – Web Apps allows this, painlessly.
Lower cost of sale
No boxes, printed manual, expensive shipping costs, CDâ€™s, distribution channels, middlemen, etc. Desktop apps are going to be more economical to produce and will result in a lower cost of sale!
Usable from inexpensive PCs
$100 Laptops, here we come! What do you need a dual core processor for, if youâ€™re running a thin client application? This opens up a world of cost savings for both companies and consumers, especially in the field of productivity apps (obviously, not gaming!).
Here is a big one. Imagine a world without software piracy. That world is here, and Web Applications are the solution to that problem. Next problem, please!
No bad debts
Sofware companies are often owed money from distributors, that invariably go bust from time to time. With Web Apps, the cash is collected upfront and as long as the customer pays, the account is in good stead.
Low-cost support and maintenance
Given that the browser is now the platform, operational support costs and maintenance for Web Application providers will drop substantially. No need to have expensive operating system gurus on hand to help with installation problems. Also, using products like the Amazon EC2 cloud, will allow scalability, without a proportionate increase in costs.
Userâ€™s data is kept safe in hosting environment
Although this is probably not going to be true for all Web App companies, but using providers like Rackspace or Amazonâ€™s EC2 cloud will go a long way in reassuring your customers that their data is safer than on their desktop!
No installation, means no viruses. Start shorting all those Anti-Virus stocks! Enough said!
Low cost global distribution
No more channel reliance. Most software companies make it or break it, depending on their channel. Forget that â€“ focus on the biggest channel of all â€“ the 1 billion users online!
Lower software price entry point for customers
Given the benefits above, you will see more products such as Basecamp and Synthasite that will offer far greater value than their desktop equivalents.
Access to the entire assets of the Web (APIs, widgets, messaging, collaboration)
By being wired into the web, Web Apps are able to integrate seamless into APIâ€™s etc and are a lot more customizable, than traditional software applications.
Mobile is here
Compiled desktop applications are going to have a hard time being adapted for mobile devices. Web apps are ready made (in most cases).
Widest potential audience
For all the points above, this basically unlocks markets for software vendors that previously were inaccessible due to technical reasons.