The Difference Between Web App and Desktop App: What’s better?

The Difference Between Web App and Desktop App: What’s better?

In today’s digitally driven world, the difference between a web app and a desktop app is very important for you to know. It’s a very important decision of your digital transformation journey. It can impact not only your user experience, but also functionality, and accessibility. 

In this article, we will review both of these options and their advantages, and try to determine which one is generally more suited to you and to today’s digital world.

What is a Web App?

A web application, more commonly referred to as a web app, is in short a software application that’s accessed through a web browser. This means that the application is installed on a server, and can be accessed remotely, without needing installation. 

You already know plenty of web apps, but some examples include Gmail, which is an email client web app. Social media platforms are also examples of web apps. Or some productivity tools such as Google Docs, which replaces similar desktop apps such as Microsoft Word.

What is a Desktop App?

A desktop application, in contrast to web apps, does not need a browser to run. They run on a computer system, and depending on the desktop app, could not require internet. However, you need to install them on your machine for them to work. They also need to be compatible with your operating system. For example, if you’re using MacOS, you will not be able to use a desktop app that’s only compatible with Microsoft Windows. 

Some examples of desktop apps include like mentioned earlier Microsoft Word. You also have email clients such as Outlook. Or many more for all purposes, such as VLC media player or Adobe Photoshop.

Advantages of a Web App

1). You can access a web app from anywhere on any device. No need to have the app installed on your device. All you need is a browser and an internet connection.

2). Web apps are cross platform. Contrary to desktop apps, they can run on any operating system.

3). Updating web apps is easy. Why is it easy? Because you don’t have to do anything. Whenever you load the web app, it will load the latest version automatically!

4). Scalability for web apps is much easier than desktop apps. This is due to the advancement in technology of cloud solutions right now. With the click of a button, you can now upgrade your cloud storage or your server processors. This is so that you can accommodate more users or data. 

5). Web apps put less load on your system, as everything happens on your browser. This is especially useful for users with low processing power and RAM. 

Disadvantages of Web Apps

1). Web apps need an internet connection to function. So sadly you cannot use them in an isolated space. However, technology advancement is solving this issue. Apart from a lot of web apps providing offline support (like Google Docs), an internet connection is available practically everywhere you go now!

2). The advancement of technology is sadly not all positive. Hacks and cyber-attacks are becoming more effective by the day. Everyone is now worried about their data security. Hackers can use techniques such as XSS, DDos, or SQL injection to try and breach databases and servers. That’s why you need robust security measures to have a great web app.

Advantages of a Desktop App

1). Contrary to web apps, one of the advantages of desktop apps is that you can use them offline. Since they are installed on your computer, there is no need to have an internet connection to launch the app.

2). Because they are present on your computer, they can use more of your hardware’s power. That’s why desktop apps are considered to have better performance than web apps.

3). You gain more privacy and security from desktop apps. This is due to the data being stored on your machine, rather than on a remote server. This will also prevent you from some of the cyberthreats faced by web apps.

Disadvantages of Desktop Apps

1). Desktop apps are dependent on platforms. Some desktop apps can only run on specific operating systems, thus limiting you on either side.

2). Installing and updating desktop apps can be a rigorous process. You have to install and update the app manually, which can take some valuable time. And sometimes things can go wrong regarding compatibility issues or version conflicts. 

3). Desktop apps require more space. For a web app, all you need is a web browser. But desktop apps need space on your machine in order to be installed properly. This can be an issue especially with larger desktop apps.

Web App vs Desktop App: Conclusion

To conclude, the difference between a web app and a desktop app is simple. Both solutions offer contrasting advantages to each other, and it’s possible that one or the other could fit your business more. For example, if remote access is important to you, then web apps are the go to. If using the app offline is what matters, then you need to choose desktop apps.

However, web apps usually are considered a safer bet. This is because they are useful in more scenarios. They are also less restricting than desktop apps, apart from the fact that they use the internet. However, in this current age, that is no longer a problematic issue. 

In summary, if flexibility is what you’re looking for, then web apps are what you should choose. Remote access, cross-platform, easy updates, and scalability are all attractive advantages that would be beneficial to your organisation. 

The only thing to worry about for web apps would be cyberthreats, which can be avoided if you work with a web development agency that puts real focus on security. At STEPS, we put great focus on this aspect. As a web development and data company, we know the importance of data, and that’s why we take great care of it during our web development. This is the reason why we use the most secure and up to date security measures to ensure that all your data remains safe. However, security is not everything. We also put great attention to the quality and design of your web apps, so that you not only feel safe using them, but live an incredible user experience. Interested to start building your dream web app with us? Then contact us today and let’s build something great together!

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