.Net app on the desktop or browser based app?

10 05 2007

I’ve been thinking more about the .NET development and am wondering how easy it is to convert a .NET app into a browser-based app.

What are the benefits to having a full blown .NET (desktop) app, vs. a browser-based version that has the same functionality?

My questions around all of this are pointed toward Microsoft and the associated licensing costs. Alternate desktop flavors are maturing at a pretty aggressive rate and will be better a year from now that they are today. More than 90% of our users use the most basic functionality within the productivity apps, Word, Excel, etc. and could function just fine with an open source alternative.

With that said I don’t expect our backend technologies to be changing in the near future. The use of Exchange, IIS, SQL will likely continue. The costs associated with maintaining a backend environment is small when compared to the desktop environment.

Another option may be to stop upgrading the desktops once a Microsoft enterprise or select agreement expires. This is a good solution if we refrain from developing Windows based apps that require upgraded OS’s or .Net frameworks.

What do you think. Desktop or Browser based?




2 responses

11 05 2007

I think that it is based upon the connectivity of your users. If your users are not going to be disconnected from your network, than a web-based application may suit your needs. \If you do have clients that work remotely or in a disconnected manner (i.e. laptops or tablets) then there will be some level of desktop application necessary. That being said, backend applications you reference make it easy to synchronize your mobile applications through SQL Server, ActiveSync or some other web service to exchange the deltas. But there you are still relying on the Windows Desktop.

Just my 2cents…

11 05 2007

Sean – Thanks for your comment. The points you raise are good ones.

The large majority of desktops in our company, greater than 80%, operate in an always connected state and are excellent candidates for the browser based app. We do have some users taking up the additional 20% that may work while disconnected. With that said those users that operate remotely still need to VPN into our network to access the main business applications. To make this possible we are outfitting much of the mobile workforce with data cards.

We are also developing mobile applications, for Windows based phones, that will deliver much of the info they would typically access via VPN. These apps are being designed to sync across the network and will hopefully not require an ActiveSync/dock scenario at a desktop.

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