I’m not exactly a neutral party when it comes to “web apps” (short for “web application”) versus their downloadable-installable cousins. This website, its articles, and blog posts are basically just packaging for my own suite of free web apps, workers’ compensation calculators.
For the purposes of this post, I’m restricting the definition of “web app” to those programming applications which run from inside an internet web browser and require an internet connection to operate. I’m excluding those hybrid web apps that require plugins to be installed (think flash or adobe multimedia banner ads). While web apps have inherent…
- Web browser. Some require a particular type or version of a web browser.
- Internet Connection. They won’t work without one. If you lose your internet connection, you’ve just become isolated from your information and the program.
- Form. Sometimes the program will look different depending upon the type or version of web browser.
- Function. Sometimes the program will act slightly differently depending upon the type or version of web browser.
… there are also undeniable…
- Portability. Web apps allow you to access your information from the internet.
- Independence. Web apps allow you to access your information from any computer.
- User Friendly. Nothing to download, install, or maintain.
- Seamless. These days web apps use AJAX so that your computer doesn’t need to reload the page to show you new information. The result are web based programs that look and act as if the program was installed on your computer.
- Braindead Backups. Since all information is stored on the web app server, a browser crash doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. No need to do anything.
- Updates. You immediately benefit from web app server program updates without needing to do anything.
- Compatibility. Most web apps can’t interfere with other programs on your computer.
- IT Security. With nothing to install, your IT professionals don’t need to worry about what you’ve got installed on your computer.