Whether you are an IT engineer or a random web surfer, you sure have thought several times (the curious minds might have searched on Google too) about the difference between a Web App and a desktop app or which one is better for your needs. As the quest builds up an intense inquisitiveness, this blog answers all your unheard questions.
But keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It depends on the requirements of your business (or usage).
What is a Web App?
A web application is unlike a mobile application. You do not need to download a web app in your system. It is stored at a remote server that requires a browser and internet connection to operate it. For example, when you use Google spreadsheet online, you are using a web app. You can create or make changes to the file without downloading it to your system. So, if you want software that runs on the web and not the system, you need to check for an expert web app development company. To give you a fair idea about web apps, here are a few examples.
A few examples of web applications are Netflix, Zoom, Pinterest, etc.
What is a Desktop App?
A desktop application is almost like a mobile application. You need to download a desktop app to operate it. You can use it with or without the internet or the web browser. For example, when you play a video game like Asphalt you need to download it first.
A few examples of desktop applications are Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Word, VLC media player, etc.
Pros and Cons of Web Apps
Every system you choose has its advantages and disadvantages. I am here to present you with the facts. Starting with web apps, let’s look at their pros.
Pros of Web Apps
Starting from Netflix, and Trello to Amazon everyone uses web apps for their operations. There must be some great advantages. Let’s look at the pros.
Cross Platform Operation
You can use web apps on any device. Whether it is your tab, mobile, or laptop; web apps are cross-platform software. For example, the Google document that you open on your laptop can also opens on your phone.
The best part about web apps is that you do not need to download them. You can directly operate web application services from the browser you use. For example, WhatsApp.
No Manual Updates
For web apps, you do not need to go to your system and check for updates. When you open the web app on the browser you get the updated version. It is not on you to update or not update.
Runs on Any OS
It does not depend on whether you are choosing the best desktop application development services, web apps work on any operating system whether you are using Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.
Lesser Load on the System
If you don’t have to download the application on your system, then it puts less pressure on the storage capacity. So, if your laptop is running low on storage web apps are the best.
Cons of Web Apps
Now that you know the advantages, it is time to know the disadvantages too. Let’s check them out.
Sure, you can use the web app anywhere but not until you have a static internet connection. You need a constant internet requirement to access the web app.
Malware and Security Risk
When you operate a web app, your information gets into the public cloud. It may hinder your privacy issues. Not only that, but you also can’t control your protection in an open system.
Your application is dependent on the operating system as well. So, if your operating system stops working for some reason, you won’t be able to operate the web app as well.
If your internet speed is slow and you are using the web app, you have to expect your performance to be slow. Also, if the traffic is high, it can take a toll on the performance.
Types of Web Apps
To understand the functionalities of the web apps here are some types to understand.
Static Web Application: built using HTML and CSS, this web application is not flexible.
Dynamic Web Application: It is one of the best web apps. It uses real-time data, and it is technically sophisticated enough.
E-commerce Web Application: When your web app sells products or services directly to the users it is an e-commerce web application.
Single-page Web Application: Just as it sounds it is a single-page web application. But unlike static web applications, it is dynamic and fast.
Pros and Cons of Desktop Apps
It is not very different from the apps we use on our phones. Think of desktop apps as mobile apps and then dive into the realm of pros and cons of desktop apps.
Pros of Desktop Apps
I will start with the advantages of desktop apps and then will move on to the disadvantages. Let’s get started.
In desktop apps, since the network is private and all information stays in your system, it is more secure and there is no chance of minimal chance of data theft.
Since the desktop application development is for the system, the performance will always overpower the performance of a web app.
Since users can use the desktop app freely, they don’t have to pay to use web apps (as most of the web apps are not free), and desktop apps are cost-effective.
There are desktop apps like Clipchamp which you can use on your device even if there is no internet connection – also the one where I am writing right now, the offline version of Word.
The advantages were immense, no matter what. So do your research and get the best desktop application development services if you feel it is right for you.
Cons of Desktop Apps
Now let’s drop the topic on the cons of desktop apps and identify which suits your needs better.
Desktop apps are limited to what device you are using. For example Figma, you can’t use Figma on a Windows laptop.
One Machine Limitation
Another disadvantage of desktop apps is they are limited to one machine use. If you are using software on one device, the data won’t sync to another device.
For desktop apps, you have to download it. Which also requires timely updates and installation time and data.
In respect to the above point, downloading not only takes data and time it takes the space of the device as well.
I understand it is difficult to make a final choice when both have such great advantages. As I mentioned at the beginning of the blog, the choice depends on your requirements. So, it is your call if you will contact a web app development company or the other. If you want flexibility, a web app should be your choice. And if you are worried about privacy and security, you are looking for a desktop app.
Author Name- Mr. Pratik Mistry
I am Pratik Mistry, a rare mix of technologist and Executive Vice President in sales at Radixweb. My passion lies in helping companies grow revenues by delivering top-notch custom application development solutions and building value-based partnerships. When not driving high-impact go-to-market strategies, I love to try new cuisines and go to the movies.