Mobile, desktop or web application – what should you choose?

Mobile, desktop or web application – what should you choose?

The app. It has been one of the fastest trending buzz words of last years. Many times when we hear about a successful startup or about the newest tool that everyone just cannot stop using (and talking about), there is a great chance it has to do with some kind of an IT application.  When our customers ask us what could solve their problems there cannot be another answer than: let us develop an application for you, it will be a perfect fit to specific needs of your organization.

Desktop, mobile or web application – about making that choice

When you already know that you want to order a customized application, the next question will probably be: of what kind? There are three main types of such software. It makes a difference if it should be a mobile, desktop or web application. Let us guide you through each kind so you can consciously make the best choice.

It appears that the most commonly used solution is still the desktop app. Many individuals and businesses decide to install hard copies of the software on their servers and use them on their laptops and PCs. It is definitely convenient to have it stored and be able to use it even without internet connection. However, the desktop app is also the oldest solution and it many cases tends to be a little outdated.

A mobile application, on the other hand, was created to meet the needs of growing network of the users of mobile devices. These applications are most often created for specific operating systems (such as Android, iOS or Windows) and work best with devices that support them. If the specificity of your organization requires an above average usage of a mobile phone or tablet, you should consider getting a mobile app instead.

If you cannot estimate if you are using your laptop or your smartphone more, it is likely that the web application will be appropriate.  The great advantage of this type of software is that it can be used on whatever device. It opens in a browser, so it operates the same on the PC in your office, your laptop during a business trip or on your smartphone as you are running late to work.

How to tell mobile app from desktop or web application?

Mobile and desktop applications need to be installed directly on a device.

A desktop application usually requires adaptation to the operating system of the device, which may mean that it will simply not work on a computer with a different OS. It is also rather difficult to perform an upgrade to the latest version because it means an installment of the most recent patch on every single computer within the firm.

It might be a little less problematic when it comes to mobile apps. To be precise there are at least three sorts of this kind of solution. We will be covering the details in following posts on this blog, but just to give you a glimpse, it’s possible to distinguish:

  • light website,
  • native application,
  • hybrid application.

Talking about the upgrades and switching between devices, light websites or hybrid apps do not cause any difficulties. A slight obstacle might occur if using a native mobile application. In case it was prepared for a certain OS or – even more radically – just for a specific version of the operating system, its users should be prepared to face some limitations.

A web application, on the other hand, communicates with your device exclusively through a web browser. As mentioned, it does not make a difference if you are using a phone or a personal computer. This is a great advantage that saves your time and gives you the freedom of deciding which device is more appropriate at the moment. It is crucial that you have a working internet connection though. (Anyway, nowadays it should not be a problem.) One other thing to consider while using a web application is its responsiveness. Your software house should make sure it opens on a phone’s small screen in a way that will not interfere with your User Experience.

Is web application an ultimate solution?

After reading the latest paragraph you might already be under the impression, that a web application is the best solution out there. It is simpler to use, portable and it saves your time.

Surprisingly, desktop applications are actually very popular throughout many business branches. Especially when it comes to the software that supports accounting or financial analytics. It results from stagnation and misunderstanding rather than from an actual supremacy of this solution. A popular myth, that is still circulating in many organizations tells us that data entered into desktop applications is less likely to be hacked. It comes from the perception of private servers to be the safest solution to store business information. It could not be further from the truth to still think that in 2017. It should be enough to say that even traditionally known as exclusively desktop app, biggest office suite has recently turned into the direction of a web solution[1].

Mobile applications on the other hand are software designed for mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. They usually work as an addition to a web app because not all the functions can be delivered on a small screen of just a phone with a limited computer performance.

Internet (web) apps are a mobile tool that can be used anywhere in the world and from any device – regardless of its operating system. They are also usually very frequently updated (without involving its users). Those two factors make them the most desirable software of modern times. Very good examples of web applications are all types of applications that require online communication (for example transactional, social and administrative portals).

Connecting different types of applications

A very popular solution is to connect two (sometimes three) types of applications. It can be done if you would like to use the benefits of more than one kind of such software. A connection of the web and mobile application is commonly used in CRM systems. SugarCRM for example apart from a very popular web application offers a mobile version of it. It complements the user experience and allows a convenient way of switching devices depending on a situation.

A little summary

All desktop applications require installation on PCs or portable computers.

Mobile applications are built for a specific type of operating system. Updating them does not involve much attention from the user. In addition, mobile applications can usually work without internet access.

The web application has tremendous capabilities. It combines the assets of a mobile app with some unique features. It can be used on both stationary and mobile devices. The only thing that you should remember about before choosing this solution is the fact, that it depends on the quality of your internet connection.

For more information and some consultancy regarding the most suitable solution, contact our team by filling in our online form available here: CONTACT.