The Advantages and Defects of Web-Based Software
The benefits of web-based software are more significant than traditional desktop software.
A web application is a program that uses a website as a front-end. Users can easily access the program using a standard browser on any computer connected to the Internet.
Before we get into the benefits of this software, it’s good to know a little bit about what sets a web application apart from other software.
What sets web applications apart?
- Network intensity: “Web-based software” is built on a network structure and must meet the needs of different communities and groups of customers. A web-based software may be placed on the Internet to be accessible to a particular organization. It may be placed on an extranet and made available to specific users.
- Availability: Although unforeseen problems always occur, you have to consider, at any hour of the day or night, a user may connect to the software from anywhere in the world. That’s why web-based software should be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
- Data-driven: The primary function of much web-based software is to use ‘hypermedia’ to display texts, graphics, sounds, and images. In other words, most web-based software uses shared information on local and non-local databases.
- Security: Due to the unlimited number of web application users, this software should have more powerful security structures to protect sensitive information and data transfer.
- Aesthetics: An integral part of any web-based software is its aesthetics. Physical beauty plays a more significant role in the success of web applications compared to technical design.
The advantages of Web-based software
As you know, Microsoft Word is a desktop word processing application. Google Docs, on the other hand, is a web-based word processing software. But many users around the world use Google Docs instead of Word. This means that the advantages of web-based software, for both users and developers, are more noticeable than traditional ones.
Here are some of these advantages:
- More comfortable programming and development process
There is no need to develop and test web-based software on all versions of the operating system. This makes development and troubleshooting much more comfortable. In contrast, desktop applications are designed for a single operating system and should be tested on all its versions.
- Easy access
Despite programs installed on a personal computer, web applications are available at any time and place via a computer connected to the Internet. Web-based applications also create exciting modern opportunities such as global teams, working at home, and real-time collaboration.
- Adaptable to different groups of customers
In addition to being customizable for different user groups, the content can be customized for each device. This includes tools like PDAs, cell phones, and tablets.
Custom-making for different users increases the clients’ ability to access the information they need. In other words, people do not have to search for their needs in a pile of irrelevant knowledge.
- Easier installation and debugging
Using a web-based approach also makes installation and debugging easier. Once a new or upgraded version is installed on the host server, all users can access it, and there is no need to upgrade every potential user’s computer. Rolling out new software only requires the client’s up-to-date browsers and plugins.
Moreover, the results will be more reliable because the software upgrade is done only by one programmer and on one server.
- Adjustable to increase workload
In addition to the benefits mentioned, it is much easier to increase processor capacity in web applications. If the software needs more power to do different duties, everything would be fine with upgrading the server hardware.
Also, Running web-based software on multiple servers simultaneously increases its power. Adding new servers is a sure and simple way to compensate for the extra workload. For example, Google works on thousands of low-cost Linux servers.
Weaknesses of web-based software
The most crucial disadvantage of web-based software is that it does not support ‘offline mode.’ This problem is precisely due to the inherent nature of these kinds of applications. Different solutions have been proposed, but none of them can solve the situation radically.
- Security vulnerabilities in web applications and the complexity of the browser itself seem to make bugs inevitable.
Relying on multimedia plugins such as Flash and QuickTime to cover this shortcoming complicates and increases support costs.