For the November poll question, we asked whether you prefer desktop apps or web apps. As we’d hoped, there were many responses and interesting comments.

Before looking at some of the feedback, here’s how this question came into existence: about a month ago, I was having a conversation with Max, our VP of Sales and Marketing. Max mentioned that he preferred web apps to desktop apps. As a desktop enthusiast, I was shocked and couldn’t believe it! But he made some valid points, and I thought the best people to settle this argument would be the IT pros in our community.

Web App vs Desktop App

Most of you said that you prefer desktop apps to web apps. For example:

  • Dennis Robbins wrote: “Both have their merits, but I prefer desktop apps. Web apps typically have (in my opinion) poor user interfaces. Especially those designed for the phone. Slack is a notable exception.”
  • Randy Jackson wrote: “I prefer desktop apps as well. They tend to be purpose built and have the corresponding features. The drawback is cross-platform compatibility. To me, web apps seem to be shoehorned into browsers at the expense of speed and functionality. For end user stuff, I think they prefer web based as it is simple; I do not fall into that category.”

Max will be happy to see that a few IT pros voted for web apps over desktop apps — at least some of the time depending on the use case. For example:

  • Cary wrote: “I like the idea of web-based applications. The problem I typically have is that they are usually not well developed. They might appear functional, but many times they are simply not intuitive. The other issue I have is performance. Running an application locally is almost always faster, and let's face it, they typically work the way your other applications work too. Yes, there are exceptions (ECC for example) where someone did very little planning. I hope that folks will embrace HTML-5 and develop web apps with the same level of planning and thought process as pc-based applications”.
  • Tommy Boucher wrote: Both? Desktop app on my main computer, and web app on everything else? Like Slack.”
The Best of Both Worlds

Community member Jason Fouks had a great comment about how so many pros/cons are not based on whether the tool is a web app or a desktop app, but in how much effort and testing was done during development (similar to the comments that Cary made, provided above). Here is what Jason shared:

“It all depends on the tool, how the developer has made it, and how well it works. Using a desktop application may not always be a solution because some developers make them for Windows only or macOS only which makes it so the other platform is not supported. If it is a web application those aren't always compliant with how everyone wants to use their web browsing experience. It may work in Firefox but not Google Chrome or Safari or it works in IE because of some ActiveX support but good luck using it on macOS Safari. HTML5 is bridging that gap by leaps and bounds but there is still a ton of work to do with development. A great developer would make it universally accessible from all platforms, all walks of life and function the same no matter what you use for your ‘vehicle’.”

I totally agree Jason! For a full look at all of the great responses to the poll question, click here.

Is There Really a Winner?

Like community member Eric Nail, I believe that even though most people (including me) prefer desktop apps, the future is going to be dominated by web apps. Community member Dominic Russell highlighted a key reason for this when he wrote: “As a user, I prefer Desktop Apps for a one-time fee and decide when to spend again for an update. As a seller, I prefer Web Apps because it regulates revenue.”

Sometimes There IS a Winner – or TWO!

We may be a long way from declaring a champion in the battle between web apps and desktop apps, but at least we can celebrate the two winners of this month’s poll right now. The lucky recipients of a $25 Amazon gift card are…drum roll please… Randy Jackson and Charles Naslund! Congratulations gentlemen. Please contact me to claim your prize.

And if you didn’t win, don’t worry — the December poll is launching tomorrow. Stay tuned!