Web-based applications are everywhere, encompassing any application used through HTTP.
Have you ever opened up Google Apps or Microsoft 365 for work? Or logged into a system to buy tickets or book accommodations? Then you’ve probably used web-based applications.
With such easy access and widespread use, web applications are slowly overtaking desktop applications, an application that runs on the desktop of a computer. What does that mean for developers and users? It means that over the next several years a couple of significant changes will occur in application development.
If you’re interested in reading more, let’s delve into the differences between web-based applications and desktop applications.
Web-Based Applications vs Desktop Applications
Before discussing the future of application development, it’s important to know what makes web applications so different from desktop applications. While both areas involve programming and application development, the differences between their processes, security, and accessibility are distinct.
Web apps run on a browser, so developers only need to create one app for multiple platforms. Updates or changes in web apps can also be easily fixed. As developer David Bolton explains in an article for Dice, web apps can also be updated at any time, making the development process easier for both developers and users.
Meanwhile, the development process for desktop applications requires additional steps from both the developer and users. Developers need to create different desktop applications for each platform. If changes need to occur, individuals have to update the desktop apps on each computer.
Users will have to be aware of new changes to implement updates. If not, they may experience compatibility issues with other users on newer versions of the platform.
Accessibility and Usage
Desktop apps are platform-dependent. It must be installed on a computer, and it takes up space on a drive. As a result, desktop apps limit usage to only a few individuals. A desktop app is also not accessible on other computers, so the user needs to have the device with them at all times or work in a specific location to reap the benefits of the web app.
A web application is accessible anywhere there is an internet connection. Multiple users can access web applications, and users don’t have to be in a specific location or device for it to work. It doesn’t need to be installed, so there will never be space limitations on the app.
One possible issue that web app users may run into is slow application performance. A stable Internet connection (which you may not always have when you’re on the go) produces optimal application performance.
Security and Protection
Desktop apps are secure because only users on the desktop can have access to the application. Furthermore, some applications include administration control which further prevents potential breaches.
Since web apps can be accessed from anywhere, there is a greater potential for security breaches. Web apps may offer administrative control to limit user access. Security testing is also implemented to determine authentication and add steps of authorization.
The Future of Application Development
By acknowledging the differences between web apps and desktop apps, it’s easy to see why web applications are replacing desktop apps. Web apps are a part of what many people use every day — the Internet. It’s also easier for developers and users to work with.
Web apps are more adaptable technology, and while desktop technology is still holding out, the future of application development is shifting. Web applications will slowly overtake desktop applications, fueling demand for opportunities in web application development.
Some major technology companies are beginning to prioritize web apps for future versions of their products.
For instance, Microsoft is already working on a new web-based “Teams” app that will eventually replace desktop apps from lower-end products.
According to an article from OnMST, the web app “Microsoft Teams Alpha” is in development. In the meantime, the technology company is also working on improving its current desktop version.
Careers in Application Development
Web developers and web administrators are also seeing increased job opportunities and are projected to increase in demand over the next several years.
Web developers, responsible for coding web applications and websites, will see increased employment opportunities in many cities across the US.
Web administrators are another career in application development that will see job growth. Web administrators work on the maintenance and testing of websites and web applications. They have to not only perform routine tests but keep an accurate record of changes.
Web administrators must be organized and have experience with SharePoint Administration, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Premiere Pro. Current professionals in the field have also received a certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree.
As application development eventually replaces desktop apps, new jobs may also develop to fill the demand.
As a full-stack web developer, you’ll use the most in-demand programming languages and practices to build dynamic, responsive websites and web-based applications. Learn more about how you can become a full-stack developer when you enroll in WOZ certified software development training with one of our accredited learning delivery partners.
Sophia Acevedo is a journalist based in Southern California. She is a 2020 graduate from California State University, Fullerton, and a proud Daily Titan alum.