When one hears of web-based applications we wonder what are they exactly? They are actually applications which are used either over the Internet or Intranet. In other words, web applications are used over a network. Sometimes, the term can also be used for applications which are hosted on a web browser controlled environment.
An application, which is coded in a browser supported language can also be called a web application. In the last few years, these applications have come to the forefront for they have many advantages. One can use these application widely, which is an advantage. The most commonly used applications include webmail, online auctions, retail sales, etc.
The web-based applications have come a long way from the desktop applications. Many users are using these over the desktop applications. The differences can be compared with application vs web server.
It is very convenient for use. One can access these applications 24 hours and 365 days. They can be used in any part of the world, at any given time. The entire database is available all the time. One can either make use of the computer or phone to access the required data, whenever it is required. A person need not be confined only to his office.
No Installation and/or Maintenance
Unlike the desktop applications, these do not have to be installed as they run on a web server. The time and trouble required for installing a software is also minimized. At the same time, maintenance and troubleshooting problems hardly arise. One does not have to go through the headache of heavy backups to be taken on disk space, etc., either.
As compared to the desktop applications, these are cost-effective. At the same time, they do not waste any space on the computer, as the software are run from a server. One does not have to pay for maintenance fees either.
Web applications work on multiple platforms. Most of the applications work on different Internet browsers like Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, etc. They are often also compatible with most of the operating systems. Immaterial of the browser or the OS, there is no difference in the way these applications work. The quality of work remains the same.
As a user, you do not have to worry about whether the application is up-to-date. There is no need of being on the run always, as the up-gradation, etc. is taken care of. This is one of the best advantages of open source web applications.
One does not have to undergo training at any particular time. At the same time, if a particular user is a slow learner or does not have a lot of time to spare, then he/she can decide the pace of learning as well.
Among the disadvantages, the first one is that if the Internet connectivity is slower, the application will also take time to run. This may cause the user some headache if he is in a hurry to finish up the work.
Since these applications are developed to be compatible for a number of web browsers as well as operating systems, they do not come with sophisticated interfaces. This can be a turn off, if a user is used to sophisticated interfaces.
At the same time, developing a web application often takes more time, as compared to the desktop software development. Since a lot of work has to be done on the compatibility of browsers along with the versions, the developers do take considerable amount of time for the same.
Last but not the least, there are certain security issues which need to be addressed when it comes to web-based applications. There are chances of it being hacked, whether knowingly or unknowingly. Therefore, more care has to be taken to work on this concern.
Like it is said every coin has two sides, same is the case with the web applications as well. Along with it, severity of the pros and cons will help you decide the kind of application you are looking for.