Web applications or Windows ? No, Web applications & Windows!

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The debate has been raging for over a decade and the heights the confrontation and rivalries. So, what is it, Web applications or Windows? At the time, these two diametrically opposed visions each had hard core advocates who had sworn allegiance to the death. Much water has passed under the bridge since then and today we understand that reality is not quite so simple; not everything is black or white.

The vast majority of businesses – be they big, medium or even small – have purchased numerous office software programme licenses from Microsoft (Windows, Office, SharePoint, etc.) since the arrival of Windows and a great many of these have invested in the development of applications custom built in Microsoft’s .Net framework or other platforms. And today, almost all IT managers are turning to the Web applications where they are seriously considering or at the very least evaluating their options there.

Walking the Web applications / Windows high wire with my business

We now know the many Windows software applications successfully migrate to the Web (Silverlight, SharePoint, etc.) and that many open source software solutions haven’t been as effective as they were initially deemed to be.

Although we’re not interested in a simplistic analysis of these two approaches, it should be noted that we now know all too well, the costs of deploying an open source application are more often than not, less than or equivalent to the cost of a Windows-based solution. Moreover, the personalisation costs of either Windows– or Web-based solutions are for the most part the same. Finally, remember as we mentioned in our preceding post, that

“So why should I pick one side over the other?”

5 factors conducive to the development of a Windows application


There is no doubt that running behind your company’s firewall, reduces exponentially security risks to your data. It’s a no-brainer. Still need convincing? Answer this question: are you ready to use software that is compatible with the Web, for example?


If your company’s size or your applications are such that a development environment using a database such as VisualFox Pro or Access responds adequately to your needs; well then forget the Web!


The complexity for your interfaces is high.

Business rules or business intelligence contained within your application require frequent and complex validation.


The type of applications that you need is widely covered by, tried ‘n tested, driven, fed and supported by a Windows community. For example, you need an ERP or accounting software.

Expertise/ experience

You have on-hand a firm or a group of Windows-based developers who have previously developed Windows applications that corresponded perfectly to your business reality and your business processes.


In this post we’ve looked at the Windows / Web applications rivalry in terms of the end result: the end-user of  Web applications or Windows software. We excluded the case where a developer uses a Web environment for development via which the user stores data on the Web, as is the case with Forces.com for example. That’s another story that we can debate another day.

So for you…, which factors tilt the balance to Web applications or Windows for your business!

Of course, you can always chose to mix it up, deciding for each application based on the required level of development in Windows mode (client) and Web mode (browser) by levels of usability, compatibility, performance and autonomy desired. Is this one of the revealing characteristics of an Enterprise … 2.0?

The majority of today’s IT directors would like to migrate all of their applications to the Web; you can probably guess why, right?

Have a great week,

Michel & Denis

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