Anybody who doubts the popularity of web applications should consider the example of some of the most popular traditional desktop applications on the market. The latest versions of Microsoft Word and Excel have moved from the desktop to the World Wide Web. In addition, Google is behind the Chrome laptop, an entire computer designed around using web applications, or apps, to replace what used to be desktop software.
These moves might seem revolutionary, but they allow users the advantage of highly mobile access that lets them retrieve their data and their software in the cloud, freeing up their machine to provide a sort of terminal to much more secure and powerful machines elsewhere. By investing in web application development, you, your employees, your customers, and your business can enjoy many advantages. These include cost savings, security, efficiency, and of course, convenience.
1. Develop Once and Run Anywhere
In the old client-server days, software might have relied upon a central database, but interface software had to run on each user's machine. With stand-alone software, all of the code and data might have been isolated on one user's machine with no easy way to distribute it or surefire way to back it up. One disk drive meltdown or stolen computer could cause a nightmare. Also, software changes had to get distributed to each user, and distinct versions of software had to get created for users with different operating systems. Finally, getting all of these client machines to communicate with servers was complex, inelegant, time-consuming, and of course, expensive.
Meanwhile, with web applications, users login to the same application and data sets. Consider some of the advantages of this approach:
- Only one version of software needs to be updated. This saves time and reduces the chance of introducing software bugs.
- Programs can run on desktops, laptops, tablet computers, and even smartphones with a variety of operating systems from Windows to Android to iOS. This is possible because they are running in a browser vs. a native application installed on the device.
- Applications written in ASP.NET and SQL Server are highly scalable allowing many concurrent users.
- Executives in the home office see the same thing as employees out in the field, business affiliates, vendors, and customers all over the world.
- Software security settings control access levels and data sharing.
2. Enjoy Centralized Storage and Consistent Data Validation
Even today, many companies still rely on email and spreadsheets (See: Why are you still running the company on spreadsheets? ) to communicate internally and even externally. Even departments who have moved beyond spreadsheets may have to pull the information they need from different systems and databases.
One example is the field of risk management because risk managers need to gather information about damage or injury incidents, property values, and existing insurance coverage from various departments and then communicate with insurance agents and brokers who work for an external insurer.
Web-based solutions have revolutionized what used to be an agonizing and time-consuming policy renewal process. Out in the field, data about property damage or injuries gets properly validated before entering it into the same system that risk managers can use to pull reports for analysis and distribution to insurers and CEOs. Better yet, this process gets handled in real time.
Not only does this type of software make the process of renewing commercial insurance policies easier, it also can help reduce costs, make it easier for brokers to suggest the right levels of coverage, and provide the information for analysis to improve safety in the future. The example of risk management could surely get applied to many other types of businesses like real estate, manufacturing, or Construction.
Why is Web Application Development the Application Development of the Future?
According to a Forbes Magazine article about mobile business statistics, both enterprises and consumers want to go mobile. However, the article also wryly mentions that nothing scares traditional IT departments more than the thought of mobile apps. In addition, a small keyboard or monitor doesn't provide the right solution for every application user. Yet mobile-responsive web app design allows one application to be written that will function seamlessly across all device types. Web application development lets businesses and consumers have the best of all worlds and access the vital data they need to do their jobs.