Top 20 Reasons why Web Apps are Superior to Desktop Apps

The Synthasite team recently had a strategy & planning session, and one of the things we did, was to look at the real benefits of why users (we hope) would use a platform like Synthasite, instead of Dreamweaver or Frontpage (i.e. Web App vs Desktop App).

There is a screencast demo of Synthasite that we produced from the sessions, but also, here is the list of reasons that we came up with as to why Web Apps are superior to (most) desktop apps – and herein lies the future of the web! The clip is available on YouTube here and in higher res format here.
And here are the 20 reasons why Web Apps are superior to Desktop Apps!

Never installed

Browser based software never requires installation processes or hard drive space. It lives in a virtual cloud in the Internet and this means that whenever you launch it, it always has the latest version. Ajax has made it possible to deliver Desktop-like look & feel, and functionality, with no loss of performance!

Updates are seamless

Instead of having to patch each and every individual user, the patches/upgrades are applied to the server and each user received the updated version the next time they log in.

No legacy

This is a big issue for traditional software vendors. Users who purchase previous versions of a software almost always will result in legacy versions lying around which need support (which is costly). The problems relating to legacy software are almost limitless, and often is not efficient for both the vendor or the customer.

No admin rights required

Finally, a world where the network administrator in the company does not have to approve the installation of your software!

Available anywhere, anytime

Ok, so the anytime comment is a stretch, but that’s only until Adobe’s Apollo gets here (here’s hoping!). The same way that people access their email from any browser, web apps are exactly the same.

Platform independent

This opens a wider market for software vendors – no longer do they have to build technology around a specific platform and limit their market (or incur additional costs to build for another platform). The browser is the platfom and therefore I believe you will see increased uptake in OS’s like Mac OS and Linus, due to the increased availability of Web Applications.

Less environmental conflicts

There are certainly going to be a lot less bugs in Web based software, due to the fact that it is not depending on any of the hardware or environment settings in the OS that may usually cause a problem.

Enables social possibilities

Many Web Apps are creating chat facilities and the ability to share your work in real time. This removes the previous “stand-alone” functionality that use to exist with most installed desktop applications. The world is becoming more and more social – people want to collaborate and work online together – Web Apps allows this, painlessly.

Lower cost of sale

No boxes, printed manual, expensive shipping costs, CD’s, distribution channels, middlemen, etc. Desktop apps are going to be more economical to produce and will result in a lower cost of sale!

Usable from inexpensive PCs

$100 Laptops, here we come! What do you need a dual core processor for, if you’re running a thin client application? This opens up a world of cost savings for both companies and consumers, especially in the field of productivity apps (obviously, not gaming!).


Here is a big one. Imagine a world without software piracy. That world is here, and Web Applications are the solution to that problem. Next problem, please!

No bad debts

Sofware companies are often owed money from distributors, that invariably go bust from time to time. With Web Apps, the cash is collected upfront and as long as the customer pays, the account is in good stead.

Low-cost support and maintenance

Given that the browser is now the platform, operational support costs and maintenance for Web Application providers will drop substantially. No need to have expensive operating system gurus on hand to help with installation problems. Also, using products like the Amazon EC2 cloud, will allow scalability, without a proportionate increase in costs.

User’s data is kept safe in hosting environment

Although this is probably not going to be true for all Web App companies, but using providers like Rackspace or Amazon’s EC2 cloud will go a long way in reassuring your customers that their data is safer than on their desktop!

No Viruses

No installation, means no viruses. Start shorting all those Anti-Virus stocks! Enough said!

Low cost global distribution

No more channel reliance. Most software companies make it or break it, depending on their channel. Forget that – focus on the biggest channel of all – the 1 billion users online!

Lower software price entry point for customers

Given the benefits above, you will see more products such as Basecamp and Synthasite that will offer far greater value than their desktop equivalents.

Access to the entire assets of the Web (APIs, widgets, messaging, collaboration)

By being wired into the web, Web Apps are able to integrate seamless into API’s etc and are a lot more customizable, than traditional software applications.

Mobile is here

Compiled desktop applications are going to have a hard time being adapted for mobile devices. Web apps are ready made (in most cases).

Widest potential audience

For all the points above, this basically unlocks markets for software vendors that previously were inaccessible due to technical reasons.


  1. Web Apps provide more feature as compare to goolge apps i think that is why mostly people consider web apps. I am also Web Apps developer and know it very well.

  2. jackiboa says:

    Thanks for your advices! I really must trySynthasite You have shown his real benefits and why users should use a platform like Synthasite, instead of Dreamweaver or Frontpage. Your arguments are very convincing!
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  3. jackiboa says:

    Dan semua file-file kita yang ada di “My Documents” akan pindah ke server di internet. Sehingga nantinya satu-satunya aplikasi yang ada di desktop anda adalah web browser untuk mengakses semua aplikasi dan file-file anda. Istilah bekennya
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  4. thanks for your reason

  5. I will prefer Web Appps cos it is Platform independent and it is available any where and any time.

  6. i try web Apps and i think this is extra

  7. The world is becoming more and more social – people want to collaborate and work online together. Nothing but the truth!

  8. Ajax has made it possible to deliver Desktop-like look & feel, and functionality, with no loss of performance! I wouldn't be so sure about that :)

  9. Mike says:

    Ajax no wonder is a fantastic thing. i am using all all ajax technology in my upcoming website.

  10. This is an excellent article on web apps. I love to read it. Thanks

  11. I agree with you…. thanks for sharing this info post.

  12. Blog Tips says:

    thank you for sharing

  13. hei thanks man for this detailed information about the web applications and the desktop applications…

  14. The one bug downside of server side apps is portability.

    Add this to the fact that you dont have control of the data; so if it is lost/hacked etc etc you may be losing valuable information, also due to this lack of control you cant definitely say you know how your data is being used.

  15. good knowledge! ill try that!

  16. All true – but still a pure web app world is still a few years away. Web apps will gain the performance capabilities of client apps until this aspect is indistinguishable, the lasting difference will be deployment and pricing / business model.

  17. Great arguments, Vinny. Can’t really dispute any of them. But surely you know, it’s all going to migrate online anyway. All of the usual reasons, universal availability, etc.

    I agree with you, but it’s a losing argument anyway!

  18. noone says:

    i think several times later on, there will be exist a hybrid application between desktop and web..

  19. Thomas Zy says:

    I agree with you, since I like web applications rather than desktop applications.

  20. Bali Flight says:

    What I like with Web Based Apps is reduce IT investment since we don’t need to build fancy server room in the company PLUS I can access all the data anywhere and everywhere

  21. Cade says:

    Great Article! We went with the Web app approach for our digital signage software for the reasons listed above and it has paid off exponentially, Our clients love it for the above reasons as well

  22. Edgar says:

    I work in a small company where the owners want to migrate all their complex systems to the WEB. So they want to imitate a rich desktop app as a Web app, and the result is frustration to both programmers and owners. Having said that, I would suggest the author of this article to be more moderate and change the title of his article from
    “Top 20 Reasons why Web Apps are Superior to Desktop Apps” to “Top 20 Reasons why Web Apps MIGHT be a better choice to Desktop apps”.