More and more apps work in the browser. Microsoft made the switch a few years ago with Microsoft 365, and since then desktop applications have existed side by side with the online versions. Google Apps have never even had a desktop version. Is it time to switch completely to online apps?
As software developers, we’d know. The benefits of cloud applications – in-browser apps, online apps, or whatever you want to call them – are all too clear. You no longer have to distribute them (a URL is enough), you can make sure they are always up-to-date and infinitely scalable. And, not unimportantly, it makes it easier to charge money via some form of subscription to the software. It’s also easier to prevent illegal distribution.
But the benefits are not always immediately apparent to the user. Whichever way you look at it, the online versions of Word or Excel don’t offer the same experience as the desktop applications (and don’t even get me started on Outlook). With Google’s apps, now known as Google Workspace, many people still find it strange that you don’t have to actively save your files. And can these big corporations be trusted with your data?
The latter, in particular, is proving to be a stumbling block for many companies. Data and documents sometimes need to be stored locally, or at least in self-managed storage—regulations and so on. So a browser variant of Office-like apps isn’t an option in those cases. And then there are the applications that are specific to your business – often custom-built – that often run locally by their very nature.
Hybrid for now
This article is not an argument against cloud-based apps – far from it! We think there will be a lot more use of online apps in the future. The software companies’ benefits are too attractive, and that’s how it works in this business. By the way, there are plenty of companies and organisations that are already working well with cloud-based apps. And there will come a time (a little sooner for some software than for others) when there will no longer be a choice because the developers will switch to ‘cloud only.’ But, for the majority of users, a hybrid form of working – some desktop apps, others online or in the cloud – will remain the reality for a long time to come.
Fortunately, we can work with both. Easy Software Deployment is, of course, great at deploying apps to physical computers, but we also work well with cloud software. With us, you have the best of both worlds!