Okay, the trend is clear: much, if not all, software is slowly but surely moving to the cloud and running in a browser. This offers clear benefits to developers, like a steady source of income and no more software piracy. But let’s turn it around and play devil’s advocate: what are the actual benefits of traditional software packages for us as users? Or, in other words, as long as you have a choice: locally installed software or an app in the browser?
We don’t have to think long about the obvious example that prompts this question. Microsoft Office (or Microsoft 365 in its web incarnation) is transforming rapidly, with Microsoft trying to gently push everyone to the cloud/web. But if there’s one thing that stands out, it’s that the functionality of those versions is far from comparable; the web version lags considerably behind. And of course, this doesn’t just apply to Microsoft Office.
Many software developers are finding it difficult to provide the same user experience with online apps as with locally installed software. In Microsoft’s case, there is a little consolation for Microsoft 365 users coming from the Windows versions: the macOS versions of the software are missing a lot more functionality.
Furthermore, a browser is obviously not the same as an operating system. The underlying technology is fundamentally different, so some things that can be done with a local package just aren’t possible in a browser.
It also depends on your internet speed, but everyone notices that the performance of web applications can’t match that of local software. This makes sense because the browser functions as an additional shell or, if you will, an additional operating system on top of the one on your computer. For some people it’s no big deal, but for others it’s an abomination that documents open and menu options appear a bit more slowly. For software that runs locally, it’s your processor, memory and graphics card that determine performance and not the cloud—or your internet speed.
Imagine that your internet connection is down for a few hours or, more likely, you’re on the road with no internet access. If you use an online application, all you can do is twiddle your thumbs. With a local application, you can keep working as usual. You also save your documents locally, so a broken connection is not a problem in that situation either. But a web application lets you access it from anywhere at any time, you say? Install proper cloud storage with synchronization (Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive) and you have the best of both worlds: local and in the cloud, and accessible anytime.
What does one cloud app say to another? Nothing. Cloud apps run in their own little containers and are completely unaware of other applications. Exceptions to this are the suites like Office/365 or Google Workspace. But, as a rule, there is little or no data exchange possible between apps in a browser. Is that a bad thing? It depends.
If you have a vector file in a Photoshop document, double-clicking opens it in Adobe Illustrator. Once the editing is complete, the modified version is immediately visible in the Photoshop document. This functionality is essential for the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, but we can imagine that the applications you use are not expecting such an exchange. And to be clear: there are no web versions of Adobe software and this is why.
Of course, there’s no need to deploy web apps like locally installed applications; you just give the users an account and they can get started. That’s convenient for the system administrator, but you might not feel comfortable handing it all over. With Easy Software Deployment, you can deploy local apps just as easily and you stay in control. Just think about it.
Would you like to experience how easy it can be to manage all your local applications? Then request a free demo here and let us show you all the ins and outs!