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The Future of Desktop Development

Since before web apps became a thing, we used desktop apps. It seems like web-based solutions have gradually pushed them out; however, there has recently been a comeback in the popularity of desktop apps. Trello, Azure, and Wrike are the brightest examples of web-based apps that have begun to expand into desktop. So, what does this mean for the future of app development?

In this article, we’ll look into the prospects of desktop development and find out in which cases desktop software will still make a better choice than web applications.

What Is Desktop Development?

Desktop development implies the creation of software applications that perform on computers. Windows, Linux, and macOS are the three most popular operating systems which desktop software is created for.

what is a desktop app

This type of development is native in most cases as apps function only on a particular type of operating system. Desktop apps don’t require any internet connection to run and users have to download and install them on their computers.

There is a wide range of large IT corporations that build off-the-shelf desktop products, however, businesses can also opt for custom desktop application development services. The main difference between the two is that custom desktop apps are entirely adapted to the needs of a certain business while off-the-shelf solutions offer standardized functionality.

Desktop Applications vs. Web-Based Applications

Today, web-based applications are quickly conquering the software development market and are the main competitor to desktop software. This happens due to many factors, including fast development of web technologies and tools, acceleration of internet speed, a huge variety of web solutions in the market, and others. Nevertheless, desktop apps are still relevant and widely used by many companies and general users, especially when they need to perform complex, time-consuming operations or have full access to their apps’ features offline.

Let’s have a closer look at the two types of applications and find out the similarities and differences between them as well as their pros and cons.

Development Technologies

Web applications are built with JavaScript, HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, ASP.NET, and other web technologies. As they are browser-dependent, web developers have to make sure that the solutions they are building are compatible with the most popular browsers.

Desktop applications, for their part, depend on a particular operating system. If desktop application developers need to build an application that could run on both Windows and macOS, they would basically have to develop two pieces of software with similar functionality. Therefore, Microsoft and Apple Inc. offer software developers their own tools for building this type of software. For example, they can use Visual Studio, WPF, UWP, .NET, and other tools to create Windows software, while macOS will require Swift, Xcode, and various Apple SDKs.

On the other hand, as desktop applications are native to their platforms they can better access and utilize computer resources. As a result, desktop applications can be faster and more responsive than their web counterparts.

Internet Connection

Web applications are heavily dependent on the internet connection. And in the areas with poor bandwidth, their performance can be slow or extremely limited. Whereas, desktop applications are standalone solutions that can work perfectly without access to the internet.

Installation and Updates

Web applications run in a browser. Users don’t have to install web apps on their devices and, therefore, they don’t take up any storage space. Moreover, as part of web applications is hosted on a server, software developers can upgrade them directly. It means that users don’t need to perform any actions to use the latest version of an app, all they need to do is to launch it.

web and desktop application development

On the contrary, desktop applications require installation and can exploit many system resources when performing complex operations. As to updates, users will have to download and manually install them which can be time-consuming.

Security

Web applications are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks as they are hosted by third-party servers, as well as their data. In the case of desktop applications, hackers have fewer chances to break the system and steal sensitive information as it can be kept wi