• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

Chapter 1. Common Ground: Defining Web A... > Web Applications: The Good, the Bad,...

Web Applications: The Good, the Bad, and the Unfortunate

With the dot-com excitement of the late 1990s now safely corralled in the history books, it’s possible to take a more measured view of what is and isn’t useful or interesting about Web applications. Using a Web browser to present an application is, after all, only one option among many. Many Web applications could also have been developed as desktop or Java applications. Web applications, however, do have some enticing advantages, including the following:

  • Access to centralized real-time data. The most conspicuous advantage of Web application is their access to a centralized data store. Applications that offer operations such as travel reservations, real-time stock trading, and online shopping simply couldn’t exist without this connectivity. In addition, as corporations increasingly move their operations to the virtual world of databases, direct access to those databases also becomes important. In addition to consumer activities, Web applications allow corporations to interact directly with each other’s information systems.

  • Ease of distribution. Web applications eliminate the physical and logistical hassles of distributing software. This improves users’ experiences because they don’t have to suffer through the tedium of installing and managing software; it also improves the bottom line of software developers, as they no longer have to master, press, label, or ship disks. In addition, because Web applications don’t require physical distribution, their developers can afford to constantly upgrade and improve the product without having to worry about the costs of getting it to users.

  • Ubiquitous access. Web applications are available from any computer with a Web browser and an Internet connection. That means users of Web-based email can access their messages from all over the world as well as from their local library. This is a tremendous advantage for students or other users dependent on shared computing resources.

  • Write-once coding. Because the interface for Web applications is generally built with open-standards technology—HTML and JavaScript, to be specific—Web applications present the only practical opportunity for developers to write one version of an application that can run on any computer regardless of the operating system or browser—at least theoretically. For an industry perpetually striving to add more features and release new products, the mere idea of write-once coding is compelling enough to offset the added tradeoffs, compromises, and complexities.

  • Momentum. As the number of Web application developers grows, there is a corresponding increase in the availability and sophistication of development tools. In addition, there is a rise in the availability and knowledge of the people needed to build them. Although this isn’t an advantage of Web applications per se, it does suggest that the quantity and quality of Web applications are destined to rise.



Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint