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Cloud and Desktop Application Development
Linx Consulting, Inc. creates desktop and Web (Cloud) applications, as well as hybrid applications. Desktop applications are applications that you install directly onto your computer or device while Web applications are typically run from a Web browser. Hybrid applications are applications that provide both a desktop experience, as well as a Web experience. The functionality on the desktop and Web will vary depending on your requirements.
The big buzz-words in computing today are "Cloud Computing". What is Cloud Computing? It's simply a catchy phrase for you running software that is hosted somewhere else. These days, everyone seems to want control of your data and have you run your applications from their Web servers. But, is it really wise to use such services?
The benefits and draw-backs of Cloud applications:

Cloud applications are good for consuming information. Some examples of consuming information include on-line purchases, games, checking the news and stock prices, social media, downloading application updates and customer Web portals. They can make it easier for your customers to obtain information and send you information. That information can go into a central store without having to be input a second time.
Some issues with Cloud applications are performance, security and user-friendliness. Performance can become an issue after you've collected data from your users and now need to analyze the data and create reports. Writing ad hoc queries and reports is not something you can do quickly on a Website (though there are Web based tools that you can use) whereas desktop applications can make short work of ad hoc queries and reports. Moving large amounts of data across the Internet can be time consuming, especially if your Internet connection is slow or shared with many people in an office environment. Moving data across the Internet and allowing someone else to store it for you also increases your footprint for hacking. Newer technologies are making Cloud applications more user-friendly but they still aren't as user-friendly as desktop applications.
The benefits and draw-backs of desktop applications:
Contrary to what you are being told by many, desktop applications still have valid uses. Some examples are data management, secure applications (with no direct Internet access), and fast performing or ad hoc data analytics and reporting. The reason is because desktop applications typically contain their own data or get data from a local server (not necessarily over the Internet). Besides the performance benefits of working across a local network in a powerful desktop environment, usability and workflow are typically better with desktop applications than with Web applications. You have more control over updates so you can choose to wait for a while before performing updates or perform an update on a test system before committing to a production update.
Desktop applications don't give you the same level of Internet access, if any at all. You may want to manage your data from inside the organization but still allow your customers a certain level of access so they can make purchases or communicate with you and your organization in other ways. A desktop application in the strictest sense won't allow you to do that. You will also spend more time on installations and updates.
What about Hybrid applications?
Maybe a hybrid application is what you need. You can choose the best of both desktop and Web applications. With a hybrid application you can take advantage of the performance of a desktop application for reporting and analysis while providing your customers with a Web portal. A hybrid application can also let you protect sensitive data by never allowing access to it from the Web.
Before you buy:
Before you decide on that shiny new application make sure you look past the bells and whistles and big promises to make sure the application will fit your needs of performance, security, accessibility and user friendliness.
Copyright Linx Consulting, Inc., 2017.
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