Questions to ask BEFORE developing an application

September 27th, 2014 Posted by Technical No Comment yet

Desktop or Web Application ? To App or Not to App ? Platform (Windows, Linux etc…) Technology (Microsoft, Open Source, etc…) As you might know these are the pre-requisites before any sort of development can begin. Each option has its pros and cons and the correct answers depend on various factors. In this post I’m…

  1. Desktop or Web Application ?
  2. To App or Not to App ?
  3. Platform (Windows, Linux etc…)
  4. Technology (Microsoft, Open Source, etc…)

As you might know these are the pre-requisites before any sort of development can begin. Each option has its pros and cons and the correct answers depend on various factors. In this post I’m outlining how we collaborate with our clients to get the right answers.

Desktop or Web Application … Or Hybrid

Simply speaking, a desktop application is a computer program that runs locally on a computer device, such as desktop or laptop computer, in contrast to a web application, which is delivered to a local device over the Internet from a remote server.

Desktop applications have traditionally been limited by the hardware on which they are run. They must be developed for and installed on a particular operating system, and may have strict hardware requirements that must be met to ensure that they function correctly.

Web Applications are more device-agnostic. In order to use a web application the two essentials are (1) Web Browser (2) Internet connection.

While web applications boast of high availability it is not always desirable. Allowing users to access applications via web only does pose a security risks and given the recent attacks on corporations and government websites the best security protocols are not good enough.

In order to combat security and ease of development we often advice clients to go with a hybrid system where the client is furnished as a desktop application whereas the database is on the cloud.

Given the pros and cons of each application type we analyze the requirements with the clients asking them the following questions

  • How many users will be using the application?If the application has a high number of users then web application is preferable since the application needs to be tested on a handful of modern browsers in contrast to determining each users’ machine configuration (memory, disk space etc…).
  • Once completely developed, how often will changes be rolled out?If frequent changes need to be made live quick then once again web takes precedence over desktop application since deploying the changes to a server is quicker than deploying the changes to everyone’s desktop
  • In the rare event of an internet outage will the un-availability of the application be business critical?Before they say ‘OFFCOURSE’ to this answer we clarify situations and run thru scenarios. Recently we developed a Point Of Sale application for a hardware chain and one of their requirement was to be in business even without internet. In this scenario 100% web reliance is not feasible. We went the desktop route to enable off-line operations.

Even though web-application is out first preference it is not always the best option for the client. Determining the requirements and analyzing various scenarios enable us to decide which route to take.

In the upcoming posts I will dwell into platform, technology and other important considerations that enable the foundations of any custom developed application to be bullet-proof!


Sam Banerjee

samSam brings years of Business Intelligence and Software System Analysis experience to Medullus Systems. Prior to being a partner/co-founder at Medullus Sam lead several scale projects in the BI world in big name corporations like Bristol Myers, Frasenius, and ADP Payroll. Sam brings new ideas to improve BI in companies, products and projects. Sam is a certified Microsoft BI Developer and holds a Master in Computer Sciences. When asked about himself, Sam says “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. For this reason alone, cutting edge software, that fits your business, needs to be on your radar screen and my cell phone number on your speed dial!” On his personal life Sam is a proud husband and father to 2 boys and enjoys his “cutting edge” drum-set, rock-shows and the New York Giants.


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