Is There a Future for Desktop Development?

Desktop development was more prevalent in the past, as desktop apps were utilized more before the popularity of web apps. Web-based solutions appear to have steadily driven them out; yet, there has lately been a new wave in the popularity of desktop apps and desktop app development tools.

Jira, Digital Ocean, Wrike, etc. are prominent examples of web-based applications that have begun to grow onto the desktop. So, what does this mean for desktop app development in the future?

Well, we’ll look at the future of desktop development and see if there are any scenarios where desktop software is still preferable to web apps.

What Is Desktop Development?

The development of software applications that run on computers is referred to as desktop app development. The three most prevalent operating systems for which desktop software is developed are Windows, Linux, and macOS.

In most situations, this form of development using desktop app development tools is native since apps only work on a specific type of operating system. Desktop apps do not require an internet connection to function and must be downloaded and installed on the user’s computer.

Large IT organizations develop off-the-shelf desktop solutions; however, businesses can also choose custom desktop development services. The key difference between the two is that custom desktop app development completely tailors desktop apps that meet the needs of a certain enterprise. Off-the-shelf solutions provide standardized functionalities.

Desktop Applications vs. Web-Based Applications

Web app development is swiftly gaining a foothold in the custom software development sector and is the primary competitor to desktop development. This is due to a multitude of reasons that pushes desktop app development a bit behind. These reasons include the rapid development of online technologies and tools, rising internet speed, a wide range of web solutions available on the market, and more.
We’ll go into detail about these two app types, compare and contrast their similarities and differences, as well as their benefits and drawbacks.

Technologies Used in Web App Development and Desktop Development

Web Applications

JavaScript, HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, ASP.NET, and other web technologies are used to create web applications. Their browser-dependent nature requires web developers to ensure their compatibility with the most popular browsers.

Read more: Web Development Trends

Desktop Apps

Desktop apps, on the other hand, are operating system-dependent. The process of desktop app development requires the creation of an application that can operate on both Windows and macOS. Therefore, desktop development experts need to create two pieces of software with identical functionality.

As a result, Microsoft and Apple Inc. provide software developers with their desktop app development tools for developing desktop apps. For example, they can develop Windows software using Visual Studio, WPF, UWP,.NET, and other technologies. macOS requires Swift, Xcode, and different Apple SDKs.

Desktop app development lets apps better access and utilize computer resources since they are native to their platforms. As a result, desktop apps can be quicker and more responsive than web apps.

Now let’s compare both desktop development and web app development in terms of certain aspects.

Comparison: Desktop Apps and Web Apps

Accessibility — Once connected to the internet, users can run web apps on any device. Many employees have seen a significant cultural shift as a result of this increased accessibility. People are increasingly choosing to work remotely since it allows them to access their software and data from any device and location.

Desktop app development only allows less adaptability and portability for apps. This implies that users can only access their desktop apps on the PCs where they were installed. As a result, if a company needs to utilize the same desktop app on several computers, it should install it on each one individually.

Security — Since web apps and their data are hosted by third-party servers, they are more exposed to cyber-attacks. But desktop apps give hackers lesser possibilities of breaking into the system and stealing important information. This is because desktop development allows such information to be safely stored on the user’s computer.

Installation and Updates — A browser is used to execute web applications. Users do not need to install web applications on their devices; therefore, they take up no storage space.

Furthermore, because web apps are hosted on a server, software developers may easily upgrade them. It implies that users do not need to do anything to utilize the most recent version of an app; all they need to do is activate it.

On the other hand, apps made using desktop app development need installation and might consume a large number of system resources when executing complicated tasks. Users will have to download and manually install updates, which can be time-consuming.

Internet Connection — An internet connection is critical for the functioning of web applications. Furthermore, in places with low bandwidth, their performance might be sluggish or capped. Desktop development produces stand-alone apps or solutions that can function without being connected to the internet.

Costs — Although the cost of application development varies depending on the project’s complexity, the number of developers and resources involved, and other considerations, producing web apps is frequently less expensive and considerably faster than desktop development. However, when it comes to hosting expenses, web applications will incur monthly fees for hosting since they must be placed on a server. Since you just need to serve a few pages and download a file to each user, desktop solutions will only require minimal hosting costs.

What Is the Future of Desktop Development?

Web app development is now preferred by many enterprises and their customers over desktop app development. The examples for these can be seen as Gmail switched for Outlook, Google Docs for MS Office Word, Dropbox for computer storage, and so on. But does this indicate that desktop apps or desktop development will be obsolete in the future? Unlikely, because these programs are still frequently used and required.

Below are the scenarios where desktop apps are more popular than web apps and why desktop app development will continue to dominate for a long time.

Business Software — Some businesses require huge volumes of sensitive data to be collected and stored; for this, they use desktop development. This allows them to store all of the data on the hard drives of the machines rather than transmitting it to external servers.

Low-Level Software — Desktop app development is required to develop the software that assures a computer’s efficient functioning, such as drivers for Linux or Windows.

Enterprise Applications — Companies that demand advanced functionality in apps that must conduct a multitude of challenging tasks and process data from several departments prefer desktop development. For example, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, digital adoption solutions (DAS) to increase an organization’s adoption of apps and technologies, CAD systems for mechanical design, and more.

Background Running Apps — Certain apps need to be run in the background with the help of desktop app development. The Steam service is one example of an app that runs games. Another would be a file downloader that continues to run even after you quit the primary app.

High-End Games with Complex UI — Desktop app development is critical in building games that demand high speed, take up a lot of space, and rely heavily on GPU.

The Wrap Up to Desktop Development

Desktop app development ushered in the era of software development and has maintained a dominant position in this field for a long time. However, as technology advanced, many organizations and individuals have begun to increasingly rely on web apps, accessible via the internet.

But it is assured that desktop development will not become extinct anytime soon as it still has wide requirements and offers great benefits to users. The future of desktop development seems promising, and it may even offer apps that combine the best elements of both web and desktop app development tools. As a result, these apps will be openly accessible and quick to create, while still staying safe and powerful.

Originally published at https://www.bridge-global.com on 17 December, 2021

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