Aaron Fischer Ingenieur, Vater, Heimwerker, Problemlöser

07 April, 2007

Desktop-Apps are dead?

Browser & Betriebssysteme

I recently found a interesting story on digg from neosmart.net. He mentioned, that desktop-apps still greater, better, smarter and a lot more fun to code. He refers to a article from Paul Graham in which he wrotes that Microsoft is dead. Both articles has a little bit of truth in it, but most of them is not to take serious.

Microsoft is not dead at all. Sure, web-applications like GMail, Writely and others bring normal desktop-applications to the web, thanks to AJAX, Javascript and new browsers. But the browser can't replace the desktop, there are to many restrictions by the browser. So keep it low, the web2.0-hype seems like another dot-com-bubble.

In the neosmart.net-article I read some lines which makes me think that guy has no clue about modern programming-techniques:

One other point that Ryan makes is that desktop applications look uglier. Sorry - but where's the evidence? To make a .NET program look decent and have a great GUI before there was ever WPF and XAML (the two technologies that Ryan rightly states are redefining the concept of UI) it doesn't take HTML, CSS, color theory, and psychology. You just have to drag controls onto a form in some sort of slightly-logical manner, and it'll be far more usable than an entry-level PHP application with some half-baked CSS job (and tons of tables to boot) - with a hell of a lot less work.

Table-Layouts are gone since a long time and dragging som controls on a form is not pretty neat. Desktop-applications have its advantage in conformity and default layout. If I use a new application, I know that the save-option is in the file-menu and the button with the disk on it saves my stuff on disk. But this has nothing to do with design. On a browser you can create great looking layouts with no effort.

The web-technologies are complex and there are many of them (Javascript, CSS, all the server-side scripting-languages, file- and data-formats like XML, RSS, RDF, YAML and so on...), but this is fun for me (personally); I love learning new stuff, not to stuck on old 10 year old habits.

It's infinitely more enjoyable to build a desktop product than it is to make its web equivalent.

You can't make a web equivalent, web-developing is quite different from desktop-programming. Sure, there are a lot of simularities, but you simply can't put some web2.0-magic on a desktop-app to run in a browser. The approach is completely different. On web-applications you have to think about many other factors like security, because the whole world can use your web-app. And thats the great thing about the web-development: The users response in comments, access-statistics and more. On a desktop-applications you only have the number of downloads or the number of sold licenses to control woh many users mya use your application.