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The future of applications – Why we made a switch to full web

The advantages compared to traditional desktop apps

Historicaly apps have been tied to their operating systems, written specifically for each platform. Although Windows based systems mantain high compatibility between different versions there a number of other reasons that come into play when you want your apps truly portable between platforms. The popularisation of mobile phones, tablets and alternative operating systems like Linux has shifted the paradigm.

The development for each platform often requires rewriting the application so that it can run on each specific platform which is quite costly and time consuming. This is where the web comes in.

One thing that has always remained compatible between the different operating systems has been the web. Web browsers oblige to the same rules and standards throughout different platforms and the latest improvements in web technology enables the full potential of web based apps.

In this article we’re going to discuss the history and context of our solutions and how our fully web based next generation of software brings a lot of advantages to the table.

Compatibility & Portability – running it everywhere

As we’ve already seen, most often, applications need to be designed and written in one specific language for one specific platform. In our long history we’ve maintained our products based on Microsoft Windows, the most popular operating system in the world. Applications written in Microsoft Windows remain compatible, but only to a certain extent, within the Windows ecosystem. However, the switch that we have made with our next gen app – the 3cad next – entirely rewritting our desktop app to a fully web based application has rendered our product compatible between all of the available platforms.

This has great practical implications – it’s no longer important which operating system your users run. Every operating system has a web browser. Every browser can run web based applications.

This also means the user can pick up his work from any device at any time which bring us to mobile platforms. Web apps are written with all device sizes in mind and are easier to adapt in various mobile applications.

Nothing to download. Nothing to install. Nothing to update.

The problem with traditional desktop applications are updates. This involves long installation procedures, potential errors and the fact that you have to deploy updates to each specific client. The web based application solve this issue in one swoop. The applications no longer need to be updated for each specific client but are updated at one place – the central server. Each time the user accesses the app – it’s already up to date. This also involves other valuable information – like the catalogue of your products or price lists.

Additionally, you no longer need to worry if your client is running the lastest version of his browser as all major ones update silently, in the background. All this is true with our 3cad next solution. The client is always running the latest app loaded with the latest data and improvements – without the user even noticing there was an update.

Performance

Traditionally desktop applications had an advantage when it came to speed compared to web based applications. But there are a number of reasons why this is no longer true. With the latest standards like HTML5 & WEBGL web based apps now have the capability to take advantage of all of your hardware bringing it on par with the destktop ones.

Also, in the past – a lot of processing had to be done locally, directly on the users machine which often had slow processing hardware resulting in slow processing speeds. Offloading these kinds of tasks to a speedy remote central server and a global rise in internet speeds greatly improves the user experience.

Desktop apps also had better support for 3d graphics but the latest standard in which we based our 3cad next – WEBGL – has changed this completely. 3cad next takes full advantage of WEBGL which renders interactive 2D and 3D graphics within the users web browser without the use of plug-ins while providing desktop-like performance as it is GPU-accelerated.

It’s cheaper

One great advantage of having your apps compatible with any operating system is the cost reduction. Your clients can run open source and free operating systems which can dramatically reduce the costs. Alternatively, the part of the software that runs on the server can run on various operating systems which can eliminate high licencing costs. Providing support and updates to your clients becomes more effective too as you are having one unified solution running everywhere. Developing new features, testing and deploying updates to one central location is both time and cost reducing.

The future

Although operating systems to not update so often – web browsers do. They are always packing the latest standards and tech improvements that guarantee that your investment stays on the frontier of what is possible. The web is constantly evolving and we are witnessing more and more apps and tasks being moved within your browser to the point that the browser has become it’s own „operating system“ like we’ve seen with the Google’s ChromeOS. Investing and implementing a web based solution like 3cad next is your ticket to the future. You are ensuring that you are always up to date with all that the latest technology has to offer.