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Web vs. Desktop: Which application is right for you?

Desktop applications

Web applications

If your users all are internal employees and have high-speed access to your network, a desktop application may be the best and most cost-effective fit.

When you have customers, vendors, and employees outside of your own network who need access to your database, a web application is definitely the way to go.

Access + SQL Server Desktop Application ASP.NET + SQL Server Web Application
Less expensive initial development (can be half or less than web development) More expensive initial development (can be 2x-3x Access development)
Users must have Windows and Access (or Access Runtime) installed Users may use any modern PC or tablet browser, or even a phone if Responsive design is included
Users must be on a Windows PC inside a LAN, or using a very fast internet connection if the database is hosted elsewhere Users may be anywhere with a decent internet connection
Application can be used on a PC with no internet connection if database is hosted locally Users must have an internet connection
Access application code will not be reusable if app is rebuilt for the web later Modern web technology lends itself to later expansion
Multiple permission levels are more difficult to enforce Multiple permissions and capabilities can be configured by user
Lower security, since Access requires a direct connection to the SQL Server database Much better security, since the user has no direct connection to the SQL Server database
Backups must be configured and tested if database is hosted within the company Backups are automatically provided by data center or cloud service
Application is susceptible to problems when Office upgrades occur Application runs on any modern browser, and is less susceptible to compatibility problems
Higher “functional density” – more information can be fit onto one screen, with independent scrolling lists Lower “functional density” – usually less information per page, requiring more clicking and scrolling to see all the information
Zero or lower ongoing costs (depending on Office licensing and database hosting choices) Ongoing hosting costs for web application and database (usually $30-300/month depending on size and features)

If you’re still not sure which one to choose, don’t worry. Once we understand what you need to accomplish we can make a recommendation.

Contact us for a free consultation.

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