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Thread: On the LAN: desktop vs web applications

  1. #1
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    Default On the LAN: desktop vs web applications

    On a LAN, which is better, a runtime-based desktop application, or a WAS-based application? Which is better in terms of ease-of-development, functionality, speed, and user experience? Is it true that on the same system a desktop application outperforms a WAS-based application?
    Jim

  2. #2
    VAR Pat Bremkamp's Avatar
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    The good thing about Alpha is that you don't have to choose just one or the other. You can use both in the same application. I use both in my home businesses. At home, I use the desktop because it is faster, easier to develop, and has more functionality. When I'm at a client, I log in on the web and have access to all the same functionality. If a customer has a question about my hours or expenses, I don't have to wait. Or, if I want to enter hours or expenses or mileage, I can do it from any browser, even if I'm in another state!

    I developed the desktop version during V5 and then added the web stuff in V6 and V7, so I have a direct comparison of the same functions in both environments. They are different, but both have their place.

    Pat

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    Volunteer Moderator Steve Wood's Avatar
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    On the LAN, the desktop model will outperform. Which is easier is a difficult question to answer. It is sometimes not possible to recreate the same functionality in the web that you can on desktop. The desktop has a far greater set of tools and objects you can deploy. For example, the attached graphic was created in the desktop environment; you could never build something as detailed as that in the web environment. My web equivalent to this form doesn't have as much detail and takes up significantly more real estate; and is slower as far as the user is concerned.

    But building WAS web pages is completely easy once you get the hang of it. It gets a little more tricky when you need to filter what your user views, restrict various objects based on condition, etc. And, the WAS does not (for the most part) adhere to your Field Rules, so you have to recreate those in the WAS environment. You have to be more innovative in the web environment, and make use of additional technology like Javascript if you want to try to approach the level of speed and functionality in the desktop.

    But seriously, both environments are great fun!
    Last edited by Steve Wood; 05-26-2006 at 05:04 PM.
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    Thanks, Pat, Steve, for your comments. Pat, I get your point about the convenience of having both environments possible with Alpha Five, and I appreciate it. But Steve addressed my question about Alpha Five on a LAN. I hope others will weigh in with their own comments about this.

    Steve, that's a very nice form you've made there. I hope I can get something like that to work for me someday. I wonder if you could put up an image of your web equivalent to that form as well? One picture (or rather two) would be worth a thousand words in this case.
    Jim

  5. #5
    Volunteer Moderator Steve Wood's Avatar
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    Why post a picture when I can "post" the whole application? Just go to my website, then the Examples page and click the link next to wher it says "Try It Live". When you get to the login page, request a demo password. Then once you log in, go to the Your Account area and try all th options there. Those options represent the portion of my Customer List that I want the customers themselves to manage. I just finished the part under Document Preferences, so I'd like some feedback.
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    VAR Howard G. Cornett's Avatar
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    Default It depends on the customer need

    I have written both desktop and browser-based databases. Lately, my business has become almost exclusively browser-based. The main reason for this is flexibility. Just about everyone wants to be able to access their data remotely, especially if they have multiple offices. So rather than create what is essentially two databases (desktop and browser-based), I create one. It is just important to ask the right questions so you can best serve your clients. If someone only has one office and doesn't need remote access, go with the desktop. I have also noticed that for 5 or more users, the licensing pricing favors the WAS solution.

    Howard
    Howard G. Cornett, Independent Consultant

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    Don't forget to look at Terminal Services....

    It's a great way to combine remote access with the power of the deaktop version...
    Al Buchholz
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    Thanks for joining this thread, Al and Howard.

    I do appreciate that with browser-based applications there is the convenience of being able to access a database from computers that do not have a copy of Alpha Five. However, for a database with strictly defined access locations on a LAN, I am now getting the sense that a desktop application may offer more.

    Excuse my ignorance, please, but what are terminal services? How does it differ from a networked application?
    Last edited by jmatienza; 05-28-2006 at 10:55 PM.
    Jim

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    Jose

    Terminal services is also known as remote desktop. The following links were found by searching microsoft.com for remote desktop.

    Remote Desktop Overview

    Getting Started with Remote Desktop

    Remote Desktop FAQ
    Last edited by Al Buchholz; 05-28-2006 at 11:48 PM.
    Al Buchholz
    Bookwood Systems, LTD
    Weekly QReportBuilder Webinars Thursday 1 pm CST

    Occam's Razor - KISS
    Normalize till it hurts - De-normalize till it works.
    Advice offered and questions asked in the spirit of learning how to fish is better than someone giving you a fish.
    When we triage a problem it is much easier to read sample systems than to read a mind.

  10. #10
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    Al, thanks for those links. This sure is great to know!

    One more thing. Does using Alpha Five over a terminal server entail additional Alpha Five license requirements?
    Last edited by jmatienza; 05-29-2006 at 02:38 AM.
    Jim

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    Volunteer Moderator Steve Wood's Avatar
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    Not to dissuade you, because it could be my setup, but I use Remote Desktop to manage a runtime copy of Alpha on my server and the performance is horrible, especially when running reports or procedures. They all run 1/10th speed in the remote window. Again, this could be me. Could also be the effect of running it on the actual server. When connected via remote desktop to the server, if I use VNC to connect to my desktop client, Alpha's performance is much better. But that's the full version, so again that could account for the difference. I've never heard anyone else complain about remote desktop, so again, perhaps its my setup.
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    Steve

    That's exactly opposite of what I have found in multiple situations. It would be interesting to see how your setup is different and what you are doing.

    You shouldn't get that type of difference..
    Al Buchholz
    Bookwood Systems, LTD
    Weekly QReportBuilder Webinars Thursday 1 pm CST

    Occam's Razor - KISS
    Normalize till it hurts - De-normalize till it works.
    Advice offered and questions asked in the spirit of learning how to fish is better than someone giving you a fish.
    When we triage a problem it is much easier to read sample systems than to read a mind.

  13. #13
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    Ahem, any answer to my question regarding additional licenses?

    Does using Alpha Five over a terminal server entail additional Alpha Five license requirements?
    Jim

  14. #14
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    TS/Remote Desktop does not change the Alpha licensing requirements. You still need the appropriate runtime for the number of concurrent users that you will have in a database.

    If you have multiple developers and want concurrent access to a database, you may want a 3 or 5 license pack.

    In Windows, you may need to expand the number of CAL's that you have on the server to allow for enough concurrent users.

    Since you will be running multiple copies of A5 on one machine, get plenty of CPU speed and memory.
    Al Buchholz
    Bookwood Systems, LTD
    Weekly QReportBuilder Webinars Thursday 1 pm CST

    Occam's Razor - KISS
    Normalize till it hurts - De-normalize till it works.
    Advice offered and questions asked in the spirit of learning how to fish is better than someone giving you a fish.
    When we triage a problem it is much easier to read sample systems than to read a mind.

  15. #15
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    But if it's just me accessing my project from a remote location, no concurrent users, then that shouldn't be a problem, should it?
    Jim

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    It'll be just like you're on site....

    :D
    Al Buchholz
    Bookwood Systems, LTD
    Weekly QReportBuilder Webinars Thursday 1 pm CST

    Occam's Razor - KISS
    Normalize till it hurts - De-normalize till it works.
    Advice offered and questions asked in the spirit of learning how to fish is better than someone giving you a fish.
    When we triage a problem it is much easier to read sample systems than to read a mind.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Buchholz
    It'll be just like you're on site....

    :D
    Terrific! Thanks, Al. This has been an education of sorts. I have a better idea of my options now.
    Jim

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