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Thread: web app on LAN

  1. #1
    Member
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    George Iosifelis
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    Default web app on LAN

    Hello,

    In our office we are thinking of building an application through alpha. I am looking of the different options, desktop vs web. I don't need to have web access. We have a peer to peer set up of 6 computers through LAN. Looking at the desktop option, I would have to set the application on every computer and then they all access the main database.

    I was wondering could I run a web application internally on a LAN? Meaning, instead of building a desktop application, build a web application and not have it on the internet but users can access it through a LAN.

    Why do that? it illuminates having to build a desktop network kind of application and set it up in every computer to work with it.

    I would have to purchase the web server through alpha but do you think this is a better way or the "desktop" application it better.

    What do you think?

  2. #2
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    Roger Noguera
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    Default Re: web app on LAN

    I understand you are starting from scratch: web is the way to go.

    It is slightly more complex in some aspects but much more futureproof.

  3. #3
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    Doug Page
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    Default Re: web app on LAN

    If I was starting out again with Alpha as it stands now, I would definitely create my apps as browser based. Less maintenance, easier upgrading, ability to have some or all parts available to the web, ability to have my app used on any OS/device with a Java enabled browser and more.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: web app on LAN

    Go web. You have much more flexibility in the future and do not have to rewrite it if/when your needs change. There is a bit of a learning curve, but not bad and Alpha makes it pretty painless.

    Not having to setup odbc at each computer and doing maintenance on each PC: priceless.

    Need to make a programming change in the middle of the day? With the web, no need to kick out your users to push out the code change.

    I would team up with a top notch developer, which there are some good ones both here, on the IADN or by contacting Alpha. We teamed up with one to do pinch hitting on the heavy lifting code that we felt we could go through life not knowing.

  5. #5
    VAR Pat Bremkamp's Avatar
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    Default Re: web app on LAN

    Seems unanimous, although that's what you would expect...you are posting on the web forum. Post the same question on the desktop forum and you might get the opposite answer.

    I have a client who runs a web app on the lan and it works very well, but it takes longer to build and runs slower than a desktop app (though ajax helps a lot!). His decision was based on what he expected for the future...

    He wanted his salesmen to access the app while on the road...in a Starbucks, a motel, or his customer's conference room.

    He wanted the marketing department to access the app through their Macs.

    He wanted to carry a loptop out to the shop floor and enter data rather than writing it down and entering it back at his desk.

    He wanted to open a remote office in another state without a dedicated line or using VPN.

    He wanted suppliers to have a portal into the app to get orders and update quality information.

    All that's easier on the web. If none of that applies, then maybe a desktop app would be better...
    Pat
    Pat Bremkamp
    MindKicks Consulting

  6. #6
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    George Iosifelis
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    Default Re: web app on LAN

    thank you all for your replies,

    I personally thought it makes more sense to go web. Just considering the maintenance and updates issues it is worth the extra effort.

  7. #7
    Moderator Peter.Greulich's Avatar
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    Default Re: web app on LAN

    Quote Originally Posted by gwitasod View Post
    I personally thought it makes more sense to go web. Just considering the maintenance and updates issues it is worth the extra effort.
    In addition to the wizened words of Pat, it is a LOT harder to develop on the web - and the learning curve is STEEP. 6 machines on a lan is not that big of a deal to upgrade desktop patches, etc. But if you plan on growing a lot then the web might be the way to go. OTOH, on the desktop you can be up and running with at least a barebones db in no time. If time is an issue, you can start w. the desktop and get going first, then later revisit and begin the web/browser side...

  8. #8
    Alpha Software Employee Lenny Forziati's Avatar
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    Default Re: web app on LAN

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter.Greulich View Post
    In addition to the wizened words of Pat, it is a LOT harder to develop on the web - and the learning curve is STEEP. 6 machines on a lan is not that big of a deal to upgrade desktop patches, etc. But if you plan on growing a lot then the web might be the way to go. OTOH, on the desktop you can be up and running with at least a barebones db in no time. If time is an issue, you can start w. the desktop and get going first, then later revisit and begin the web/browser side...
    Peter, I have to respectfully disagree. I can build a barebones browser-based application much more quickly than I can build a similar desktop application. But of course we come from different backgrounds, and we don't know gwitasod's background.

    If you are new to Alpha altogether, there will be a learning curve either way. If you've been doing web apps in other environments, the web app curve will be less, but the desktop curve will be more. And if you're totally new to web apps and client/server, you have some conceptual hills ahead.

    In my opinion, even if the web is foreign territory to you now, the benefits of a browser-based delivery platform FAR outweigh whatever startup effort may be required. Functionality, usability, maintainability, platform availability...

    Lenny Forziati
    Vice President, Internet Products and Technical Services
    Alpha Software Corporation

  9. #9
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    Default Re: web app on LAN

    George,

    I must agree with Lenny - IMHO, building on a web platform is certainly the way to go. I have built applications for the desktop for the past 30 years, including Visual Studio, Visual Foxpro, VB and Access.

    I've also built for the Web using various platforms and tools - Visual Studio, ASP classic and .NET, using Dreamweaver, MS Expression Web, Ironspeed Designer and other less recognized tools.

    One of the primary reasons I moved all my development to Alpha Software a few years ago was to STOP developing for the desktop. There is no real reason to do that anymore since you can now provide the kind of user experience customers have become used to in their desktop apps in the browser. This has become possible because of Alpha's dedication to providing and constantly improving a tool that removes so much of the grunt work for AJAX development.

    The deployment issues that are resolved with a web based solution are alone worth the price of any learning curve.

    Hope that is a little helpful in making your decision...
    Jim Dusoe
    Net Data Design Innovations
    Alpha Software Senior System Architect

  10. #10
    Moderator Peter.Greulich's Avatar
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    Default Re: web app on LAN

    Lenny, I guess the word "barebones" can be seen different ways. You are right. A simple grid with a detail section where you can add, edit & delete records can be created in probably a minute. But then there is security, publishing, etc. What makes the desktop shine is drag & drop. You can fairly quickly and easily create a half-decent form in short order. To do that on the web side requires trial & error - if you want more than the default layout. The web requires more skills to do the same thing as the desktop - xbasic, JavaScript, & HTML. I'm not saying that you need those for a bare bones operation, but for more sophisticated apps, you do. Many people can build sophisticated desktop apps w/o any knowledge of xbasic, just using Action Scripting. Having said that, my heart still is on the web side.

    P.S. And, Lenny, you are one of the creators of the web app server, so...

  11. #11
    "Certified" Alphaholic kkfin's Avatar
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    Default Re: web app on LAN

    Quote Originally Posted by jdusoe View Post
    to STOP developing for the desktop. There is no real reason to do that anymore since you can now provide the kind of user experience customers have become used to in their desktop apps in the browser.
    Interesting to see what Alpha does with their next version of Alpha Five (11). Is it still an old fashion desktop application or pure new Web solution.

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