Custom Client or Accept Browser Limits
If you have been building software using ide's like Delphi and Visual Basic, and really know less rather than more about web application development, than a custom browser or Flash would be appropriate if you haven't made the investment to check out Microsoft Web Forms.net.
I'm surprised you're even allowed to decide. At the jobs I've had the decision was always to use a browser simply 'because'-- even if a rich client would have served them better.
IT usually prefer browser based applications as they are so much easier to deploy, and it's quite easy to create links to browser based apps from an intranet.
I have been building software for a long time and although my experience with Web apps is not as much as others, I have no worries over being able to implement the best technology for the Job. An example of one of my concerns would be that we use an explorer style treeview interface for part of our app, although I think these can be implemented either as java applets or using some kind of server side code that uses graphics and tables to emulate a treeview couldn't I just keep my app the way it is and just use the internet as an html data pipe for files and messages instead of the client server/lan arrangement we currently have. My early experiments with .Net performance a while ago where not that encouraging, perhaps it has improved.
The difference is not very much if you stick with IE, including code base issues. An embedded ActiveX Control is as good as as free standing client. The aforementioned Key Stroke capture being the case in point
Indian Developer in India
Anyone who thinks that the real advantage of Web Apps is deloyment you may want to look into .NET Web Deploys for Windows executables and the J2EE equivalent Java Web Start.
For a rich UI, running in the browser can be very contraining, even with an ActiveX control. Sometimes you just need control over the main message loop. OTOH, most people are very comfortable working within a browser-based application, because they can use it with almost no instruction (as little as "go to www.xxx.yyy/app"). I like WebEx's strategy- they have a really nice webconferencing app that you launch from the browser, but ultimately runs in it's on process. And everything is installed and updated on demand. Users keep the warm fuzzy launch-from-a-URL feeling.
"IT usually prefer browser based applications as they are so much easier"
"""As IT resources become commoditized, perhaps ease for the user will take more precedence."""
Phillip J. Eby
Users have lowered expectations of web applications. They accept the latency, as long as it doesn't get too bad.
we recently decided against a browser based solution because of the latency.
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