Should you build a desktop app for your web app?


Is it even worth it anymore to build desktop versions of your web apps?

What are some benefits of having a desktop version for mac and windows of your app?

One glaring downside is obviously supporting that app for the long term.

Web Applications Desktop

asked Mar 1 '14 at 19:53
Tina Huston
15 points
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2 Answers


Of late, many of the "desktop apps" that SaaS providers offer are simply webapps with a local server. Somewhat simplifies things, but you still need to keep the remotely installed apps up to date.

answered Mar 1 '14 at 20:28
Jim Galley
9,952 points
  • This is a great point. Building a desktop application from an existing mobile application does not have to be terribly complicated, nor does it have to be a second code base to maintain. – rbwhitaker 9 years ago


There are some notable advantages of desktop applications:

  • Faster performance.
  • Doesn't require an Internet connection.
  • Fewer restrictions (printing, file system access, etc.)
  • The peace of mind that users get from knowing that they've still got the app and their data if you go out of business.
  • The data is stored locally instead of on a remote server (privacy and IP protection).

Of course, not all applications and not all userbases have a need for these features. Indeed, in some cases the opposite is more desirable (remote storage so you can access it from anywhere, etc.).

You know the specifics of your application and your users better than we could ever dream of knowing, so you're going to have to make that decision yourself, preferably after consulting with your users themselves.

But yes, in the general case, there are still times where a desktop application in some form or another is useful as a companion with the web app, and some cases where a desktop app is preferable to a web app. Web and mobile have become powerful methods for delivering value to people, but I can't imagine it will ever kill off all desktop apps.

answered Mar 1 '14 at 21:20
3,465 points

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