dcsimg
Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: I'm at a crossroad wondering which way to go.

  1. #1

    Thread Starter
    Addicted Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    141

    I'm at a crossroad wondering which way to go.

    I've got an Inventory program that I sell online. I don't make a fortune but it pays the bills and keeps the lights on round here.

    It's a desktop application. (c#)

    I want to make a new product next year and I'm wondering if I should do it as a desktop application or make it work on a web server (user runs it via a web browser).

    Currently my programs are a one off purchase. User buys it once and uses it forever. So I'm not 'milking' my existing users. It's all new users that're keeping the lights on so to speak.

    If I switch to an OnLine/Browser model then I'd have to offer the server. Some users might have the ability to setup their own web/cloud server but I suspect many small businesses would rather just buy a complete solution. So, rather than them paying once to buy the software they'd be paying a smaller amount each month. That's a complete change to my business model.

    At the moment they just buy the software. If I sell server space though I'd be responsible for their server and I'm not sure I want to go down that route.

    Some people reckon desktop apps have no future. Personally I think there'll be a surge in interest towards the cloud but, in a couple of years, people will come back to desktop once their internet connection has failed a few times. Or their ISP gets hacked again etc.

    I suppose my question is - Should I make a new desktop application?

    I'm kind of leaning towards a hybrid model. Code runs on the desktop - has a local database such as sqlite for local storage and has the ability to switch full time to a web database if necessary. Or maybe continue using the local database and just sync with cloud side storage to give the appearance of shared/common data.

    Do normal computers users even know what the cloud really means? or is it just the latest buzz word?

    Or what do you guys reckon? All opinions welcome.
    Last edited by Axcontrols; Mar 10th, 2016 at 07:13 AM. Reason: corrected spelling mistakes

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    34,914

    Re: I'm at a crossroad wondering which way to go.

    I think you're on the hook more when you go with the web model, but whether that is good or bad is hard to say. As it stands, if you create a good desktop application and sell it to me, I install it and use it. If my computer dies, that's my problem. If I trash your program, that's my problem. If I delete my data, that's my problem. However, if you sell me a web app, then if my data gets trashed, that's your problem. If your server fails, that's your problem. If my web connection goes out, that's my problem....but I can try to MAKE it your problem.

    So, it seems to me that the desktop application sale is a cleaner transaction. The web approach is potentially the more lucrative approach, but is somewhat messier, and you'd have to factor that into your price. After all, if you sold your desktop application for $100, but you sold the web application for $2/month, then it would take about four years for you to make as much money from the web approach as the desktop approach. The hassle may not be worth it, and you'll only be doing better after four years. On the other hand, if you priced it at $10/month, you'd be doing better in less than a year, and your buyers may be able to do that math just as well, so they may resent that new pricing model.

    It's going to come down to a personal decision based on how you feel about your customers and your goals. If it were me, the added hassle of the web approach would make me strongly favor the desktop approach, even if I felt that I could make more money using the web approach. You'll have to decide how you feel.
    My usual boring signature: Nothing

  3. #3

    Thread Starter
    Addicted Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    141

    Re: I'm at a crossroad wondering which way to go.

    Thanks Shaggy. I didn't reply straight away because I was kind of hoping for a few more comments. I guess it's not such an important topic for most developers.

    It isn't the money I'm thinking about. I'd rather not make a cloud version at all but it just seems - to me at least - that many end users don't actually know what 'the cloud' means (The cloud is very 'cloudy') but it's the current buzzword and I fear it won't be long before people will only buy something if it's got the word 'Cloud' written on it in big letters.

  4. #4
    Superbly Moderated NeedSomeAnswers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Manchester uk
    Posts
    2,610

    Re: I'm at a crossroad wondering which way to go.

    If it was me i would probably stick with a desktop app, for 3 reasons.

    1, Web development if you haven't done it before is significantly different from desktop development that there will be a learning curve which will slow you down, and i am not sure that the return on your investment will be high enough to justify the extra time you spend.

    2, You selling to individuals rather than businesses. Businesses are used to paying for annual licenses more than individuals for there software.

    3, You are adding in a server back-end into a product that never needed one before, you would then need to manage the server back-end (even if you host it somewhere) and that's extra work!!

    If your app was bigger or had a bigger revenue potential then it could be worth going web as you can open up new revenue streams but it could just make your smaller app cost more to make and there for less profitable!
    Please Mark your Thread "Resolved", if the query is solved & Rate those who have helped you



  5. #5
    Super Moderator FunkyDexter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    An obscure body in the SK system. The inhabitants call it Earth
    Posts
    7,527

    Re: I'm at a crossroad wondering which way to go.

    I'm less sceptical about the cloud approach than NSA or Shaggy. Desktop is certainly the path of least resistance but I don't think you should close your mind to web hosted in the cloud.

    Shaggy raised the demon that you become responsible for the infrastructure, and that's certainly daunting, but it's also easily avoided. Do not sell them your hosting. Sell them your services as a consultant to set up (and possibly manage) their own hosting. As soon as you do that all of Shaggy's concerns become opportunities. Your data gets trashed, pay me! Your server goes down, pay me! Your internet connection goes down, pay me!

    and that's extra work!!
    Pay me!


    Edit>OK, that's it, my left wing credentials are finally in tatters.
    You can depend upon the Americans to do the right thing. But only after they have exhausted every other possibility - Winston Churchill

    Hadoop actually sounds more like the way they greet each other in Yorkshire - Inferrd

  6. #6

    Thread Starter
    Addicted Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    141

    Re: I'm at a crossroad wondering which way to go.

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    and that's extra work!!
    Pay me!
    Work? I prefer to spend my time fishing - er.. I mean writing software.

    Selling services or selling support is not my current business model. I mean if I spend an hour developing/improving my software then that hour is sold and resold over and over each time somebody buys the software. But if I spend my time charging for consulting and support then sure, I get paid by the hour but that hour is gone and can never be sold again.

    Lets talk about the word 'Cloud'.

    I suppose I'm asking "should I make a cloud based product, not because it's better but simply because 'cloud' is the buzzword of the day and buyers kind of expect any modern app to work in the cloud even though they don't quite know why.

  7. #7
    Fanatic Member namrekka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    639

    Re: I'm at a crossroad wondering which way to go.

    I guess it depends on what kind of application.

    Has it more value if it runs on other devices?
    Don't say simply yes but think it over. Does the market asks for it? Can a user work with it on a smart phone and how?

    Is it save to store user info in a cloud?
    I don't want my tax info in the cloud.

    Is it save if they use a public WiFi...etc

    Server maintenance is mentioned before and is an other type of job.

  8. #8
    Fanatic Member namrekka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    639

    Re: I'm at a crossroad wondering which way to go.

    Oh...more questions.

    How much data needs to be stored. 1000 users, 10.000 users ......

    What happens when the server is down. Do you get claims? Do you need a backup server or a mirror?

    Things to think of.

    Not just its fancy or a hype or modern...

  9. #9
    Superbly Moderated NeedSomeAnswers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Manchester uk
    Posts
    2,610

    Re: I'm at a crossroad wondering which way to go.

    I'm less sceptical about the cloud approach than NSA or Shaggy. Desktop is certainly the path of least resistance but I don't think you should close your mind to web hosted in the cloud.
    I'm not skeptical at all about the cloud in the right circumstance it can be the right approach, i just felt considering what the OP posted that it isn't necessarily the right choice for them.

    Currently the OP writes there app, sells it and forgets about it. That wont be the case if they move to a cloud based solution.


    Lets talk about the word 'Cloud'.

    I suppose I'm asking "should I make a cloud based product, not because it's better but simply because 'cloud' is the buzzword of the day and buyers kind of expect any modern app to work in the cloud even though they don't quite know why.
    Well the brief answer is - definitely not

    The longer answer is - definitely not unless someone will pay you loads of money for doing it !
    Please Mark your Thread "Resolved", if the query is solved & Rate those who have helped you



  10. #10
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    34,914

    Re: I'm at a crossroad wondering which way to go.

    I've looked at clouds from both sides now, from up and down, and still, some how, it's clouds illusions I recall. I guess I really don't know clouds, at all.
    My usual boring signature: Nothing

  11. #11
    PowerPoster SJWhiteley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    South of the Mason-Dixon Line
    Posts
    2,256

    Re: I'm at a crossroad wondering which way to go.

    'The Cloud' is just another phrase for 'someone else computers'.

    Basically, you and your customer are entrusting your application and data to a third party, not as an instantaneous, single transaction but on an ongoing basis. Not only that, you customer (I don't really know what they do) may very well be entrusting their customers data to this third party, also.

    While up-time and availability are not, generally, an issue these days, the potential for data loss and data theft is a real threat. Information has value.
    "Ok, my response to that is pending a Google search" - Bucky Katt.
    "There are two types of people in the world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data sets." - Unk.
    "Before you can 'think outside the box' you need to understand where the box is."

  12. #12
    A SQL Server fool GaryMazzone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Dover,NH
    Posts
    7,396

    Re: I'm at a crossroad wondering which way to go.

    We are on the swing back to a dumb client and every thing else off site some where. Where who knows the cloud provider figures that does not concern us.

    It does to me
    Sometimes the Programmer
    Sometimes the DBA

    Mazz1

  13. #13
    Super Moderator FunkyDexter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    An obscure body in the SK system. The inhabitants call it Earth
    Posts
    7,527

    Re: I'm at a crossroad wondering which way to go.

    Currently the OP writes there app, sells it and forgets about it. That wont be the case if they move to a cloud based solution.
    It can be, that was the real point I was trying to make. The cloud's available to everyone these days so his customers can trivially sign up for it themselves if they want to. If he provides a server installer then they simply need to call up any provider and say "run this for me".

    I get that that might be a little daunting to his customers but that trepidation will come from the fact that it's something new rather than technically difficult. Selling some consultancy is a good way to get past that trepidation but it's not really necessary and he could always just buddy up with some local consultant to a preferred partner if his customers really want it. Heck, I'll be happy to offer my services... PAY ME!

    The point I was really trying to make was that he's only taking on more responsibility if he sells the hosting service itself. If he just makes it a requirement of the package he doesn't need to change anything.

    None of this, however, changes the fact that continuing with Desktop is the easiest (but not necessarily the most profitable) option.
    You can depend upon the Americans to do the right thing. But only after they have exhausted every other possibility - Winston Churchill

    Hadoop actually sounds more like the way they greet each other in Yorkshire - Inferrd

  14. #14
    PowerPoster
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    20,966

    Re: I'm at a crossroad wondering which way to go.

    A web application is not "cloud" anything. The word has an entirely different meaning, and mobile, desktop, and web applications can all make use of cloud computing.

    The term is often abused for marketing reasons: hosted personal storage and backup vendors want to market as "cloud," 1990s-style web hosting vendors want to market as "cloud," etc. The marketing people just misappropriate the word.

    Cloud computing involves things like moving program-accessed raw storage, databases, queues, distributed notification services, and processing into remote server clusters that offer scaling and resiliancy and metered usage. This is different from renting remote servers as a fixed chunk of service like web hosting or a dedicated or virtual private server.

  15. #15
    Super Moderator FunkyDexter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    An obscure body in the SK system. The inhabitants call it Earth
    Posts
    7,527

    Re: I'm at a crossroad wondering which way to go.

    There's different level of service. PAAS is the cloud just as IAAS is. The fact that PAAS will be sitting atop IAAS isn't really relevant to the consumer.
    You can depend upon the Americans to do the right thing. But only after they have exhausted every other possibility - Winston Churchill

    Hadoop actually sounds more like the way they greet each other in Yorkshire - Inferrd

  16. #16
    PowerPoster
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    20,966

    Re: I'm at a crossroad wondering which way to go.

    I'm not sure where you're going with that, but a web application you happen to host on a remote server you rent from somebody else isn't "PAAS." That's merely 1990s-style web hosting.

    Yes, there are cloud computing vendors who offer services that can host a simple web app but the scaling and billing model is based on usage rather than fixed pricing for fixed levels of service.

  17. #17
    Super Moderator FunkyDexter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    An obscure body in the SK system. The inhabitants call it Earth
    Posts
    7,527

    Re: I'm at a crossroad wondering which way to go.

    The OP was saying that he might want to move is application to a web model but he does not want the hassle of hosting it. So his users are going to have to host it themselves... somewhere.

    So either they need their own hardware (unlikely to be a solution, by the sound of things) or they need to hire a IAAS set (equally unlikely unless he's interested in offering consultancy to walk them through configuring it) or they need to hire a PAAS set up. The last of those options simply requires him to provide a set of requirements for his app (along with an installer) and the client simply needs to request that configuration from any PAAS provider. They would require no technical understanding at all.

    A web app need not necessarily be hosted in the cloud, certainly, but if he wants to offer his app on a web model and he does not wish to host it and does not expect is client to provide a web server then a PAAS setup does provide an obvious solution.
    Last edited by FunkyDexter; Mar 14th, 2016 at 04:56 AM.
    You can depend upon the Americans to do the right thing. But only after they have exhausted every other possibility - Winston Churchill

    Hadoop actually sounds more like the way they greet each other in Yorkshire - Inferrd

  18. #18
    PowerPoster
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    20,966

    Re: I'm at a crossroad wondering which way to go.

    Most people would probably just use simple 1990s-style web hosting, VPS hosting, etc.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  



Featured


Click Here to Expand Forum to Full Width