For nearly a decade now I have been developing high performance, elegant windows desktop applications.
In the meantime the rest of the world as been moving ‘into the cloud’. Such web applications were once sluggish and clunky, but the simplicity of no user installation, universal availability and instant upgrades of the entire user base trumped all other considerations.
A year ago I delivered my fist web application. Guitar informs the user when their guitar was built and by whom, if they type in the serial number. It is hardly complex, and there is no need for any great performance, but the result is rather neat. Behind the scenes there is a SQLITE database to store all the information about guitars and their makers, a PYTHON script to decode the serial numbers and find the exact information in the database, the WEB2PY framework to generate the dynamic web pages and a LIGHTTPD web server to communicate with the user.
Since then I have delivered several such applications, the most recent is MEDAIM which estimates the effect of a planned media advertising buy.
The big issue that crops up with web applications is configuring and maintaining a server to host them. It is not clear to me the best way to do this.
For desktop applications I can provide an installer which the client can distribute to the end users. Almost everyone is familiar and comfortable with this. Configuring and maintaining a server for a web application is quite intimidating to anyone who has not done this before, and is a cost that was often not considered when planning the project.
MEDAIM is hosted on http://www.fluxflex.com which is ‘free’, but installation and maintenance is a hassle. I originally hosted it on my own server, which is far more convenient but it so very hard to compete with ‘free’.
Suggestions for making this go smoother would be most welcome!