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More and more I'm moving (if I'm not there already) into the realm of web based applications. It has its pros and cons like all things, but I have decided to make it a conscious decision to embrace the cloud and avoid client software. The benefits drastically out weigh those of their client counterparts. If I can log in through a browser, always get the latest security updates, and limit the number of programs on my laptop sign me up. If I don't have to constantly upgrade software, and know each time I sign on I'll have the latest upgrade with the newest features count me in. It's less time I have to invest on my laptop and more quality time spent with friends and family. Time is the most precious commodity any of us have; so when it comes to having to install a client vs. using the web interface there is no decision to be made.
It's really amazing how in some fashion we have gone full circle in this area. In the 90s I was always looking at what type of word processing program, style of spreadsheet, or other set of client applications came installed on my desktop purchase. (Remember Microsoft Works?) Although back then we also were concerned whether the machine had 16 MB (that's MB!) of RAM to run what we needed to run. My first desktop had only 4MB of RAM and a 420 MB hard disk. I thought it perfect for what I needed especially with that extra space on the hard drive. When I later upgraded to 16 MB of RAM I thought this was about as good as it could get. It was also the area of thin clients; that brings me back to the cloud.
In the 90s we were connecting to mainframes though thin clients. Machines void of physical disks and were connected P2P. Now we're on the verge of the 2020s, and my phone has more computing power than that first laptop I had. The word processor? Its being replaced by SaaS. While my phone may not be a thin client in the traditional sense given its storage capacity, it still connects to SaaS suite of products and the other various apps -- looking at you Twitter -- that I have installed.
When I mention coming full circle I mean the smartphone. We've gone from mainframes connecting to thin clients to phones running software applications connecting to remote servers in the cloud. Of course it is a cloud -- to say mainframe in some remote data center no doubt sounds passe.
Technology has expanded greatly in the last 20 years. I can only image what it'll be like 20 years from now.
What do you think? Do you continue to use client applications on your desktop devices or do you now embrace the SaaS applications? Please feel free to comment below.