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Web Apps vs. Desktop Apps

Can expensive desktop programs be replaced by cheaper Web alternatives?

by Steve Smith on Monday, March 31, 2008

Boxed software is so 2006. In fact, paying for software at all is becoming passé. You can get everything from e-mail to office and photo-editing applications online without downloading a thing. And a lot of what’s out there is free. While Ajax programming techniques and ubiquitous broadband have made some of these Web apps remarkably responsive and rich in features, none yet rival their offline progenitors in features and speed. On the other hand, when it comes to collaboration, very few desktop programs can approach the flexibility and ease of the better Web-based alternatives. We took a look at three of the most popular types of applications to see if Webware is really ready for prime time.

Web Apps vs. Desktop Apps


Web-based Email - Yahoo Mail

Price: Free

Among the Web-based mail solutions, Yahoo Mail looks and works the most like Outlook.
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Software Email - Outlook

Price: $109.00

While Office 2007 has upgraded Outlook considerably, most of us still rely on Office 2003.
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Web-based Documents -Google Docs

Price: Free

Google Docs comprises Web-based word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation programs.
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Software Documents - Microsoft Word

Price: $229.00

Despite never-ending gripes, Microsoft’s classic word processor remains the standard for a good reason.
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Web-based Photo Editing - Picnik

Price: Free

Not only is the Web-based Picnik photo editor more detailed and easier to use than the nominal Windows Vista tools, but it's even better than editing suites from most digital camera manufacturers.
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Software Photo Editing - Photoshop Elements 6.0

Price: $99.00

Unlike Picnik, you can work with image layers for sophisticated matting, superimpositions, and isolating effects on portions of an image.
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