Saturday, April 2, 2011

Web Site or Web Application?

When we announced Real Studio was going to support building web applications, many of you started asking if Real Studio could be also used to build web sites. Our initial response was no; Our web framework was designed for building web applications, not web sites. But as the discussions on our forums and email lists continued, it became obvious that the answer is not that clear...and you were going to use it to build whatever you wanted anyway!

Web sites are generally, mostly static content without a whole lot of user interaction whereas web applications are usually designed to create content dynamically and are highly interactive. But there is a ever changing gray area in between. So is our new web framework meant for building web sites?

If your web site (or a part of your web site) is very dynamic then it might actually behave more like an application than a web site. If that's the case, then Real Studio might be appropriate. If, on the other hand, your web site is very static, then Real Studio is almost certainly not appropriate.

Is Real Studio designed for building web sites? No, it's not. But your web site might function more like a web application than a website, in which case perhaps Real Studio's web application support is a good solution for you.

19 comments:

Bob Keeney said...

Without the ability easily generate styled HTML text the number of uses for Web Edition are pretty limited, in my opinion.

Geoff Perlman said...

I disagree. Like most desktop applications, most web applications do not need the ability to handle styled text. Most web applications are some kind of front-end to a database. Sure the are some that require styled text but they are the exception, not the rule.

Having said that, we certainly plan to support styled text for the TextArea control in the Web Edition just as we support it for the desktop.

tkaltschmidt said...

Front-ends for databases seems like an excellent fit for Web Edition. But these need not to a dynamic, exciting Web Experience. Certainly not Web 3.0! The Web gets more and more visually, without styled text Web Edition is not very suitable for any other purpose than database front ends.

Bob Keeney said...

We can agree to disagree, but after having worked on two fairly big web apps (using WE) it (lack of HTML styled text) is a hole that's a pain to work around. Not impossible, but it is tiresome.

A fair number of the desktop apps I've worked on go well beyond the limited RTF support that RS provides in Real Studio (desktop). Think inline graphics. This required me to purchase a 3rd party tool that offers true RTF support.

Hopefully the styled text solution you come up with for Web Edition has better compatibility than the desktop edition. Purchasing a 3rd party library wouldn't be the end of the world for me, though, but I believe most people will expect it sooner rather than later.

GFC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Giuseppe Farese said...

I think the web edition can use a famous slogan: don't use a cannon to kill a mosquito.

For me the web edition is great for every dynamic web pages/sites that can't be solved easily with a blog type script.

The web edition is the best thing it could happen to my web app development business, because I generate more income from web apps than desktop apps.

Joseph said...

It's clearly limited. The original column even says that if you don't have a lot of dynamic content then it's probably not the solution you're looking for. Ergo it is limited to sites that have dynamic content.

Joseph said...

Giuseppe when you say you make more off of web apps than desktop apps are you saying you "sell" the webapplication or are you hosting it and then charging the users?

I ask because it seems like, while WE has a better deployment scheme now, it would still require a lot of support to sell the webapplication outright like we do with desktop apps.

tkaltschmidt said...

Even in this simple, not so dynamic Blog you can achive something like bold or italic ;-) It's impossible in Web Edition. My opinion: If someone is used to program, it is not so hard to learn some tags...

Kaleberg said...

I really like the basic idea behind your Real Studio web applications. It's an intriguing technology, and I'll bet I'll be using it in the next year or two.

I'm tutoring geometry this year, so a web application for teaching about triangles and trigonometric functions seemed like a great idea, but I got bogged down trying to use an HTMLViewer to manage an HTML5 canvas element. I'm sure I was doing it the wrong way, and I barely understand HTML5 as it is. If I can get it working, I was considering a trip planning application that would drive Google Maps to produce the actual map and directions. I've done something like this on Apple's IOS which has a Google map user interface element, so it seems like a good idea now.

When I just want to write an application, I tend to do so in Real Basic, but I often want an application that interacts with other web sites, fetching data, updating things and presenting things. Build a web application, rather than mucking around with HTTPSockets and the like seems like a good idea, but I'm not sure if your Web Applications are up for it yet.

It's definitely a move in a good direction. The new Javascript engines are pretty powerful. I can't quite use it yet, but it is definitely something I'll be tracking, and I'm sure it and some application will collide in the near future.

Giuseppe Farese said...

@Joseph: In the past 12 years more than 75% of company's income had been from designing web apps with PHP/HTML/CSS/JS/JQUERY.

We create the web apps and host them for our customers, or give them the app for them to host.

So far I've only replaced the backoffice of my webstore (PHP) to RS web framework and the result is impressive in terms of development time. Fortunately lots of bug fixes and enhancements will arrive and will make the product solid for me to use it for my clients.

I don't know how I'll handle my first customers when I tell them I'll be using RS and no PHP/HTML, etc.

I think they will be scared and they will offer some resistance to use something not "very standard" like PHP or HTML that anybody else can modify/fix.

But that's a problem I would like to have considering the potential future I see in RS web framework.

That's why I'm working hard on having an excellent web application to show off.

Gary MacDougall said...

I sort of agree with other folks, the direction of the product in my opinion has become more of an "AJAX database form" replacement tool.

Most Web App's these days use AJAX forms to do data entry and build screens around JQuery (or any other AJAX library). This can be very, very useful mind you. But as someone said, "its certainly not Web 3.0"... I think if you want to create a data-entry or database application around your Web Site, WE is perfect.

I just wouldn't use this product for things that are more HTML / dynamic in nature. Its overkill.

However, that does not mean you can't, but you're just going to be limited in what you can do.

The concerns for me are more architecture. Using a private JS library and not standardizing on JQuery, and not being able to control the output, or even intercept it before it hits the browser so you can manage the output is a problem for me. I just have to trust that the JS and HTML output will always work on every browser and on every machine -- thats a lot to ask a company like RS to be able to do. Also, not having hooks into the runtime, well, thats another thing thats going to be a problem... but i digress.

shahid said...

We are a colour management company, and I would like to say that WE has helped us create a web interface to the postgres backend in a very short time. And that is great.

But, WE is not ready yet I would say, as we have spotted many bugs during our course of development and had to find a work around to achieve a functionality which would have been easy to achive otherwise.

Most of the issues were when you access the app from iOS, the controls do not behave the same way as on desktop. I would regretfully say, its a great product but not tested enough for the platforms it claims of compatibility.

The apps completely hate internet explorer above version 6 on xp. Which is highest used browser and most popular operating system.

I love the product but .....

Geoff Perlman said...

@ Shahid - Have you reported the issues you had with iOS? We have fixed several issues with iOS for R2 but I'd certainly like to know if there are others.

Guest said...

Interesting article, but the real truth is that we serve our customers. When they say, "Make this bold and that red", we say "Yes, sir." Today's websites/web apps, whether it be static or dynamic - is about data presentation. If you still don't want to believe in this truth, just look at this very blog (blogger.com). It's dynamically generated with bold, colors, and what have you. Is blogger.com a website or a web app The lines between what constitutes a website and a web application is quite thin, and what is a website to you might not be a website to my customers. Let's not kid ourselves or make excuses. Today's "websites" are not like the websites of the early days of the web.

When you build a tool like WE, you KNOW that people will use it to build THEIR VERSION of their "web application."

It's very simple really. Give your customers what they ask for or no one will care (eventually). This is both true about meeting my customers' needs and for WE itself.

Marlon said...

I think you can venture on managing your own blog and use Wordpress as your CMS.

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Boyd J said...

"I think you can venture on managing your own blog and use Wordpress as your CMS." While this is very much possible, Wordpress has a lot of limitations. Not to mention, each version update seems to bring a bevy of new bugs to a lot of unlucky people.

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Alexis Preatori said...

While this is very much possible, Wordpress has a lot of limitations. Not to mention, each version update seems to bring a bevy of new bugs to a lot of unlucky people. WordPress has only grants limited features to those who don't have they own web hosting.

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Finn said...

The limitations in every free CMS exists, especially when people use it to easily build their pages. It all boils down to choosing the right web app (paid or not) that could double as a beginner tool and an expert sidekick.
web design perth