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The last quarter of 2016 represented a major milestone for the world wide web. Globally, it was the first time there were more Internet users via mobile devices than desktops. Once upon a time, users would download and install products using the native digital doorway. That would then save the icon to your desktop for easy access anytime.
There are still millions of desktop applications on the market. By definition, a desktop application is "any software that can be installed on a single computer (laptop or a desktop) and used to perform specific tasks."
Desktop apps don't need the web to run; an example would be Photoshop or components of the Microsoft Suite like Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. If you're using PhotoShop, or AutoCAD, or Final Cut Pro, or other professional level applications, you can't just jump over to a web application.
Desktop applications are here to stay. As one writer has aptly noted, "[B]loggers, developers and product owners can discuss the death of the desktop endlessly. But it won't make any sense until they find the solution how to implement all the desktop apps that are used by millions of people all over the world into the web."
Desktop apps are still very relevant within the enterprise and, for that reason, must be continually optimized and updated in order to prevent costly performance bottlenecks. Perhaps you've been frustrated by considerable wait times when operating your business desktop applications and don't know where to turn.
Waiting for these apps leads to inefficient workflows and lost productivity, not to mention frustrated employees.
Desktop applications were the workhorses of the early Internet. Recently, considerable focus has shifted to cloud and web-based applications due to their seamlessness and ease of use. In the process, desktop apps are getting overlooked while many have suggested that they're on the way out.
There are still several scenarios when building or maintaining a desktop application is necessary and more beneficial. Desktop apps are generally more user-friendly and native to the specific OS that is installed on your computer. This eliminates any limitations with integration or challenges that web apps may have with integration with local hardware.
This also means more security and more control over your data since it's not backed up by a third-party provider (though you still need to back up everything on your own computer!). Desktop apps are offline and can still function without an Internet connection.
In another instance, when apps are very large and clunky, it makes more sense to develop a desktop app. And, while hosting is cheaper for native desktop applications, it is becoming significantly easier to develop hybrid apps. .
Today, more than ever, there is a considerable need for managing desktop applications, and especially addressing performance bottlenecks. Just like IBM has kept mainframes relevant for the past 50+ years, so too, are desktop applications still a major facet of the business enterprise.
Skills and knowledge are very much in demand on how to keep these applications running in the most cost-effective and efficient way possible with desktop application developers comprising 21.3% of software developers. In this article, we deal with the four most critical ways to build a strategy for enhancing the performance of your desktop application environment.
When it comes to performance testing desktop applications, the issue might seem irrelevant. After all, aren't desktop apps usually limited to one user? Well, not really. Consider the common situation where the desktop application acts as a client for a web service or a database. Or the scenario where the desktop application is running as a "rich client" through the company's client/server network. In these cases, desktop applications are deployed to multiple business users at once.
It's important to be clear about what your overall performance optimization strategy will be. Some common goals might be:
Being precise about what performance goals you or your clients wishes to accomplish is the starting point for implementing a successful desktop app enhancement strategy.
When working with desktop applications in a business setting, it is important to identify the various user scenarios that are causing performance issues. Some common ones might be:
Once you have gained a basic understanding of the application, you should then proceed to gather more specific business scenarios from the client.
It's useful to employ screen capture technology or else video the actual user scenarios, so you can easily reproduce the specific performance issues that regularly crop up.
This avoids the need to ask the client again to reproduce the steps from the beginning.
To address and resolve the specific performance bottlenecks in a desktop application, it is important to develop a clear testing strategy. There are a whole host of different methods and approaches to testing desktop applications. Some of the most common ones are:
This involves ensuring the controls like menus, icons, buttons, dialog boxes, etc. all perform as intended.
Once you've identified a testing strategy to address your desktop app performance challenges, it's time to leverage the right performance testing tools to help resolve them. There are many available on the market, but some of the ones we utilized are:
Redgate Ants Performance/Memory Profilers
This bundle offers a great tool to analyze the performance and memory usage of .NET applications:
This is an application that lets you monitor debug output on your local system, or any computer on the network that can be reached via TCP/IP.
Task Parallel Library
Where to Go from Here?
The move from desktop apps to mobile applications was rapid. In 2013, mobile phones made up 16.2% of global web traffic. In 2018, only five years later, that percentage jumped up to 52.2% and continues to rise.
The rapid growth of mobile and cloud technologies over the past decade has led to widespread adoption of cloud and web-based applications. Consumers love these because the onboarding is much easier and seamless as opposed to using memory heavy desktop applications. In fact, many have even rung the death knell of desktop applications, predicting that their days are numbered.
But desktop apps aren't dead. Whether you have a desktop app that you aren't ready to rebuild or a desktop app that has to stay a desktop app, Integrant is here to help.
We have a longstanding track record of helping organizations like yours to implement an effective performance enhancement strategy for sluggish desktop applications. We know exactly what it takes to optimize your desktop applications so that you can focus on running your business as optimally as possible. Give us a call today to find out more
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