Desktop GUI Move To Web/Browser Based - When?
I realize this topic may engender passions on either side but I thought I would at least broach the subject as in my mind it is definitely the elephant in the room for future xTuple development. I am thinking we are at a stage where the pure desktop application and more specifically as it applies to xTuple is possibly an outdated model. I understand the considerable ramifications in such a move going forward possibly in regards to license management but you can use php encryption frameworks for commercial editions. I see the pro's heavily outweighing the cons, including:
- The largest Pro would be true multi platform and form factor compatibility (think tablets which to my knowledge are shutout from running xTuple currently, except in a drastically limited way)
- No need for a third party web app add-on or specific iPhone/Android app.
- Faster development and deployment of updates/fixes.
- Much wider exposure to developers for contributing functionality as growth in the current environment is certainly in web based application not pure desktop apps. Myself for example all major extensions I have made to our implementation have been web based (including full import of products, entry of a single product, p/o importing, prospect/opportunity creation). My reason for choosing this method is that I figured a full blown web front end to xTuple is a way off so I would attack it piece by piece myself as our needs arrive.
- Nothing at the database level would need to be changed and in many ways the attention to detail in pushing as much logic to the database makes me believe that xTuple is already planning for such a transition.
- Much greater flexibility with the interface and inclusion of external applications and modern technologies.
- Immediate regaining of countless hours of development time currently used to add scripting hooks into the C++ core, this becomes immediately obsolete and unnecessary.
The biggest con I see is that us as customers would need to endure a period of little to no new development while the desktop app was transitioned to a web based app but I really think this is a small price to pay now as I really see no valid argument against the reality that at some point the xtuple team are going to be forced to go this route at some point anyhow. Other issue would be need for a web server on customer install but this is minor and the best web server in the world today is open source and supported on multiple platforms.
Thanks for the platform to share my 2 cents