I was looking at recent press releases and new articles about the future of software development. It looks like the industry is moving towards hosted applications as the model of choice. This I find very interesting as it is a major divergence from the traditional fat client.
I am not a programmer in any way, shape (well maybe – 😉 or form. I do not know the back end work and how much of a change it is at the core. I imagine it is a dramatic change. The hosted application has some serious advantages. It should be able to cut down on software theft and improve security as it can be patched quickly. Features can be added or tweaked continually and user feedback can be incorporated more quickly.
The major drawback is the potential downtime. If the hosted environment or the Internet path fails, then you are prevented from accessing the application. My Internet has been stable and personally we have had 2 interruptions in the past year. Professionally, only one interruption in the last year. Currently, if the Internet goes down, we can not send or receive external mail. That is about the only problem we would feel. What happens when the ERP and Office applications are hosted and the Internet is cut because a delivery truck just took out the box on the street? A few years ago, a crane fell over and killed all telco for 8 days…ya that was a fun time.
I look at Google Apps and wounder what happens the first time it failed. Hell, I just think back to the last RIM outage and ruckus that it created. Microsoft, Adobe, and Oracle are going down this road full force. The potential for great improvements in software is huge but so is the potential risks.