Today's browsers are capable of doing tasks that were impossible only a few years ago. Development of HTML5 created the revolution, empowering current web browsers in desktops, tablets, and smartphones to become equally capable of handling websites and business-critical applications.
Indeed, employees can do most office work using web apps instead of standalone software.
Developers like Microsoft, Google, and Salesforce.com hope to transition clients to web-based features such as email management, document- and file-sharing, task and calendar management, and videoconferencing, through their rich HTML features like drag and drop, and advanced web GUI dashboards that make the user experience easier and more productive.
For example, Google+ Hangouts allows up to 10 people to simultaneously communicate in a videoconference. This can reduce travel costs, and participants can even simultaneously edit a document in real time using a web browser from any device, further underscoring the power of modern web apps.
Some projects, such as Apache’s Open Office, will become one of the web app-based solutions that may one day compete with products like Microsoft Office 365 in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) arena. Cloud-based solutions typically have web-based, end-user interfaces that enable service anywhere by using the web browser on any device, at any time. As a result, it's the platform-independent solution of today -- and the future.
Already, web-based services are improving communication and collaboration between corporate departments, customers, suppliers, and partners. Since the end-user's platform is no longer a concern, the barrier to sharing has disappeared. Some tools I like include:
Working on the Web
The Samsung Chromebook uses web-based apps to ensure apps -- and security -- remain current, and ends the need for time- and storage-consuming software downloads.
- For iOS 6 devices, Google developed the Google Maps web app, which people can access through Apple's Safari browser. This web app can even display the Street View of Google maps. Users can pin this web app to their apps list in their iPhone.
- When users take images in photsphere mode on an Android 4.2 device, they can see the photos using Google Street View, like the photo viewer on Google Plus. This is a revolution in photography for both enterprise users and consumers.
- With Google Chromebook, we complete day-to-day activities just using web apps. As Google says, this web-based OS is always up-to-date. We simply click the refresh button to update an app so the security -- and any new software features -- update in seconds. This is a major example of the future of web app based computing. No doubt there will be many more this year.
Which web apps are important to your business today? What would you like developers to create in order to make your business even more productive and profitable, and your IT department even more efficient?
— Raj Kumar is an independent industry analyst and IT professional in the Coimbatore area of India.