Web vs. Desktop (Web Application)

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by Not Available, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Well... I'm learning PHP and MySQL, and, as I do, I'm rewriting an application for my parents.

    The thing is, it is an advanced user management system, but the desktop version was writting by a company which... no longer exists, it is slow, and it does nothing as we expected.

    So I decided to rewrite it as a web application, using everything I've learnt so far (HTML, CSS, XML, JavaScript) and what I want to learn from building it (PHP and SQL).

    But there are many catches: It's 75% complete, and I went on and tested it. I've added 10 users, and did the basic tasks the application has to do. Compared to the desktop application, it has a blazing-fast speed. But here's the first catch: the desktop application has more than 4000 users and runs on a 4-year-old PC, with 1GB of DDR-400 RAM, a 2Ghz AMD Athlon, and so on. A kind of weak PC. But I've tested what I've created on my brand new MBP (the 2.26Ghz one, with 2GB of RAM), with 10 users :) My question would be, is the final application going to run this fast with 4000 users even on the PC, or is it going to be slow? That is, are web applications faster than desktop applications?

    And the second thing is related to databases. The desktop has a MS Access-based database, with a slightly different structure than the one I'm building. My application runs on a MySQL database. So the question would be, is it possible to alter an Access database, merging and deleting columns, and then, porting it to MySQL?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    the answer is... depends!

    a desktop application that is pulling data from a remote database will still have the latency issues that a web app does...

    it also depends on the language you write the app in, and how tightly coupled to hardware you write your software.

    If you need a desktop version of your webapp, have you considered something like Adobe Air? It will allow you to wrap your webapp in a desktop application wrapper and enable it to work when there is no network access, etc... you could reuse a great deal of your code that way...

    either way, i think it would be worth your while to upload a larger database to work with your webapp testing. In general, 4000 users does not seem that large of a database to me...
  3. Not Available thread starter Guest

    Jun 30, 2009
    Well... the desktop application we currently have is very old. I don't know what language it is written in, but it is dependant of the .NET 1.1 framework.

    I don't need a desktop version of my web application. I will install WAMP and have it run LOCALLY, even if I am not connected to the Internet.

    I don't know how big it is, but it takes about 10 seconds for the desktop application to load the entire list, and this can be annoying, because there are lots of customers who kind of need the info instantly.
  4. angelwatt Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    Going from 10 to 4000 will slow it, but not by much, at least in of itself. It really depends on the efficiency of your queries that will make a bigger difference. Not knowing all the specifics of what the app is trying to do it's hard to say hard to say if it'll have speed issues, but I don't believe it will.

    A quick Google search turned up this tool for doing a Access to MySQL conversions (it runs on Windows).
  5. Not Available thread starter Guest

    Jun 30, 2009
    Well... I'm still at the beginning, but O'Reilly has many high-quality books on the topics of both SQL and PHP.
    Well... there will be a web form, in which you enter details like name, address, a unique ID, a membership, a registration date, and so on. Then, a confirmation page, which shows the details that were submitted to the database. Then, you can click a button which takes you to a page which lists all the users in the database. There will also be a user removal form.

    And this is pretty much it.

    I'll look later when I get home into database altering systems.
  6. memco macrumors 6502

    May 1, 2008
    SQL should handle large amounts of data better than Access. This may not actually affect you all that much because "large amounts of data" is hundreds of thousands+ rows. In any case, the app shouldn't be all that slow.

    One thing you may want to do is stress test the system by adding many more users than you anticipate needing and see how that affects the system. Doing this may show you places where the system is bottlenecking, which should give you ideas on where you can optimize your code.
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
  8. Not Available thread starter Guest

    Jun 30, 2009
    Well... I do suspect that the desktop application I'm talking about is poorly written, but I don't know enough desktop programming in order to connect to a databse, so all I can do is write a web one which hopefully will be better.

    I'm saying "large amounts of data" for an old desktop PC, not a server machine, dedicated to this :)

    I think I will simulate with 10.000+ persons on my application, see how it handles it.

    Thanks for all your responses, it's been very helpful!
  9. savar macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2003
    District of Columbia

    *Questions like this are loaded. There are obviously a lot of factors involved, so it's impossible to deliver a straight answer. But comparing a decade-old PC to a brand-spanking-new Mac will obviously not be a fair performance test.
  10. Not Available thread starter Guest

    Jun 30, 2009
    Well... on my Mac, everything runs lovely. The 10.000-user database loads instantaneously. A 500.000 does knee it, though (tested by a bug in the script, used WHILE without incrementing :) ).

    I think I'm going to take a different approach, though. I won't load the database on the page, as no one ever looks at it. Instead, I will create a form, and only return a page with the information needed.

    Anyway, this's got me intrigued, so I will look into database tuning and try make it load as fast as possible.

    Tomorrow I will run the test on the end-machine as well :)

    One decade later...
    I've implemented the search feature, got rid of the old system. I think it is going to run instantaneously on the PC as well.

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