Today I had a client on the phone and talked about the coming REAL Studio Web Edition. He didn't think about having any use for the Web Edition, but I quickly found a few ideas to give him:
Basicly any application that displays database records could be turned into a web app. You login and view the contents of a database. Whether it's your sales, some website statistics or a bug database. Thinking about the bug database, REAL Software could turn the Feedback application into a web app. Probably not with the 1.0 as Feedback needs to have implemented some new HTML features like file drag & drop. And a solution on how to upload those files in the background. Next you could write an online shop using the web edition. Any application querying and filling a database could be a web app.
I see a market for creating business software. I made a couple of applications for organizing stores, taking orders and writing invoices over the last years and those applications can run in the web. We can take orders with a simple order app which inserts data into the database. For creating invoices we either have a link on the webapp to the PDF for opening in the browser or download. Or we have a button for printing where the server will print the invoice on a selected printer. For the user it will make no difference if the invoice is printed on his computer or the server prints it on a printer next to the user's computer.
Okay, all those examples are basicly web apps with a database. But that is what most developers code in REAL Studio anyway. And with the web apps we would have a very simply installation. Our apps are multi user, multi core and cross platform instantly. We could deploy our app with a little Mac mini or a cheaper linux box. And as its a binary, we can easily charge for it.
There are a couple of limits to web apps. For example accessing the local file system is not an option. We can offer downloads and uploads, but we can't do things without the user doing it. Access to hardware like a barcode scanner is also not possible. But for this we could of course create a simple utility in REAL Studio directly which uploads data to a database. Imaging this: Our little utility app is running in the background and connected to the barcode scanner. The user takes the barcode scanner and scans an EAN. Our utility app launches the browser to show the page of our web app with a special URL including the EAN code. Splitting this into two apps, the hardware access app and the web app makes some extra work, but as I recently worked on an application with 4 completely different measurement devices to control, having it split into 4 measurement apps would make the application much less complex and easier to maintain.
What would you do with the web edition?