Why I Hate WebApps

I have avoided deep diving web application development for a long time because the segment undergoes a lot of technological churn for really nothing.  IHMO web applications are better now than 10 years ago but they still do not rival the stability, performance, and usability of desktop applications.  In short Web 2.0 is a flop if you base your conclusion on widely available web applications. It’s hard to write a web application and get it right.  Right today, may not be right tomorrow since you have no control over the vehicle on which you’re hitching a ride; namely the browser. 

I was reminded of this again today when NoFrills redirected me to their flyer page in an email.  The page asked me to enter a postal code even though I was automatically logged into my profile and my preferred store was shown in the upper right.  I might have dismissed that, except the postal code entry control flashed on the page and disappeared.  You might think it was my browser, but I am using the latest FireFox and it did the same thing under Chrome.

I bank with TD Canada and their website often displays an error message after I log in.  If I login again, it is always successful, just the first time I quite often get the following error:

I needed to install CodeSite 5.2.2 so I could compile hcOPF under D7 and the EMBT portal provided the binary installer, but there was no corresponding serial under my registered products (who needs data integrity anyway).  So I decided to contact support, and went to their web page and chose the product and got an animated response. You may notice the disclaimer in white with a red background saying use another browser if you have issues with FireFox. I guess fixing it so it works in the remaining two browsers is too hard.

So if a basic entry form is too difficult to get right in 2020, I don’t think the web has progressed all that much since the 90s. Mind you the 90s rocked! Hopefully the 2020s will be better on all fronts despite the horrific beginnings.

6 Responses to “Why I Hate WebApps”

  1. C Johnson Says:

    Have you gone looking for work lately? You might think it is the web that is flopped, but try finding a job that actually requires Delphi programming skills. It is pretty much all C++, C#, Java, Python, and webwork over all of it.

  2. Hoppy Package Says:


    One of the biggest problems IT ever had to face is too much computing time available in order to build things no one really needs.

    Ever since the Mailüfterl has been invented things got worse. Ask anyone who came in touch with IT over the last decades, they will confirm.

    Having to support different web browsers has always been a crucial point for successful web applications. Most simply fail to support the Lynx. It’s a simple as that.

    People lost the focus on information and simply enjoy distraction they were made used too over the year and will do for many decades to come. But it’s their problem and not ours. Indeed from the time around 2k until today web technologies became mature and when this happens the spirit tends to go away quickly.

    The web has never been about anything but documents and these documents can simply be kept up to date and distributed in real time. It’s hard to compete for a Big Mama like Delphi to compete with an Egyptian princess which is nowadays the beau ideal. So it’s no surprise that papyrus is still highly coveted.

    With the help of Javascript web designers have been put in the position to bump their declining incomes, which was the driving force behind the current evolution in the beginning at least. For the web artists an ever greater opportunity arose to widen their skills for new market.

    From a technical perspective I totally tend to agree with you, but who cares about such things anyway.

    The Web 2.0 evolved into the one last place on Earth where the Wild West still matters. That’s what’s so great about it. You laws, your rules or none, plain simple anarchy.

    The web has always been a playground for people loving to enjoy an everlasting childhood. In order to achieve something similar on a PC with an application you need to have Delphi installed ready to use.

    Apart from the great web frameworks available today, I think what has been described in the last two paragraphs is what the Web and Delphi do have in common. That’s even more great.

    Greetings from Ada Rocks and a Happy New Year!
    Hippy & Hoppy

  3. Steve Jordi Says:

    Totally agree.
    That’s why I always say “there is no web apps, there are web portals, web pages, but apps?”
    Something that works all the time, that doesn’t change overnight without warning, menus displayed only when clicking on them, controls always at the same place, lean, efficient (Delphi,C,C++, anything compiled).
    Not “recompiled” or managed on the fly each time you launch it (.NET, Java, PHP, etc..), recompiled to something that is someone else’s code, not yours if you have to debug it.
    I work in real time data acquisition, processing and representation. Impossible in Java and the likes. Ok, it’s a niche market but still… that says a lot. And I agree, you don’t need speed on a web site.
    I think those are two different worlds, like a dermatologist and a cardiologist. Both are doctors, but they don’t do the same thing.
    Both are useful. But different.

    And being webwork over all of it is also a trend. You’re seen as a has-been if not “programming for the web”. I totally disagree.


  4. Roland Bengtsson Says:

    Well even if we don’t actively seek now my employer use Delphi and we have too much workload. So there is Delphi related jobs!

  5. SilverWarior Says:

    It is not the problem that web has not progressed that much. The problem is that web has progressed to much in a short time.

    For instance if you make a desktop application today you can be pretty sure that such application will still work five or even ten years from now.
    But when you make web application today there is no guarantee that this web application will work as intended after one or two years from now due to rapid changes of the web. Oh and don’t even try to expect your web application to work after five or ten years.

    It is no wonder there is such a big demand for WEB developers if you basically need to rewrite your entire web application every few years just to keep it compatible with modern browsers. Not to mention that there are many more browsers that you need to make your WebApp compatible with.

    Now what I have the most about WebApps is the overall design that states that everything should be processed on server. Why is this bad? Because in many times it means that you are sending same information back and forth to the server multiple times.
    Want example? Lets say you decided to go and upload one of your picture to Facebook or any other social media platform. So you open the upload picture form and click on button that will show open dialog with which you chose your picture. After confirming the open dialog your chosen picture is sent to the server. And just after it is uploaded to the server web page is refreshed and server sends back either copy of your original image or a preview embedded in a web page so you can confirm that you have uploaded right image.

    Oh and don’t get me started on problems caused by network related issues like simply just waiting for information to travel to the server and back to you so you can continue your work.
    Or perhaps even worse thing is your session expiring just before make your next action. Here is an example:
    Go visit Embarcadero forum. Find an interesting question. Spend 20 to 30 minutes for writing an in-depth answer. Click on send/post and you will either get a 500 internal error or message that you need to login first before posting. In either case you lose all of your carefully written text for your answer. So now you have to do the same work again and hope that you are now fast enough. Well since I’m not fast writer I often run out of time before i finish writing ma answer. And because of that you won’t see me posting on Embarcadero forums since it is just to much hassle.

  6. Larry Hengen Says:

    @C Johnson,

    Unfortunately the public availability of jobs for Delphi developers has been on the decline for sometime. Part of this is due to the massive shift to web and mobile development, and part to the history of Delphi and the subsequent rise of C#, Swift, and Java. There is however a hidden job market as Roland pointed out, in which it is still possible to find employment in, given the right contacts and timing. As they say, sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know.

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