Last Updated: March 19, 2024
Desktop Application Development
Published On: January 11, 2024

Summary: Developing a desktop app for your business creates a win-win situation in various ways be it prevention from data breaches, or making operations flawless. Here, in this post, we have covered everything to inform you.

The demand for desktop applications is growing by leaps and bounds of late as it plays a leading role in making businesses successful by letting them make their operation flawless, secure, and efficient. These apps minimize the risk of data breaches and cyber-attacks.

This is the reason why the trend of desktop application development is climbing up. Getting a desktop application for your business ensures its fast growth and helps you get the most out of it. So, if you are planning to develop desktop apps for your business, you are in the right place.

What is a Desktop Application?

A desktop application is software that functions only on desktops and laptops. It’s different from a web app that needs internet connectivity to function. The desktop app functions independently and harnesses the resources of systems.

Desktop applications are installed on general users’ devices and provide a rich and fully interactive user interface. Desktop apps can be platform-specific and developed for different operating systems including Windows, Linux, macOS, and others.

Desktop apps include the capability of offering a highly responsive and seamless experience. They can function offline by delivering fast performance.

What is Desktop Application Development?

The process of creating software specifically for desktop computers is termed desktop application development. Developers use a variety of programming languages, such as Java, HTML, CSS, C#, C++, Python, PHP, SQL, and many more, to deliver a user experience with customized functions.

The choice of a language highly depends on the specific requirements of the target platform and the requirements of the application. Since these applications run only on computer operating systems, most of them are native.

However, if an organization is looking to build a cross-platform desktop application, it can utilize Universal Windows Platform (UWP) and ElectronJS to provide browsing convenience to users.

Since the software can run only after downloading, it can access various devices’ drivers. For example, a web app playing sound in your preferred browser is the result of it being run on a desktop app.

Ideal use cases for desktop applications are when your users might not have a reliable internet connection. For example, software for on-field workers. The native nature of desktop applications makes them a smarter choice to outrank web applications with more speed and responsiveness.

How Does Desktop App Work?

As mentioned, desktop applications are designed mainly to run on users’ devices be it desktops or laptops, and offer an efficient and dedicated user experience. These applications are installed mainly on the system’s hard drive, which enables users to access multiple features and functionalities even without constant internet connectivity.

Desktop applications can leverage the storage and processing power of computers and deliver offline accessibility and fast performance. These apps can interact with various installed software, and operating systems, utilizing graphical UI for user interaction.

Updates and maintenance are generally managed by several users while ensuring full control over the app’s environment. From entertainment to productivity tools, these apps have different categories.

Types of Desktop Applications

There are different types of desktop applications. Each application serves its distinct purpose be it productivity, entertainment, or communication.

Here are some of the top categories of desktop applications:

1. Productivity Applications

Productivity apps are designed mainly to assist users in accomplishing their tasks with quiet efficiency. These tools serve multiple purposes including data analysis, document creation, presentation development, and more.

Some of the popular productivity apps include Google Workspace, Microsoft Office Suite, and Adobe Acrobat.

2. Communication and Collaboration Tools

Desktop apps for collaboration and transmission are crucial for transparent communication and ensure seamless teamwork. These apps bring the possibility of remote work and also global collaborations.

Some of the top-rated communication and collaboration desktop apps include Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and many others that offer real-time communication, video conferencing, and file sharing.

3. Graphic Design and Multimedia Software

Professionals who have expertise in multimedia and designing work generally rely on many specialized desktop apps for their creative work. The reason is these apps encourage them to create stunning illustrations, graphics, or multimedia content and thus help them exhibit their skills properly.

Some of the popular graphic design and multimedia software include Photoshop, Adobe Creative Cloud, Premium Pro, and Illustrator.

4. Accounting and Finance Applications

Most people and businesses use desktop apps for accounting and financial management. These tools are also useful when it comes to maintaining financial records with accuracy and also ensure better compliance.

5. Web Browsers

Web browsers are associated mainly with certain online activities, they are necessary desktop browser that helps users to access the internet. These popular apps including Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and more provide users with complete access to the internet, which enables them to browse websites, perform various online tasks, and conduct research.

6. Games and Entertainment Software

The majority of gaming lovers of late rely on desktop apps for entertainment. These apps offer a complete seamless experience when playing games and music. The most popular games and entertainment apps for desktops include Blizzard Battle.net, Epic Games Launcher, Steam, and more.

Desktop Apps vs Mobile Apps vs Web Apps 

Features Desktop Apps Mobile Apps Web Apps
Performance  Fast Moderate Based on network speed
Platform macOS, Windows, Linux iOS, Android Cross-Platform
Offline Functionality Yes Limited Depending on cache
User Interface Created for larger screens Optimized for small screens Responsive design
Updates Automatic or manual Automatic Quick updates
Access Installed on users’ system Installed on mobile devices Access through browsers
Storage Access to system storage Limited  Limited

Steps to Build a Desktop App

Developing desktop applications requires several steps. Every step plays a crucial role in the overall development lifecycle.

Let’s explore all the required steps for creating desktop apps:

1. Planning and Requirements Gathering

The first phase is necessary for determining the goals, scope, and requirements of desktop apps. This phase requires developers to engage with stakeholders to get complete details about user expectations, specifications, and any existing systems constraints.

The development team needs to outline the purpose clearly. Apart from this, the development team also gets details about the target audience, features, etc. They create a project timeline, and budget, and allocate resources.

2. Designing the User Interface (UI)

After gathering the requirements, the development team then proceeds to design the user interface. To create the design of the desktop apps, designers create a visually appealing and user-friendly interface while keeping in mind several other factors including navigation, workflows, and aesthetics. Designers create a mockup and wireframe to visualize the layout.

3. Development and Coding

The development phase of the desktop app involves converting the design into a fully functional application through coding. Developers choose an appropriate framework and programming language based on the project requirements. Developers break down the development process into different tasks and perform it accordingly.

4. Testing and Quality Assurance

Quality assurance is something that is one of the most crucial parts of the desktop app development cycle. QA professionals perform testing of newly developed apps by conducting thorough testing at different levels including integration testing, unit testing, and system testing. QA professionals check bugs, validate apps, cross-platform compatibility, etc.

5. Deployment and Maintenance

After testing the desktop apps thoroughly, the development team finally creates a plan to deploy desktop apps by selecting a reliable method & plan for installation and configuration

They create documentation to offer proper guidance to users for a thorough installation process. They also provide continuous maintenance to address various issues, release updates, and improve features based on the client’s feedback.

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Tools and Technologies Used for Creating Desktop Applications 

While building desktop applications, developers get a variety of libraries and frameworks, which are available with unique features and benefits. Take a glimpse of some of the most common technologies developers leverage most frequently: 

1. Electron

Electron is one of the popular cross-platform frameworks that allow developers to create desktop apps with the use of web technologies including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

With the framework, developers can create apps that run seamlessly on multiple operating systems including macOS, Windows, and Linux, which offers a fully consistent user experience across multiple operating systems.

2. Qt

Being a C++ framework, Qt is available with a complete set of tools and libraries for crafting user interfaces and allows developers to handle other necessary tasks including networking & database access.

Qt apps can function on different platforms even without a major change, while offering a consistent feel and look. It includes Qt Creator, which is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that can simplify the entire process of app development.

3. JavaFX

Being a Java library, JavaFX is used for developing rich client apps with visually appealing UIs. It offers a complete set of APIs for creating GUI components, multimedia content, and animations. JavaFX apps can function on different operating systems including macOS, Windows, and Linux.

4. WinForms (Windows Forms)

WinForms is mainly used for creating Windows desktop apps through languages including Visual Basic and C#. It’s used for designing GUI components through a drag-and-drop interface and thus makes it convenient for developers to build Windows apps with a complete native look and feel.

5. GTK (GIMP Toolkit)

Being a cross-platform toolkit for developing graphical user interfaces, GTK is one of the popular choices for developing a range of desktop apps. It supports a range of programming languages including Python, C++, and C. Desktop apps developed on GTK function on multiple operating systems.

Benefits of Desktop App Development

Desktop applications provide plenty of advantages to match diverse needs. Let’s have a look at some of the most promising benefits of desktop apps that make them the most prominent choice among businesses:

1. Enhanced Performance

These apps are primarily optimized to function seamlessly on the users’ systems, which leads to fast execution of tasks, minimized load times, and overall smooth user experience. Many high-performance desktop applications are specifically advantageous for resource-intensive tasks including video editing, graphic design, and also complicated calculations.

2. Offline Accessibility

Desktop applications don’t need constant internet to function. It can function independently even without the internet. This is one of the important scenarios where users generally work in environments with limited or even without internet connectivity.

Offline accessibility of desktop applications ensures uninterrupted productivity, which makes desktop apps a perfect choice for professionals who work in diverse settings in areas with unreliable internet connections.

3. Seamless User Experience

Desktop apps can leverage the native capabilities of the operating system, which helps it provide a seamless user experience. These applications can be integrated with user interface guidelines of the respective platforms be it macOS, Windows, or Linux.

Besides, desktop apps also can harness the benefits of graphical features, which provide a highly engaging user experience.

4. System Integration

System integration is another major advantage of desktop apps, which ensures seamless communication between these applications and other software & hardware components, which also improves overall system functionality.

The integration of desktop apps with file systems, peripherals, and system APIs provides a fully comprehensive and also tailored experience.

5. Robust Security

Desktop apps provide a fully secure environment for users. Since they have the capability of functioning offline, desktop applications have limited exposure to external threats and thus minimize the risk of security breaches.

Be it access controls, encryption, or regular updates, developers get complete control over security measures that they implement in desktop apps.

6. Customization Capabilities

Desktop apps include endless customization options, which enable developers to create user experiences to match certain specific requirements. Its flexibility extends to the functionality, user interface, and also integration with other software.

Users often get the option to personalize layout and preferences, which creates a personalized environment that can align perfectly with the workflow.

7. Resource Optimization

Desktop applications have the capability of streamlining processes by utilizing local resources. As a result, it offers faster response times, smooth performance, and minimized latency.

Resource optimization is specifically advantageous for users with limited systems resources, which ensures the apps run smoothly even in situations of less powerful computing environments.

Cost to Build Desktop App

The cost of building a desktop application depends on the type of app you wish to develop. If you want to build a basic or simple desktop app, it may cost around $10,000.

Meanwhile, for building feature-rich and also more complex desktop applications, you may need to spend approximately $100,000.

Besides, you need to understand the cost to build a desktop application also varies on several factors including desired features, complexity of apps, strength of development team, hourly rates, platform compatibility, and more.

Apart from this, desktop software development also needs some additional expenses for designing, testing, choice of technology, ongoing maintenance, and more.

How Does Moon Technolabs Assist You with Desktop Application Development?

Building a desktop application is a decisive step and also a great option for investment. You need to proceed with the right approach and a systematic plan to develop your desktop apps.

Make sure you are aware of the actual needs and purposes of creating these applications. It’s advisable to always hire a professional desktop application development company to work on your project.

Moon Technolabs provides comprehensive desktop app development solutions tailored to match your specific business needs. We specialize in creating Windows-based desktop applications by implementing cutting-edge technologies and agile methodologies to ensure the end product delivers high performance.

We have a group of versatile developers who have proficiency in developing platform-specific apps and cross-platform desktop applications by including cutting-edge features, functionalities, etc.

FAQs

Yes, desktop applications are still relevant for offering a plethora of advantages including improved performance, offline functionality, integration with system resources, and more.

Well, the selection of the platform to create desktop apps depends on several factors. For instance, if you wish to create a robust desktop app with cross-platform compatibility, you need to opt for Electron. You can select Qt for developing a performance-centric app. For creating platform-specific desktop apps, you can either opt for UWP for Windows or Swift for macOS.

The three most common types of desktop apps include productivity apps, entertainment apps, and utility apps. These applications are highly popular among users for catering to their diverse needs and preferences.

Yes, C# is a perfect choice for desktop app development. Being a powerful programming language, C# boasts multiple features, extensive libraries, and seamless integration with the .NET framework. Apart from this, C# ensures support for a range of apps be it simple applications to enterprise-level applications.
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Jayanti Katariya

Jayanti Katariya is the CEO of Moon Technolabs, a fast-growing IT solutions provider, with 18+ years of experience in the industry. Passionate about developing creative apps from a young age, he pursued an engineering degree to further this interest. Under his leadership, Moon Technolabs has helped numerous brands establish their online presence and he has also launched an invoicing software that assists businesses to streamline their financial operations.

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