The Rise of Browser-Based Applications in Today’s Mobile and Remote Workforce
The Start of Browser-Based Apps
The concept of a “web application” began with the earliest CGI-powered web pages as far back as 1993, soon followed by PHP and other technologies that (very often) presented a web front end to a back-end database, with a browser-based workflow for user interaction. With this trend, the browser started to become the universal client for data access, and early movers like salesforce.com (beginning in 1999) showed that the traditional path of developing and installing a native client application was no longer required.
The first web applications were based on static web pages, and all data input resulted in a page refresh, but the Microsoft Outlook Web Access team showed that AJAX (1999) could bring true interactivity to web pages and provide functionality much more like that of native applications, and a new wave of web applications began to replace traditional native desktop apps providing flexibility to how and where users were productive.
Twenty-one years later, native apps are still essential for resource-intense applications—the most extreme examples being CAD/CAM, video editing, audio design, high-end gaming. Although even in these scenarios, SaaS browser technology continues to advance and take on more and more of these tasks supporting the ever growing mobile and remote workforce.
New Challenges with Browser-Based Apps
So, with this nirvana state of the browser being the ultimate universal client for mobile and remote business productivity and data access, and the advance of “web applications” replacing traditional native applications, doesn’t that solve the challenges of managing applications on the endpoint?
Unfortunately, no. And this is where Avanite, working together with Ivanti, comes in. There are two main problems:
- Almost all enterprises have a mix of physical and virtual desktops, to reduce the cost of ownership of Windows devices by centralizing management and upgrades, especially for task-based workers. Web browsers are designed for physical desktops and consume a lot of resource and waste a lot of storage space in virtual desktop infrastructure, leading to a very downgraded user experience whether in-office, mobile or remote.
- Each web browser on the market—Chrome, Edge, Firefox, New Edge, Internet Explorer—behaves a little differently and some web applications only behave correctly on one of them. In addition, some users prefer the features and user experience in a particular browser and will often want or require multiple browsers on their desktop to do their job. Not only does this increase resource consumption, but it degrades the user experience when each browser has its own sets of shortcuts, cookies and other productivity features.
Managing Today’s Browser-Based Apps
When Ivanti Environment Manager and Avanite Web Data Control are used in conjunction, they provide a complete solution for an optimized mobile and remote user experience in a multi browser environment across all desktops, physical and virtual. Environment Manager delivers the deep control and context-awareness to deliver a personal consistent experience for each user, while WebData Control optimizes the browser environment to reduce logon times, storage costs, and synchronize productivity settings between different browsers.
Avanite Web Data Control is an Ivanti One certified solution in the Ivanti Marketplace.