Software application development began with desktop applications, which could be used on standalone machines only. However, with the advent of internet and online commerce, web application development gained importance. Word processors and media players can be considered to be typical desktop applications.
Desktop application means any software that can be installed on a single computer (laptop or a desktop) and used to perform specific tasks. Some desktop applications can also be used by multiple users in a networked environment. Web application development, however, soon started replacing desktop applications for reasons of portability and better functions from usability point of view. This is one of the reasons why web applications are so widely getting popular. Though web applications offer a slight advantage over desktop applications, there is a very narrow chance of desktop applications becoming outdated. The primary reason for this could be the security issues and legalities associated with web based applications.
Desktop applications are confined to a physical location and hence have usability constraint. You can have a total control over the standalone applications and protect it from various vulnerabilities. Desktop applications are standalone in nature and hence do not face any hindrances resulting from Internet connectivity. Desktop applications are purchased one time and there are not continually occurring charges. However, in certain cases, maintenance fees may be charged.