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Web Application != Desktop Application

Just another thing to add to the pet-peeve list in my life as a tech-support guy: Folks who think that stuff they do within their Web browser is wholly my responsibility.

The reality is that more and more applications that used have a desktop program that interfaced with remote servers are now just strictly going Web based (mostly MSIE-only, but that's another rant for another time). I work part-time for a real estate office in the area, and the good majority of what they do is Web-based: MLS, e-mail, Crest, various marketing Web site updates, contact management, etc... . Being all Web-based is nice as it makes it so I don't have to support a bunch of desktop applications and just have to keep the browser functional. The problem is that people still think with a desktop application mindset, so when they get a server error or an ASP error of some sort (many of these apps are ASP or some ASP-variant like ASP.net), they freak out, and think that it's my fault and that I can magically fix it. I'll get panicky folks running into my office, saying they need me right away, and then I walk over, notice it's in the browser, and tell them to a) try it again, and b) if it doesn't work, call their support hotline. That's why you pay these companies all that money so that you can call and yell at them, but I can't fix a problem that I have absolutely no control over (especially on an application I've never used on a server I don't have access to). Just read them the error on screen, and they'll be able to help you far quicker than I ever could.

And as these applications become more and more like applications and less like Web pages, it's going to be harder and harder for people to be able to tell the difference between a desktop and Web application (especially in web apps that hide the address bar). I just keep telling people: If you see the MSIE blue "e" icon in the upper corner of the Window, it's probably not something I can help you with.


Posted by Jake on 04/22/07 @ 12:48 PM
Posted in Geekdom, Rants | Permalink

2 Trackbacks

"No, your episodes of 'Prison Break' can not be stored on the file server." from UtterlyBoring.com on 04/24/07 @ 05:33 PM:
This has been a long few days. First, I had the folks who were getting all miffed at me because I couldn't help them with their web-based application, and now... (Read More)

I've Said It Once, and I'll Say It Again... from UtterlyBoring.com on 08/09/09 @ 10:25 PM:
...I do not control the entire Internet. Contrary to the popular belief of some of the folks I deal with on a daily basis (but don't actually work for), if... (Read More)

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