Difference Between Desktop Application Testing and Web Testing

Users use many applications these days. Some can be accessed online while others are installed on the user’s computer. While the former are web-based, the latter fall under the category of desktop applications.

Both have their own operating systems, but there are many differences between them. Some groups consider one to be better than the other.

Let’s first briefly define each one. Then, let us discuss in detail what makes them different in certifying their quality.

Desktop App – A desktop application is a program that can be run on a laptop or personal computer. It is a standalone program that doesn’t require internet connectivity to function and it isn’t affected by network delays. MS-Word and Adobe Acrobat Reader are just a few examples of desktop programs.

Web Application A web application is an application program that is stored on a remote server. It can be accessed via a browser interface over the internet. These types of applications can only work if the Internet is available. Performance problems can be caused by network issues.

These are some of the advantages of web apps over desktop programs –

1. Web applications can be accessed via a browser. Developers don’t need to develop apps for different platforms.

An application that runs on Chrome will work on Linux and Windows, for example. All users have the ability to update the application from a remote server.

2. Web applications are more consistent in providing a user interface across platforms than desktop OSes, which is why they work better.

3. Web applications store and process data on a remote server that can be accessed easily by remote users. This is an alternative to heavy file transfers across multiple computers.

Now that we have a good understanding of the differences between desktop and web apps, let’s look at their main differences in terms parameters and how they impact how each one is tested.

Desktop Application Testing vs Web Application Testing

ParametersDesktop Application TestWeb Application Testing
EnvironmentDesktop Applications are platform dependent and can only be deployed on the machine they were created.Web Application Testing is done with an application that has been deployed to a server and can be accessed from other computers using a browser.
PlatformDifferent platforms require different desktop applications.Web Applications are platform-independent, hence they can run on multiple platforms without needing a separate development altogether.
Deployment/UpgradesEach client machine must be used for deployment or code upgrades.Only one set of servers can be used for deployment or patch upgrades.
SecurityDesktop applications are, however, better equipped for authorization and administration control, and therefore more secure. Security testing can therefore be skipped or performed at a trivial level.Because web applications are accessible to a large audience, they are more vulnerable to security threats. Due to its wide exposure to a large audience, security testing is an important part of desktop application testing.
Data StorageAll data for desktop applications are stored on the machine where the application is installed.Web applications store data remotely and can be accessed remotely by personal laptops using a web browser and internet connectivity.
Types of tests performedGUI Functionality Load backendUser Interface TestingLoad, Stress, Volume Browser/OS CompatibilitySecurityData Volume testing cross Browser testing static page testingBroken Link Testing
ArchitectureThe architecture of desktop applications is single-tier. This means that the application under test runs only on one computer. These applications do not have a client or server.Web applications can be run on two or more computers thanks to a tier architecture. These architectures have clients and server.
ConnectivityBecause desktop applications are only hosted on user’s machines, they don’t need internet connectivity. These applications are not subject to internet connectivity tests.To ensure that web applications function properly, they need internet connectivity. Internet connectivity tests are necessary to verify the application’s performance at different speeds.
AccessibilityDesktop applications can only be accessed via the machines where they were installed. The user would then need to test all features of the application on the machine it is installed.Web applications are not restricted by location. They can be accessed anywhere, and they don’t require any restrictions. Different users should test the application under testing from different computers at different locations.
Number of usersOne user can test the desktop application on one machine at a time.Multiple users can simultaneously access web applications via the internet and browsers.

In summary, a desktop app should only be tested in an environment. Test desktop applications for usability, functionality and load.

It is crucial to test the Web application for functionality and compatibility across all operating systems and browsers when testing. Test web applications for usability, accessibility, security, performance and compatibility.