Desktop to web migration: everything you need to know

Iryna Hnatiuk


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March 3, 2024


time icon 8 minutes read


Web solutions were far behind desktop programs in the market for software development. But when internet access became common, web apps gained traction and eventually dominated the industry.

What distinguishes a web application from a desktop program? A web application is a piece of software that is launched in a web browser and is kept on a distant server. In a nutshell, web applications instantly create web pages for users after requesting the data from a server.

It’s also crucial to recognize the distinction between web apps and websites. Web apps are dynamic and interactive, in contrast to static layouts used by most regular websites. They let users interact with the interface’s components and make changes in addition to seeing the content.

A desktop application, on the other hand, is a program that is installed on a computer (laptop or PC). It is accessible online for download and installation via data storage services. Desktop apps function as standalone programs, which enables offline use and eliminates the need for an internet connection or web browser.

Even if desktop and online programs seem to have identical features on the surface, there are fundamental differences between them.

Why migrate from desktop to web?

A large number of companies in a wide range of sectors have begun migrating to web applications due to the numerous advantages they provide. Let’s think about the main causes of why businesses adopt online apps.

1. Accessibility any time from anywhere

Want to review a file you created a while ago but can’t access it because you’re not at the office? You may rely on web apps to help you out.

In contrast, files created in a desktop or offline app can only be seen on the computer where the software is installed. However, if you utilize a web application for the same thing, you’ll have access to your documents no matter where you happen to be.

2. No trouble with updating

How often do you find yourself needing to update a desktop program? Although it doesn’t happen as frequently as it formerly did (thanks to automated updates), some desktop software may still occasionally need a manual upgrade. Using a web app eliminates the need for this, saving you time and effort in the long run.

3. No special hardware or software needed

When it comes to computers, most companies stick to the bare minimum because all they really need them for is processing documents. Thus, there are plenty of users who don’t have access to high-quality laptops or desktop computers capable of running all programs. This can be really frustrating if the service they enjoy uses an offline program that their computer has trouble running. As an added bonus, web apps have no strict system requirements. You only need access to the internet; some are even made to function with less-than-ideal connections.

4. Increased cost-efficiency

Desktop or offline programs are typically thought of as one-time purchases. Photoshop is only one example of many other expensive software packages that are necessary for creative projects.

On the other hand, web apps are paid for on a recurring basis. You can purchase a week’s worth of access to a web app if you require it for a singular task or a limited time period. In contrast, it’s easy to waste money on a pricey desktop program that you’ll only use a handful of times before leaving it. So, it’s actually cheaper to use web-based applications.

Preparation for moving to web

Like any big transition, migration from the desktop to the web starts with thorough preparation. Learn what you need to complete during this phase below.

Legacy system evaluation and audit

The first step in migrating to the cloud is gaining an in-depth knowledge of your company’s current infrastructure. Making a list of your current hardware and software will be helpful. Determine whether or not each program can run on the cloud without modification. You’ll also uncover certain apps that don’t warrant the effort and expense of a migration since they add little to no value to the organization overall. Find the interconnected systems and monitor their interdependencies.


After an audit is complete, it’s time to assess your company’s infrastructure in preparation for a seamless transition to the web. Identify the internal and external systems that will be compatible with the new product. You should always aim for a comprehensive, long-term solution. If not, moving would be pointless. It implies that the service must be cross-browser and function flawlessly on all platforms.

Choosing technology stack

The key step in successfully planning any endeavor is determining the scope of your project, in particular, what data and processes will be included. In this phase, you also break the scope down into manageable chunks and plan your approach. Consider how you will migrate data and processes, and in what order. By outlining a detailed plan and establishing reasonable goals, you are laying a solid foundation. Besides, assess risk that might prevent you from completing the migration successfully

Choosing technology stack

The process of software migration from desktop to web

Migrating to cloud

To successfully move your applications and data to the cloud, you’ll need a well-thought-out plan. The optimal technique must be selected after a comprehensive analysis of your present hardware and software conditions, the identification of any pain areas, and the specification of your intended goals.

Your company’s performance may not improve at all, and you may even lose money or suffer reputational harm if you don’t carefully choose a migration model.

Rehosting approach

This approach, sometimes known as “lift and shift,” is the cheapest and needs the least amount of work to implement. Minimal modifications are made to your programs and databases as they are transferred from on-premise to cloud servers.

Rehosting is a suitable cloud migration strategy for businesses who are just getting started. This is a fantastic entry point for those who want to test the waters of cloud computing but aren’t quite ready to commit. If neither your software nor your data is prepared for cloud services, you may not reap the full benefits of the switch.

Rehosting is a great solution if you’re short on time yet definitely need to move your software to the cloud. What’s more, because there are no code modifications, development and testing costs may be avoided.

Replatforming approach

Since replatforming allows a business to take advantage of the cloud’s numerous benefits without breaking the bank, it is often viewed as offering the best cost-benefit ratio of any model.

Replatformed apps and data repositories make more efficient use of cloud services because of modifications to their code or architecture. Since the necessary adjustments for the migration are minimal, you don’t have to wait too long. Implementation expenses will be modest since just a minimal effort from IT specialists will be needed.

Code refactoring

With refactoring, large structural changes may be made to the code without impacting the way it works. Naturally, this technique necessitates experience in software development.

Refactoring is a time-consuming process, but the benefits of moving software to the cloud outweigh the drawbacks. You will receive a solution that is both stable and completely functional. Both the software and data parts are optimized for the cloud, so you can use all the services to their maximum potential.

Software that has been refactored to meet cloud requirements produces a marketable end result and benefits an organization for the long term. You will benefit from improved performance, scalability, strong security, and the freedom to add new features at will.

The process of software migration from desktop to web

Our expertise and success stories

The hardware requirements of the device on which desktop software operate place limitations on the functionality of those apps. On the other hand, a web app can be used by anybody with the internet access. And that was essential for our client from New Zealand – Calxa, a leading provider of budgeting and cash flow forecasting software.

Calxa needed to ensure their software is available to all potential customers, regardless of their platform or device. We worked closely with them to create a web-based version of the software, allowing users to access budgeting and forecasting tools from any device through a web browser.

To make it web-ready, our engineers refactored the code and prepared the system for cloud hosting. After migrating to the cloud, we tested the web version for compatibility with popular browsers and devices, added new features, and revamped interface.

So, if you need to move from desktop web, our developers are well-equipped to handle the task. We ensure the migration process is done correctly, with no disruption to your current services. Our team understands the importance of data and takes all necessary steps to provide secure and smooth transition.

Get in touch today – we are ready to tell you more about the process and answer your questions.

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