Cloud Apps vs. Web Apps

Posted by Ben Shin on Oct 23, 2014 10:09:41 AM

By Amy Schmidt

Ortho2_Cloud_Logo-1

I recently read an article about the differences between Cloud Apps and Web Apps. For the purposes of this post, I want to make it clear that both connect to the cloud. The cloud is the storage mechanism, the app or browser is the method of access. Cloud Apps access online services over the Internet, but are not exclusively dependent on a browser to work. Web Apps on the other hand are almost exclusively designed for web browsers. This article described Cloud Apps as evolved Web Apps. While both access data remotely, i.e. through the cloud, Cloud Apps provide a truly optimized solution for online services.

When Ortho2 Edge was in its inception we looked at a web-based solution as well. After a lot of discussion, we decided that the Cloud App would allow us to do a lot of things that browser based cloud access would limit. I think we made the right decision. The cloud is fantastic for accessibility as well as reducing hardware cost and networking complexity. And Cloud Apps allow for a lot more consistency, rich feature utilization, and third-party integrations to things like digital x-ray machines. But from a design standpoint cloud data storage also presents unique challenges. One example is dealing with very large files, like high-quality images. Even with a fast Internet connection, they just take some time to upload and download. You might hear other companies talk about instantaneous file transfer, including large image files, but c’mon, instantaneous is a magic buzzword. Nothing in terms of large file data transmissions are instantaneous. When you deal with the realities of orthodontics, you’re going to need high res images for your treatment and diagnosis. Therefore you need a practical method for meeting speed with function.

This is a case where a cloud-only approach can negatively impact the user experience. Say you capture an image in one area of your office, but wish to quickly review it in another. First the file will need to upload to the cloud so that it is available. Then the other computer will need to request it and wait for the download to finish. This is a sure a long way to send computer bits just so you can see them down the hall!

And it's why we created an image cache for Edge. The large file is still uploaded to the cloud, but a locally-accessible copy remains behind. So, while the upload takes place, other computers on in the office have immediate access to the image. And an image cache can be setup on any computer within the office.

Make no mistake, Ortho2 Edge is a truly optimized cloud application. The image cache is just one example of enhancing cloud functionality in order to provide the best possible user experience.

About the Author

Amy grew up in Iowa, obtained a double major in marketing and psychology from Iowa State University in 2005, and started working for Ortho2 immediately after graduation. She currently serves as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. She is married with three children.

Topics: local image cache, web vs app, cloud

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