Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]

RE: Running applications from the Web?

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
I am reviewing some ASP type structural software presently. Having a DSL
connection definitely helps, although I have not tried the samples with a
slower modem.
I am not sure if this is the "wave of the future" as there are many issues
to resolve. These include:

1. What does the user do in two years when he decided to go with another
software but needs to make revisions to an older project. One solution I was
told is to purchase a short term (month long) license to use the software
for modifications.

2. Where are the files located? The answer I received is that the files
remain on the software developers server so that you can access them at any
time you want. The user can  print out the files or even print them to Adobe
Acrobat to maintain a paper record.

3. What legal implications exist where the software developer is subpoenaed
to produce all records for a project by one of the licensed users. The user
may have destroyed the files within a given period of time subsequent to
completing the project so as to save space or any number of legitimate
reasons. The developer, in this case, maintains the records for at least
five years. If the law requires the release of information upon filing of
the suit, the engineer may create more risk of litigation than if he likened
a hard copy of the software.

4. The obvious issue is that you must maintain an Internet connection in
order to run the software. While one vendor sees fast Internet Access as the
"wave" of the future - he does not feel this is a problem. However, if  you
are lying on a beach in the South Pacific, on vacation, and you get a call
from a frantic client who must have an answer on a project immediately and
you are a small or one person office - you may be out of luck unless you
have a decent Internet Connection and modem. If you are uncomfortable
online - especially doing calculations, then you may be out of luck.

5. The ASP's I've looked at have sufficient redundancy in the system to
cover for crashes and potential loss of materials. However, I feel much more
comfortable having a disk based software to run in times when Online just
won't do.

6. I ran a sample Invoice program from (I believe) Clarion  using Client
software developed by the engineering software developer. Although it was a
DSL connection, the program ran flawlessly and fast. There was no system
degradation or screen lockups. Based on this alone, I would recommend the
process.

7. There is a legal implication which needs to be addressed. Let's assume
that there is a bug in the software that produces inaccurate results (as
there might be in disk based software). The developer is working on the
software constantly and changes or revisions can become a daily event. Now
assume you are sued for your mistake - how do you associate the mistake as
software related and track it back to the version and date the software bug
occurred? What liability does the developer have, if any, for the errors?
With disk based software,  you have the physical disk of the buggy product
and can at least use it to help your defense (regardless of your
responsibility to verify the accuracy of the software). Many errors are
based on design or code interpretation which can change without you being
aware of it. This can create problems during one design session that are
gone in the next. What are the legal implications here?

Finally, ASP's create monthly fee's which can, when added to all other up
and coming monthly fees for applications and references, become overwhelming
for a company who does not have a steady cash flow. This is a problem in
many small offices who get paid a percentage of their contract only with
that stage of the work is completed. In my opinion, it is easier to plan
ahead to cover the cost of "tools" rather than try to base a cash based
accounting system on steady monthly expenses. While we can't prevent this
from the utilities, it appears that the trend is the "easy monthly payment
plan" when all totaled, exceeds what you pay for  your mortgage and car
payments combined.

I would have a very difficult time adjusting to ASP's and hope software
vendors are willing to "ease" us into the transition and recognize those who
are not in a position to afford a steady monthly expense. There are a great
number of issues to resolve, but the quality of the software running them,
from my personal experience, is the least of the problems.

Regards,
Dennis
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rick Culean [mailto:rculean(--nospam--at)yahoo.com]
> Sent: Friday, May 04, 2001 6:57 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Subject: Running applications from the Web?
>
>
> Hi
>
> I have been reading a lot of stuff on being able to
> rent structural, mechanical, piping, etc engineering
> applications on the web. There is a company called
> Web4Engineers (I am not sure of the spelling). They
> rent products like RISA, STADD, etc. for a period of
> time so you don't have to buy it outright. And then it
> runs through your bowser...no CD, no lock. What do you
> guys think of this? Is this the wave of the future?
> Maybe people can use it in combination with their
> desktop versions...you would have less to bill your
> customer...I tried and it seemed to run slow on a 56k,
> but on a DLS it was really good.
>
>
> Thanks
>
> Rick Culean
>
> __________________________________________________
> Do You Yahoo!?
> Yahoo! Auctions - buy the things you want at great prices
> http://auctions.yahoo.com/
>
> *
> *   This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers
> *   Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) server. To
> *   subscribe (no fee) or UnSubscribe, please go to:
> *
> *   http://www.seaint.org/sealist1.asp
> *
> *   Questions to seaint-ad(--nospam--at)seaint.org. Remember, any email you
> *   send to the list is public domain and may be re-posted
> *   without your permission. Make sure you visit our web
> *   site at: http://www.seaint.org


* 
*   This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers 
*   Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) server. To 
*   subscribe (no fee) or UnSubscribe, please go to:
*
*   http://www.seaint.org/sealist1.asp
*
*   Questions to seaint-ad(--nospam--at)seaint.org. Remember, any email you 
*   send to the list is public domain and may be re-posted 
*   without your permission. Make sure you visit our web 
*   site at: http://www.seaint.org