Jonathan Bennett

From Terminals to Web-Based SaaS

Software development has come a long way since the days of punch cards and mainframes. Today, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have more options than ever before when it comes to creating custom software solutions for their needs. In this blog post, we’ll explore the evolution of software development, from terminals to clients, and how web-based SaaS has brought us full circle back to terminals.

The Early Days: Terminals and Mainframes

In the early days of computing, the primary way to interact with a computer was through a terminal. These were physical devices that looked like typewriters, with a keyboard for input and a screen for output. The terminal would connect to a mainframe computer, which would do all the heavy lifting of processing and storage.

This setup had a few advantages, such as centralized management and control, but it also had its limitations. Users had to be physically connected to the mainframe via the terminal, and the software that could be run was limited by the capabilities of the mainframe.

The Rise of Clients and Distributed Computing

As computing power increased and networking became more widespread, the client-server model emerged as a dominant paradigm in software development. In this model, clients (typically personal computers) would communicate with servers (typically more powerful machines) over a network, allowing for more distributed computing and more powerful applications.

This model brought many benefits, such as increased scalability and more user-friendly interfaces. It also enabled the development of desktop applications that could run locally on a user’s computer.

However, this model also had its downsides. Applications needed to be installed and maintained on each individual client, which could be time-consuming and costly. Additionally, clients were often subject to compatibility issues and security vulnerabilities.

The Return to Terminals with Web-Based SaaS

Today, we’re seeing a return to the terminal-based model, but with a twist. Instead of physical terminals, we now have web-based SaaS (Software as a Service) applications that allow users to interact with software through a web browser.

This model has many benefits, such as easy access from anywhere with an internet connection and centralized management and control. It also allows for more efficient use of resources, as the processing and storage is handled by the provider rather than the client.

Additionally, this model can be more cost-effective for SMBs, as they don’t need to invest in expensive hardware or software licenses. Instead, they can pay for only the resources they need, as and when they need them.

Picking Between Server or Client Development is a Misconception

One common misconception in software development is that you have to choose between server or client development. However, the reality is that both approaches have their place and can be used together in a hybrid approach.

For example, a web-based SaaS application could use a client-side framework like React or Vue.js to provide a more responsive and interactive user interface, while still relying on server-side code for processing and storage.