What Practices Can Be Used to Develop Desktop Applications?

When you’re developing a desktop application, you’ll have a lot of decisions to make. The age of rapid development forces developers to work faster and more diligently than ever before. And you’ll need to choose the right practices to follow when developing your desktop apps.

The practices that can be used are:

Choose Frameworks

Frameworks will reduce the amount of coding required to make your application and also increases your chance of using best practices when coding. The right framework will be a powerful tool and set of libraries that you can build your application on.

There are a lot of frameworks to choose from, including:

  • .NET
  • Windows Forms
  • Mono

Frameworks are a matter of preference, and while they do have a learning curve, they can change the entire pace of your desktop application. Given enough time, any developer can learn a framework and be able to code faster as a result.

Deployment Strategy

How will you deploy your app to your customers? A lot of developers don’t consider how they’ll deploy their app until it’s too late. You want to be sure to deploy your application in a way that is user-friendly and also strategic to get your application in front of the most people as possible.

A few of the methods that you may use in your deployment strategy are:

  • Publish on the Windows Store
  • Use Microsoft’s ClickOne deploying solution
  • Develop your own update and installation solution

Consider Updating Practices

When there are updates, how will you push the update to your users? Major web browsers, such as Chrome, will update the browser automatically when the browser is closed and opened. The automatic update is a great solution, but it may not be a good solution for a non-enterprise or non-commercial application.

Users often want to pick and choose how they receive updates.

A good choice, and it’s completely up to the developer, is to allow users to toggle automatic updates on and off during the installation process.

Providing users with options ensures that you’re meeting consumer needs without creating an update solution that is too intrusive.

Logging and Troubleshooting

Every large software developer has some form of logging and troubleshooting in place. Developers of all sizes should choose to implement a logging and troubleshooting solution for their desktop applications.

There are libraries that you can use to help with logging:

  • NLog
  • Log4net

Using a logging library ensures that you don’t “reinvent” the wheel and uses a trusted solution for your application. NLog and Log4net are both allowed to write to Window Event Logs, making them one of the most powerful solutions for logging and troubleshooting.

You should use these features to your advantage to monitor how well your application is running and what common errors are being produced.

Third-Party Testing

You can conduct your own internal testing, and you should perform your own testing to some extent. But when you’re going to release the app to users, a lot will change. Users will not act in a manner that is expected.

Users break applications every single day.

Third-party desktop app testing, found here, allows for someone that is not accustomed to your application or standard usage to break your app. Testers will:

  • Try and break an app
  • Collect data on bugs and errors
  • Test usability
  • Conduct quality assurance testing

Testing has its advantages, and the main advantage is customer satisfaction. When you conduct thorough testing, it’s possible to improve customer satisfaction and user experience. If you don’t test your application before it hits the market, you risk buggy applications and unhappy users.

Licensing, or One-Time Payment

Developers know how to code, but knowing how to code is much different than knowing about payment options. A lot of the larger developers, including Microsoft, are turning to subscription models for their applications.

Licensing and subscription models allow you to earn residual income and also have the funds to be able to routinely update your applications.

One-time payments are an attractive choice for buyers, but if you’re not charging a fee for major upgrades, you may hit a point where you’re making little-to-no money.

The practices you follow, both good and bad, will reflect on your final desktop application. It’s important to follow best practices to ensure that you develop a desktop application that is a success.