Do I Love the Web? You Bet Your ASP!

Posted on June 23, 2000

by Mike Banks Valentine The proliferation of Application Service Providers, or ASP's, is making me very happy! They host software on their own servers which obviates the need for me to own the software and allows testing of programs on machines that couldn't possibly run that software.

This makes the most powerful software available through your web browser for just a subscription fee in most cases. And you no longer have to own the computer capable of running powerful programs, just one capable of viewing the output in HTML or Wireless Access Protocol (WAP) or a handful of other web languages accessible to your browser.

Proprietary systems no longer need to be compiled for every type of computer operating system they will be hosted on, just the single ASP server machine (and backup). The service provider will optimize for all of the viewing devices from WebTV to cel phones. ASP's are a boon to Macintosh users who have been locked out of many types of valuable programs useable only on PC platforms with the Windows OS.

As a Macintosh iMac user, I now have access to software running on powerful Web servers. Cross platform use is possible AND with the further development of XML, we'll have access to huge databases of information for conveniences such as download- ing and storing phone numbers in your cell phone as you look them up online via the wireless web.

An additional benefit is that ASP's will continually attempt to outperform their competitors by upgrading and improving their services, leading to more and more powerful applications available online from multiple sources. They'll upgrade the service provided to outpace their competition and keep their user base from moving to a better provider!

I am currently beta testing a wonderful Customer Relations Management ASP that is going to make my life online very much easier. To stay in contact with my clients, track my progress on jobs, and keep up-to-date on every move I need to make in relation to my clients!

I've owned multiple proprietary packages that must be constantly upgraded each time I upgrade my computer or my operating system. The software company keeps eeking more money out of me each time I want updates or improvements and locks me out of portions that would earn them more money if I get frustrated enough with the lack of functionality and finally upgrade or pay to customize.

Application Service Providers will make that constant upgrading unnecessary for most of us by simply upgrading the benefits of service. They will do all of that on their own machines, without the need for upgrades of your hardware or my software!

The biggest drawback to some ASP's is that they will be optimized to work best with the lowest common denominator of browser and operating systems, which in effect STILL locks out those of us who don't use Uncle Bill's Windows or Explorer software! Certainly this will be overcome as ASP's seek to draw universally from the potential market without regard to our hardware or the browser software we choose to use.

I'm very optimistic in regard to the effect the web is having on the information economy. "Open source" code and universal accessibility through HTML, XML, JAVA, WAP and all the other browser languages that power the web are making possible new wonders every day!

Do I love the web? YOU BET YOUR ASP!

Mike Banks Valentine operates WebSite101 Short Course, Small Business Internet Tutorial

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