Desktop Applications vs Web-based Services

There are two main classes of automated tools; web-based services and desktop applications. The table below contains a comparison of some of the factors that should be considered when choosing which class of tools to use.

Factor Desktop Applications Web-based Services
Cost One-off purchase plus optional low maintenance charge for upgrades. Annual cost as long as the service is required.
Installation Simple for desktop applications. More complex for enterprise applications. None
Configuration options Highly granular. Basic. Some options can only be enabled or adjusted by the service provider.
Analysis facilities Tree display provides a top-level view and the ability to drill down into the source code. All the source code can be viewed from within the application.

Switching between the different views is very fast because all data is on the local machine or network.
Reports are available at site, domain and page level but only snippets of source code are provided so the full context may not be known.

Some services only provide the line number, not the code snippet.

Switching between the different views is slower, because no data is held locally.
Remedial options Some products allow the code to be fixed automatically or manually from within the application (this is dependent on the webserver / CMS architecture). None
Reporting options Some can output in file types such as HTML, XML, Excel etc. Usually limited to HTML, possibly PDF.
Ease of use Less intuitive than web-based services. Familiar user interface and fewer options improve ease of use.