Data room software put to the test: application or browser?

02. August 2017 | Drooms Global

We all have at least one “app” in our smartphone, be it for our daily fitness, our next restaurant search or as a professional tool such as a virtual data room. And we all use our web browser for both work and leisure. It's not an either-or situation, though: only combined do applications and browsers deliver the most efficiently performing and flexible user experience. That’s why Drooms NXG is now available via browser as well as app. A Drooms’ developer explains us why.


We asked a developer what an app actually is

“App” is probably the most tossed-around term in the digital world: user-friendly, interactive, feature rich, does everything you want – and even more. Strictly speaking, everything you open in your computer is an application. Word is an application, Outlook as well. It’s just a set of features providing you with an experience. A web app is a browser-based application. Frankly, web app is the fancy term for web pages these days as they’ve become more interactive and complex.

The difference between browser-based and native apps is critical in terms of performance and features. For instance, Google Mail can be accessed from the web (in case of the web app) as well as through the Google Mail application you might have on your mobile (this is a native application). The app is more intuitive and easier to use, yet you can also access your mailbox via a browser at any time. In the end, users read their emails through the app most of the time and only access their mailbox via a browser when they are accessing from an “unusual location”. Hence, the app and browser do not provide the same user experience, although they provide the same service, i.e. access to a mailbox.

As said, web apps and native apps are both applications, it’s just that the first runs in a web environment while the other runs in the operating system of a computer.

Pros and cons of the traditional browser

The best thing about the traditional browser is that it is pre-installed. It’s easy to browse the web even if you’re not a tech savvy user. You don’t need to install anything and you can basically access it from anywhere.

Google Chrome is the most widely used browser in the world. While Chrome had a market share of 3.1% in September 2008, it had reached 70.4% by April 2016 (source: W3Schools.) These are pretty amazing results.

The features a browser can expose are governed by a set of standards (e.g. HTML5). While these standards do a good job of ensuring our experience is consistent across different browsers, they don’t reveal everything your computer is capable of. Therefore, if you need to go beyond these basic features, you need to start taking a closer look at apps.

What's your experience of developing apps?

First of all, an app is not better by default. It needs talented developers to take the best out of its potential. While great strides have been made to improve browser app performance, a native application simply has far more control over its resources and can therefore better tune itself to its own unique set of needs. It is not bound to any standards which limit its adoption or feature set. It’s only limited by what your operating system is able to provide.

The number of mobile apps downloaded worldwide by 2016 is 102,062 million, amounting to $41.1 billion of revenue (source: Statista.com.)

When you open an app on your screen, you have a full experience without the somehow distracting experience of several tabs being open at the same time: only with an app is it possible to compare several documents in split screen mode without the annoying experience of switching between tabs. This makes the overall user-experience much cleaner and more engaging.

Are there implications for the security of confidential data?

There are many ways browsers, apps and operating systems can be compromised – it is not as if one is inherently better than the other. For instance, the Drooms NXG app, as well as the browser version, use the https-standard to secure the connection between your device and the Drooms NXG servers. In terms of security, it doesn’t matter which of the two technologies is used to access the confidential data in the data room.  

In the case of Drooms NXG, although the browser offers great flexibility in terms of use, the app remains central and the only tool offering the full package of the data room features.

Which data room technology is best?

At Drooms, we have been focusing on developing an application that delivers an outstanding user experience for all data room users and administrators. The Drooms NXG app is made to offer the fastest and most intuitive platform for document management and sharing.

Now, Drooms NXG is also available as a browser version to meet the workflows of our customers. We are a customer-centred company, hence customer needs are at the core of our product development.

Today, all data room projects can be accessed via both application and web browser. This combination makes the software easily accessible and highly secure simultaneously. Thus, users can easily and safely access their data room project on the go. Nevertheless, only Drooms’ NXG application permits administrators to benefit from the full range of features of the data room.

The app is my absolute favourite, maybe also because I have been working so hard to develop it.