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I am writing an article that is focus on websites and web applications. I also need to refer to the rest software products. But I don't know how to properly name them. I could say "non-web software", but it sounds awkward. I also thought about "desktop software", but apparently, this is not inclusive because non-web software also contains server software, mobile software, etc. Could you please share your opinions and suggestions? Thank you!

The context: I am using this in the computer science field. More specifically, I want to talk about websites and web application vulnerabilities (e.g. SQL injection, XSS ...) versus non-web software vulnerabilities (e.g. buffer overflow, ...).

marked as duplicate by Janus Bahs Jacquet, Misti, tchrist, FumbleFingers, Chenmunka Feb 13 '15 at 17:44

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    anything particularly wrong with client-side? – JonMark Perry Feb 12 '15 at 16:30
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    The distinction you're making is a bit arbitrary. There aren't hard lines between "web software" and "non-web", especially if you're considering that server-side software can be counted as "non-web". I guess the question is, why do you think you need to make this distinction at all? – Kevin Workman Feb 12 '15 at 16:38
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    How do you define "web-based" software? Is it applications that run in a browser? If so then non-web-based software might be referred to as: traditional/stand-alone/application software. – Jim Feb 12 '15 at 17:24
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    There is not a good term that will be generally understood. Either use a vague term or a clumsy one. – Hot Licks Feb 12 '15 at 17:42
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    This is interesting because 12 years ago, the question was the reverse: how do you describe software that you interact with exclusively through a web site? – Val Feb 12 '15 at 18:37

Native App or Native Software
The PCMag Encyclopedia defines a Native App as

An executable program coded in the machine language of the hardware platform it is running in. A native application has been compiled into the machine language of that CPU.

It compares native apps with web apps this way:

Native apps are often contrasted with Web-based applications that are stored on a server and interpreted one line at a time by the browser's JavaScript or HTML5 interpreter. A native app, written for a specific hardware platform, will always run faster than a Web app, because there is no translation processing taking place.

In Why Web Apps will Crush Native Apps (Mashable, September 12, 2012), Ryan Matzner wrote about the distinction between the two types of apps. There he discusses the advantages and disadvantages of both types of software regarding application portability, user experience, currency (keeping user apps up to date), and distribution.

So, by his description, the term native app covers much of what is not a web-based app. It doesn't fully embrace platform-independent apps (like those written in Java, for example), but it gets close.

The term is mostly used in the context of mobile computing, but the PCMag definition is more expansive.


You could say locally installed software.

  • This isn't a bad answer, but it doesn't address instances such as a "locally installed" app that displays a web app. Is the facebook app on my phone web-based or not? That's why I think the OP is making a pretty arbitrary distinction. – Kevin Workman Feb 12 '15 at 16:40
  • Local applications do not require access to outside services to perform their primary function. With that definition a Facebook app is not a local application, but a mail client connected to an in house mail server would be. – Val Feb 12 '15 at 18:44

The term 'software' doesn't refer to the internet, so maybe you could just call it software, and say something else (like web applications or internet software) when you're talking about software that uses the internet.


Very similar to what you already have; non-web based software seems to be used quite widely and somehow sounds less awkward.


Perhaps you might like to consider using the term on-premise. This is normally used in a commercial environment but has no such specific restraints.

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