Is there any room/sens for classic desktop products?

Hello all first timer here . ( but following the indie scene from from the joelonsoftware days ) .
as long time developer , watching from a side the strong last 10 years trends SaaS and mobile products that are dominating the Indie developers scene .
i wander is there any sens to develop desktop apps ?
do you know about examples of indie developers that manly developing desktop apps ?

There’s always money anywhere, depending on market need, execution. Some things can’t be done on the web, or as easily, etc etc.

However. I have a desktop app, but have largely had it with them. All my current efforts are SaaS.

Some of the reasons Pat gave here made a lot of sense:

I’m still making desktop software ( :smile:

It’s all just your target audience. Some people / businesses will not touch desktop software with a stick others are just upgrading from IE 6 and cannot use any SAAS so it all just depends on your target audience.

(Also, many developers them self still favor desktop software over SAAS for their own use, I don’t know why that is though).

We have a product called LicenseSpot that basically provides very easy licensing, copy protection with online activation for desktop applications.

We’ve been growing steadily month over month with more and more developers coming on board. The desktop software market is far from dead and success is determined on the niche you’re looking at. I would suggest to just give it a try and see how it goes :smile:

@umen, @Andy has been in the desktop software game for a long time and seems to like it!

thanks for the answers and examples
well from what i see , its for indie dev become very niche’d market .
i love desktop app’s but im not sure its the right place to put in development time (sadly … )

I think if you’ve got a good idea and you’re willing to deal with the issues mentioned by Patrick McKenzie on his blog linked above then go for it. There’s a lot to be said for doing the jobs others don’t want in that there is likely to be less competition.

Things have changed a lot, but I don’t think desktop apps are dead yet. In fact it can be a useful differentiation if all your competitors are SAAS. I prefer desktop to web for many types of applications. See also:

As for mobile products as a way to make a decent living as an independent developer? Very few people seem to be commercially successful at it.

@andy , thanks i read your blog for many years now … im myself using Qt in my day job as one of my set of tools .
and i think your product is great . but how do you compete with ipad or web apps that doing the same ( probably ) ?
about the mobile stuff … yeah i know its race to the bottom . i had very high hopes for mobile development i even bought mac mini ( like you … i remember reading it in your blog ) but seeing how hard it is or in possible to stand out in the mobile market i didn’t do any thing with it …

There are some table planning apps on iPad, but:

-they have a lot less features than my product
-if you are assigning 100s or 1000s of guests, you want a big screen and mouse, not a tablet
-my desktop product can export an interactive (but read-only) table plan to web that can be accessed via tablet


-people expect to pay a lot more for desktop apps than tablet apps
-I don’t have to give 30% to Apple
-I can change for upgrades
-I have my customer’s email address and can market upgrades and upsells to them

BTW I have well over 100 competitors on desktop, web and mobile. Many of them free.

BTW I may do a web app at some point. It definiately makes more sense for some products.

I’m still making a living from desktop software ( and my sales are close to what they were 5 years ago (not much).

Is desktop software dead or dying? Are desktop computers turning into dumb terminals where you run SaaS apps? I believe with the release of Windows 10 desktop apps will be “fashioable” again!

SaaS apps are suitable for communication and sharing and native apps are suitable for CPU intensive tasks and processing of large local data (movies and photos). I say native apps and SaaS complement each other.

Can you make a living from mobile apps? From my experience (about 10 apps): No, but many people win the lottery daily!


Thanks @Cosmin
im very glad to know its still alive . but if you say its not much how do you manage to survive ? freelancing ?
what mobile apps did you make if i may ask ?

@umen I actually make enought to survive myself and hire some help in my country (Romania) where developers are more affordable (but not cheap). But not enought to get past the indie stage.

Search for Bits&Coffee in the App Store to see all of my apps. VideoSound is the most succesful of them all.

Thanks for the info .
well i wish you good luck .