A Journey from Traditional to Web-Based Apps


Microsoft – Outlook (we used to call it Outlook on Exchange)

Microsoft started their E-Mail journey with Microsoft Exchange.  Admins like myself were “Exchange Admins” that was a full time job by itself, but it became the de facto Mail server across most companies doing serious E-Mail.

Google – Gmail

Google came out with Gmail on April 1, 2004 and Fools have been using it ever since, ha!  (Just kidding a bit of humor to put this in perspective)

Gmail came out from inception as a web based E-Mail program (like Yahoo mail and Hotmail.)  But Gmail was much faster because it used modern technology.

New Generation

Most people that I have been working with that have been using E-Mail for a long time especially in business are familiar with Outlook.

Many younger people I have met have never used Outlook since their first experience was with Gmail.  Since Gmail is a web based experience that is different from a user that is used to using an E-Mail app (client) like Outlook.

Comparing Exchange (Outlook) to IMAP/POP

Outlook used to be called a “rich” E-Mail client because it had so many features the other Apps (clients did not have.)  That was and is because it uses a proprietary protocol to transmit all your E-Mail, but it also brings much more than E-Mail.  It brings your Contacts, Calendar, tasks, and now more when you sync your E-Mail.

When you compare IMAP/POP E-Mail to Outlook (Exchange) you will see there is a big difference.

Web Based

So this leads us to a modern way of doing things.  Developers have pushed for us using only Web based apps for years.  Why use Microsoft Excel when you can use Excel Online? 

The people that started with Gmail as their only Email are used to the idea of doing Docs from the web, this is not something new to them and maybe why these users feel the experience is superior (this is debatable and usually boils down to personal preference.) 

While people are who have been using apps like Outlook are still getting used to the idea of using web based apps.

Why is this important?

The reason I am reviewing this now is because using Web based apps like Word, Excel, even Outlook should be considered  for more regular useage.

I will share some more tips in my next article on this, but just know people that use web based apps are less likely to loose their files.  It is just harder to lose a document this way.  So, maybe those Gmail users are not such Fools after all  😏

So I encourage you to use web based apps, start with OneDrive.

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Embracing OneDrive: A Journey from Traditional to Web-Based Apps

As the popularity of OneDrive continues to soar, I find myself delving into this expansive topic. To kick things off, let’s take a stroll down memory lane and explore the evolution of email and web-based applications.

A Brief History of Email

Microsoft – Outlook (formerly Outlook on Exchange)

Microsoft made its mark in the email world with Microsoft Exchange. Back in the day, being an “Exchange Admin” was a full-time job, given its prominence as the go-to mail server for many serious businesses.

Google – Gmail

Google entered the email scene on April 1, 2004, with Gmail. Despite its April Fool’s Day launch, Gmail quickly gained a reputation for its speed and efficiency, thanks to modern technology. Unlike Outlook, which relied heavily on desktop applications, Gmail was a web-based email program from the start, similar to Yahoo Mail and Hotmail but much faster.

Generational Differences in Email Use

Outlook vs. Gmail

For long-time email users, especially in business settings, Outlook is a familiar friend. It’s a rich email client packed with features, using a proprietary protocol to manage not just email but also contacts, calendars, tasks, and more.

In contrast, many younger users grew up with Gmail, embracing the web-based experience. They see Gmail and other web apps as the norm, appreciating the flexibility and convenience they offer.

The Shift to Web-Based Applications

From Outlook to Web-Based Apps

This generational shift is evident in the broader move towards web-based applications. Developers have long advocated for web apps, touting the benefits of tools like Excel Online over traditional Microsoft Excel. Those who started with Gmail are accustomed to handling documents and tasks online, finding it a seamless and often superior experience.

Why This Matters

Adopting web-based apps like OneDrive is increasingly important. Here’s why:

  1. Accessibility: You can access your files from anywhere, anytime, on any device with an internet connection.
  2. Security: Web-based apps often provide better security measures, reducing the risk of losing important documents.
  3. Collaboration: They facilitate easier collaboration, allowing multiple users to work on the same document simultaneously.

Introducing OneDrive

OneDrive is a perfect starting point for those transitioning to web-based apps. It offers robust file management and sharing capabilities, making it an excellent tool for both personal and professional use.

Getting Started with OneDrive:

  1. Accessing OneDrive:
    • Visit the OneDrive website and sign in with your Microsoft account.
  2. Basic Functions:
    • Upload Files: Drag and drop files into the browser or use the “Upload” button.
    • Create Folders: Organize your files by creating folders.
    • Share Files: Share documents easily with others.

Caution for Desktop App Users:

While the desktop app offers seamless integration with your PC, be aware of potential issues:

  • Directory Changes: The app might change the location of your Desktop and Documents directories.
  • Syncing Issues: Ensure all files are synced correctly to avoid data loss.


The move to web-based apps like OneDrive is a step towards greater efficiency and security. While it may take some getting used to, the benefits are undeniable. So, maybe those Gmail users were onto something after all. 😉

Stay tuned for more tips on making the most of web-based apps in my next article. In the meantime, give OneDrive a try and explore the advantages for yourself.

Happy computing!