All a user needs on their PC (or thin client for that matter) to run a browser-based database is a password, user name, and a web browser such as Firefox, Netscape Navigator, or Internet Explorer. This makes it easy to add new users to the system, even if they work in remote locations e.g. in a satellite clinic. Furthermore, there are no installation issues to consider – any machine, be it an Apple, Windows PC, or Linux computer, will work. And upgrading the system can happen once, centrally. The nightmares associated with deploying desktop software (which version of Windows 98 are they running? Did they install SP2? Is there a conflict with an existing Access installation?) can simply be sidestepped.
A web client-server architecture allows the administration tasks to be centralised with experts – which means that backups happen, virus protection is kept up-to-date etc.
Paul Graham puts the web services concept into clear relief in The Other Road Ahead.