I'm taking on an opportunity for a local business to develop a small, simple timesheet manager (they still record time by hand) and am currently in the planning phases. It will include basic functionality such as managing employee information, logging time worked on a weekly basis for payroll, and generating reports for administration.
I've developed Windows Forms applications for a while and am fairly confident my coding skills are where they need to be for this project, but I'm fairly new to both ASP.NET and the concept of developing a full desktop system as opposed to individual applications, so my questions will probably sound very elementary. I'm mainly struggling with understanding how to choose between ASP.NET and Windows Forms with regard to deployment down the road. Hopefully you guys can offer some insight.
I'm still a bit fuzzy on how database/web application hosting works. If I develop for desktop, will the database need a physical server if more than one workstation/client wants access? Could one of the workstations act as a server (there are under 20-30 employees at any given time, so data size shouldn't be an issue)? Would an ASP.NET system require purchasing a web host? Or, can the web files be hosted on a local computer/server with IIS as an intranet? Can virtualization fit somewhere in all this?
I guess it boils down to: Can I get them up and going for free, or is a server/hosting cost implied either way?
Thanks in advance!