To service or not to service

Hi experts,

What are the main advantages of writing a service application as opposed to a window-less application that rus in the background?

I wrote an application in Delphi that checks every 2 minutes a page on the internet and takes action depending on the content of that page. I tried to convert that application into a service but couldn't get it working (my incompetence, no doubt). However, as an "invisible" aplication that gets launched from the Startup folder it does everything I want it to do (for now).

Should I be pragmatic and leave it as it is, or are there any pressing reasons to make it a service application?
Are there any performance considerations? The application does a "while not <condition> do sleep(1000);" loop. Would that be less demanding on the resources if it were a service application?

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2266180Connect With a Mentor Commented:
service applications are good mostly for server-like applications, monitoring of some kind, but the most important aspect maybe, is that a service does not require a user to be logged in. so if you need the application to run even if no use is logged in, then you want to make it a service. If on the other hand, you want the application to only run for a sepcified user, then it should not be a service (you can't have 2 or more instances of the same service).

for your particular case, it can be a service, BUT, depends what the "take action" means. if it is to notify the user or otherwise interact with the user, then NOT a service.
kenpemConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I would leave it alone as an invisible app - services can be painful to debug if something goes wrong and there doesn't seem to be any big advantage in this case. If it ain't broke.....
TheRealLokiConnect With a Mentor Senior DeveloperCommented:
If you create a service, that logs in as "local system" - "interactive" then you _can_ have it interact/notify the logged on user.
However, the "local system" account does not have certain network access and privileges.
Debugging can be a pain if you need to debug it as a service, but it is a simple matter to make a project that canbe run as a service _or_ an application just be using a compiler directive e.g. I use {$IFDEF APP} blah {$ELSE} blah...{$ENDIF}
If your project needs to check the "HKEY_CURRENT_USER" branch of the registry, ie. it is "user specific", then probably best not to make it a service

If you want a real easy way to turn your application into a service, you can just use SVRANY.exe to run your app as a service.
This is available in the windows resource toolkit, and probably a million places online.
altiplanoAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the replies everybody. As my application needs to be aware of who the current user is, the conclusion from your comments is that it should NOT run as a service.
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