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I am thinking of releasing a CSS minifaction library, which has dependencies on other libraries.

Since CSS Minification is not something that occurs a lot (compared to optimising PDFs for example), I have two options:

  1. I could make it downloadable, however, it means that the user needs to download 3-4 other libraries, just to make everything run.
  2. I could create a web service that receives a HTTP post and returns the minified file as a response.

Now a days there is a lot of talk about the Cloud and Cloud Services, and perhaps the approach to releasing tools such as this should be included in that discussion as well.

So basically the question is: What are the pros and cons of online/cloud tools compared to downloadable tools?

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The main advantage of downloadable css compressors is offline usage.

The advantage of an online css compressor is security for the user. Some users may not feel comfortable downloading an unknown script.

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It depends on the complexity of the install - most inexperienced (and even experienced users) prefer a simple one-click install.

This is probably because most users are looking to fix a problem and want to get to/check a solution quickly.

With that in mind and the easy way people can share via social networks I'd go for a hosted service, you will probably get more traction that way.

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Why not just have it available as a Web application like Google Closure Compiler? The user drops his entire CSS, hits 'minify', and copy-pastes the minified CSS?

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