In general, desktop application development tools were modified to build Web applications long before the other way around, a lead of about ten years. That sounds like a lot, but in some ways it doesn't mean much. These tools could build fine desktop applications, but by comparison, the HTML Web apps they built were (are) pretty crappy. It has required years of iterative innovation by a variety of Web specialists to come up with the user-friendly, interactive, Web 2.0 kind of application - and this work is by no means completed. To no surprise, Web companies such as Google are most prominent in the effort.
At this stage, most enterprise IT people will roll their eyes about the issues involved with offline RIA apps - we have seen it before. Yes, but the context is different-a browser application. The way some Web people see it; this is part of the inevitable takeover of desktop applications by fundamentally Web-based software. Maybe. In any case, they have a different perspective; we'll see in a year or two just what they can do.
Nelson King has been a software developer for more than twenty-five years. Further complications include being a computer-industry analyst, product reviewer and author (of nine books on database programming). He's been writing for Intelligent Enterprise (and its precursors) for more than ten years. Write him at [email protected]For the two past weeks I've been on a working vacation in Montana, where dial-up Internet access is all there is. No DSL and mountains block satellite connection. A good place to experiment with Rich Internet Applications (RIA) that need to be functional when disconnected from the Internet... I have been cultivating the garden of Google Gears... the browser plug-in intended to enable running Web apps offline.