In 2005, I began hearing the term of top execs from industry leading IT organizations on the notion of the Web as a Platform and the age of participation where, the computer users would eventually be using a "thin client" accessing all data, settings and applications stored centrally in a web infrastructure somewhere on the web, made possible, with the increasing availability of high speed internet access.
Scott McNealy, then CEO of Sun Microsystems, was in Singapore in 2005, where he shared about the notion of the "Age of Participation".
Two years later, Today, with the explosion of the long tail and Web 2.0, internet applications are exploding, with many traditional desktop organizations, such as Microsoft have began embracing this new paradigm shift.
Of course, on the other end, web oriented organizations, like Adobe, is also trying to win some strategic desktops numbers, through Adobe Air, cross-OS runtime environment for building Rich Internet Applications, using Flash, Flex, HTML and Ajax, that can be deployed as a desktop application.
The past weeks had been a really busy week for many software Giants, like Microsoft, Adobe and Google.
- Earlier: Google introduced a technology called "Gears" that allows developers to create web applications that can also work offline
- September 30: Microsoft outlined its plans for Microsoft Office Live Workspace, a service that will combine Microsoft Office and web capabilitiesso that documents can be shared online
- October 1: Adobe Systems announced an agreement to buy Virtual Ubiquity, a company that has created a web-based word processor built on Adobe's next generation software development platform
All of which with a perceived intention of "Placing a bet on a new vision of software's future, one which combines the features of web-based applications with desktop software to create a hybrid model that may offer the best of both worlds" (Reference: Wharton, UPENN).
Source: Sun Microsystem (http://blogs.sun.com/brewin/)
While the blueprint for this hybrid software model, of combining the best of both worlds are still being drawn and, and all the major players moving toward merging features of the desktop with the web, who is going to emerge as the provider of the best platform for developing this next generation of software? With so much unknown, who's technology should you learn?
Following's an analysis from "Knowledge @ Wharton"
Recently launched the second "beta" (test) version of the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR, formerly known as "Apollo"), a software development platform that allows developers to use web programming languages to create applications that can run as desktop software programs and will work on any of the major PC operating systems: Windows, Mac OS and, in the future, Linux. AIR applications can run both online or offline and can read and write files to the local PC just like desktop software. Some of the companies that have demonstrated AIR applications include AOL, eBay, Nickelodeon, Nasdaq and Salesforce.com.
Also has a vision of the hybrid future with a strategy heavily reliant on desktop software that it calls "software and
services" in contrast to the more web-centric view of "software as a
service" frequently espoused by companies like Salesforce.com. The embodiment of Microsoft's approach is its Office Live Workspace, a web-based supplement for Microsoft Office that allows Office customers to store documents on the web, view them online through a web browser and share them with others. Microsoft sees Office Live Workspace as an extension to, not a replacement for, its Office desktop software. According to the company's plans announced on September 30, users without Microsoft's desktop software will only be able to view and comment on -- but not edit -- the online versions of Office documents. Microsoft's goal appears to be to protect its lucrative desktop software franchise while hedging its bet against the rise of advertising- and subscription-based web services.
Placing its bet on a primarily web-centric vision of software delivery. Google Docs (formerly known as Google Docs and Spreadsheets), provides online versions of tools for word-processing, spreadsheets and presentations. These applications run entirely in the web browser and currently depend on Internet connectivity and remote file storage, although the company's Google Gears could allow web-based applications to run offline in the future. Matthew Glotzbach, product management director of Google Enterprise, said at the Interop 2007 Conference in New York on October 24 that Google runs its own productivity suite internally and is confident that web-based software is the future. "The game is changing the current set of productivity tools thatwere created for personal productivity. We've moved to this networked world where everything being online all the time is a huge advantage."
In the following blog posts, we'd explore more about
- Building Mashups
- Serving Contents to Mashups
- Microsoft Silverlight
- Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR)
- Google GEAR
Previously working in Microsoft, I'm defnitiely more biased towards Silverlight since already knowing it. =O (For Now, till I've tried AIR)