Web/Desktop Apps.

I like having desktop apps. It comes from a long time of having a flaky connection at best. But there’s an interesting convergence of web and desktop apps.

Take my blog writer, for example. I use ScribeFire. It ties in with my browser, and I can edit posts offline, and post them when I’m done. I really like it.

You could make the case that since it’s a hard firefox extension, it’s still a desktop app. But seriously, what’s the benefit of a blog editor without an internet connection?

Look at Gmail. For a long time, I used Thunderbird. But, with Gears integration, I can just take my Gmail offline with me. I can write an email, set it to send, and next time I’m connected to the mighty Google Cloud, it’ll send.

I also used to use Sunbird. I even had it tied with my Google calendar. But, I found myself more firing up Firefox to view or tweak my calander than Sunbird.

There’s a lot of really compelling features in Gmail that are hard to match in any other app. Calendar integration is a good example. Google Talk, Google Docs integration… all awesome.

In fact, the only cloud app I don’t use more online than offline is office stuff. There’s just something about being able to fire up a word processor. Though, with what is likely another stint of crappy internet, just for kicks, I’m going to try.

Once upon a time, webmail was quirky, and definitely not as good as a good desktop client. Online Documents usually meant “Save in word, upload somewhere.”

It’s funny to me to look at things now, where in a lot of cases, web apps are more full-featured and awesome than the desktop versions. Some of it has to do with the sharing and collaboration you can only get in the Cloud.

But some of it is just better applications. Which, truth be told, I still have a hard time getting my head around.

My main offline apps are Eclipse (IDE), Gimp and Inkscape, and games.

There is a cloud-based editor, Bespin. It’s ridiculously cool, but still in Beta. AFAIK, it’s only got Javascript syntax highlighting, but all kinds of awesome. It’s something I can see _TONS_ of potential in. Especially if there’s live collaboration ala google docs. How cool would it be to just open up sourceforge, look through and make changes, and save them instantly.

I’ve not seen any decent Gimp or Inkscape tools online (Though, I haven’t looked either).

And a lot of games I play you won’t find online. But, there’s always Newgrounds or Kongregate.

Still, it’s enough to get me fascinated with thinking about what applications will look like in 5 years.


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