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October 06, 2005


I like you am sick of hearing about the death of the rich client. I'm sorry, but while Gmail is nice, it isn't Thunderbird, it isn't, and it certainly isn't Outlook. I've had the same benefits of Gmail (accessing the same email from anywhere, etc) since 1996 with IMAP. I don't know why people spend so much time reinventing the wheel.

Since I'm working for a startup building Internet applications, I am a little touchy on the rich client versus web client thing, because we're selling a rich client. You have to download the application and install it. How old-fashioned. We'll be offering a web version, but the experience will be much poorer. The web ain't everything folks. Listen to Rick, buy solutions, not ideologies. Whatever works.

From my perspective, the point of Web 2.0 services isn't to replace desktop applications, but to make it possible to build web applications that are on a par with desktop ones, while allowing you to also use them with thin or thick clients on the desktop.

Take Gmail as an example. Gmail works perfectly well as a simple POP account, and if you want to download everything into Outlook you can - all good. But because of the amount of storage, you no longer have to use your desktop client as an archive for your email, meaning you can use it for the things it's best at: offline work, contact management (if you're using Outlook) and so on.

The same goes for something like Writely. Writely has taken over some of the tasks I used Word for - jotting down ideas, short documents that ultimately go on the web, and so on - but it doesn't replace Word. What I really want is a version of Word that uses a Writely API to store documents online, to round-trip between using a word processor in a browser when I need to and using a fat client to work on the same documents when I need to. That's the ultimate promise of Web 2.0 to me - the ability to forget that something's online or off, and just use the data in the application that's most appropriate.

Ian your web 2.0 sounds like Remote Desktop to me.

Why reinvent the wheel when you can borrow a Lamborghini?

I see a web 2.0 bubble and soon it will go POP!

"Ian your web 2.0 sounds like Remote Desktop to me."

(Google Dumps Web Standards)

Which just proves nobody should claim ownership of good ideas.

... or why my bank account is so .... depressing.

Brilliant post by the way. I havn't even figured out what AJAX means yet, but HTML and DHTML and all that nonsense always seemed a lot like RIPscript to me.

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