Kevin Gjerstad pointed us to this post by Brian Romanko who thinks we might be on the verge of Desktop 2.0. I hate buzzwords, and particularly despise the lazy little creations with version numbers. Yes, Web 2.0, you're on notice.
But if you look beyond that facade, I think you'll see the truth in Brian's statement. The past decade has seen the mercurial rise of applications on the Web. Most of the applications you use everyday have made their slow voyage to being online solutions. But Mac OS X and Windows Vista usher in an age of the resurgent desktop application. They help highlight the areas where the browser solution falls apart. I'm not for a minute suggesting that the web world cannot overcome some of the limiting factors (readability, offline applications, local storage etc.). But until a year or so ago, few would suggest that anything in the desktop world could stem the flow of applications into the web world.
With Windows Presentation Foundation (a .NET 3.0 component and part of Windows Vista), we've strived to blur the line between desktop applications and web applications. In many ways I see that as my charter and that of all my Application Model team mates. To developers, the same programming model used to develop a desktop app can be employed to develop a web app, or vice versa. To administrators, deploying the desktop app is about as simple as deploying a web app, taking the pain of installers away. To consumers, the richness and user experience one expects from the desktop world is now possible within the browser. Our work has just started though and we haven't achieved nearly enough.
Footnote: Miguel de Icaza, who has been known to be skeptical about WPF, now seems to be pleased with what we've done after he saw the New York Times Reader. Maybe we just do bad demos, and need to tone down the gratituitous use of animations, 3D and transforms. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Tags: WinFX, NetFX3, WPF, XBAP, Mac OS X, Desktop