Everyone has probably noticed this already but the old is new again cycle for “online” desktop apps has been shortening at a rapid pace. Everywhere you turn you see people talking about offline and online apps and what should be online vs offline. If you take your time machine back you would see something like the following timeline:
- 1970s 3270
- 1980s X terminal
- 1990s Java applets
- 2000 Flash
- 2005 Ajax
Up until about 2000 it was taking 10 years to cycle from “we want everything on our desktop” to “we want everything on the server”. Now the cycle seems to have sped up to every year and then to constant. A couple recent examples of new faces on this old idea are Adobe’s Apollo and Joyent’s Slingshot.
Fundamentally not much has changed from the 1970s. The goal is to centralize computing resources into one place (in the simple view of things) and make issues like software deployment easier.The main difference now is that the industry has come to the point where there isn’t any turning back and everyone has bought on to the need and usefulness of online apps. The main sticking point seems to be finding a way to resolve issues that come up from users being disconnected from time to time. I’ll bet that one won’t be fully resolved until you have connectivity anywhere and everywhere you go.