Thursday, 29 July 2010

Webification Part 2

By now it is obvious that the web 2.0 revolution will be hinged on some particular technologies. The most important of which are JavaScript and HTML5. These technologies are all available today in most modern browsers and have started to prove that we can build desktop like applications in the browsers. But there is a flip side to the in-browser web 2.0 revolution, what happens if these technologies were made available outside the browser. What happens if modern desktop environments support JavaScript, CSS and HTML5 out of the box? What happens if web 2.0 is brought out of the browser unto the desktop instead of squeezing the desktop into the browser.

Imagine designing your desktop application GUI with HTML and CSS and getting your desktop OS to interpret JavaScript outside the browser. That way web applications can run directly on the desktop. That way all web developers automatically become desktop developers without requiring any additional skills. That way, the line between desktop application development and web application development disappears. The same can also be done on mobile operating systems. Then the dream of write once run everywhere will finally be achieved and above all it will be achieved on open standards.

Imagine having a desktop shortcut that downloads and starts a JavaScript application and runs it natively without requiring any changes. That is the future of software I envisage. The good news is that future doesn't seems to be very far away.

GNOME 3 desktop has a built-in JavaScript interpreter and also supports theming with CSS. The default text editor GEdit allows on-line real time collaboration. The default note taking application let's you drop notes into the instant messaging application allowing easy note sharing.

That may not exactly be the future I imagine, but it's a huge step in the right direction. The future will be such that you can't draw a clear line separating web, desktop and mobile applications.

And that future is almost here.

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