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ink08 » Fat clients also love the cloud
Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Fat clients also love the cloud

07.29.08


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Was at dinner tonight in a party of five, all of whom had read this article. I’m being drawn more into the vortex of Silicon Valley and its entrepreneurial dreams recently, and I’m liking it.

Idea #27, hardware/software hybrids, is one example of the often-fruitful pattern of blending two worlds that don’t meet as much as they should.

Another type of hybrid that I think holds a lot of untapped potential is that between web software and desktop software. People are pushing in this direction from both sides: web guys are trying to solve the “offline problem” with Adobe AIR and Google Gears and so forth, and desktop apps are gaining cloud-based backup/sharing capabilities, like .Mac. But I think that more can be done by combining largely web-based applications with honest-to-God fat (okay, rich) desktop programs.

Data belongs in the cloud, period, and that is where it is going to live. The local disk should be thought of as the most capacious and most persistent layer in the cache hierarchy, not as canonical long-term storage. Yet despite the amazing acrobatics that Google and others have pulled off with JavaScript, and the growing capabilities of Flash and other write-once-run-anywhere environments that download their code on demand a là web, the desktop is still a richer programming environment and will be so for some time. This is not right for every application, but there must be areas where it adds value.

Better than being an application, of course, is being a platform, so the real genius will be in creating a web/desktop ecosystem open to all developers, but in which you and your friends hold a privileged and profitable place. But that’s soo software 1.0.

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