Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Fat app futures

Spurred by Jonathan Schwartz's keynote, Tim Bray discusses desktop application futures:
Most ordinary database-backed business apps have migrated into the browser and they’re not coming back, no matter how great Windows Vista is. Given that, what kind of apps justify the irritation and inconvenience of having to download ’em and update ’em and back up the data and so on? Jonathan lists a few, including the browser itself, Skype, Google Earth, OpenOffice. But what’s the pattern behind that list? From right now in 2005, I see three families of desktop apps that are here for the long haul: First the browser itself, including variations like news readers and music finders, whether P2P or centralized. Second, realtime human-to-human communication, spanning the spectrum from text to voice to video. Third, content creation: PhotoShop, Excel, DreamWeaver, and whatever we’ll need for what we’re creating tomorrow.
I don't see much to argue with here. I use my browser far more than any other app (family 1). Next up is email (family 2). It's a big dropoff after that to Word, Powerpoint, and Excel (family 3).

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