Welcome!

Open Source Cloud Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui

Related Topics: Machine Learning , Agile Computing

Machine Learning : Article

The Future of Rich Web Apps: Melding the Web and the Desktop

Wharton experts discuss the various rich-web possibilities

Experts at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania have been considering the future of Web apps vs desktop apps. While they predict that any gap between web and desktop software will narrow in the future, one wild card is how well hybrid webtop/desktop applications will match the features of their desktop cousins.

"Creating a cross-platform application that 'feels right' to individual users of Windows, Mac and Linux platforms is a tricky task," notes Kendall Whitehouse, senior director of information technology at Wharton, at one point in the discussion, recorded in detail at [email protected] web site. "But I'm sure the industry will get there. I have little doubt that this is where the future of software is headed."

While Andrea Matwyshyn, a professor of legal studies and business ethics at Wharton, believes that Google's model of always connected software the most likely winner in the future ("There will be an increased direction towards entirely services-based. Google is a harbinger of where the industry is going"), Whitehouse's view is that the winning provider of architecture for the next generation of software applications will be Adobe ("Architecturally, Adobe is in the sweet spot").

Krishnan Anand, also a professor of operations and information management at Wharton, takes a contrary position, stressing the limitations of today's web applications. He says:

"Reliability is critical for many of us. Even now, networks crash and I can't access files. I still have to make sure I have a copy on desktop. Until that changes, I don't see an advantage to web-based applications." 
In the discussion, the main three contenders' current positions are summarized as follows:

  • Adobe recently launched the second "beta" (test) version of the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR, formerly known as "Apollo"), a software development platform that allows developers to use web programming languages to create applications that can run as desktop software programs and will work on any of the major PC operating systems: Windows, Mac OS and, in the future, Linux. AIR applications can run both online or offline and can read and write files to the local PC just like desktop software. Some of the companies that have demonstrated AIR applications include AOL, eBay, Nickelodeon, Nasdaq and Salesforce.com.

  • Microsoft also has a vision of the hybrid future with a strategy heavily reliant on desktop software that it calls "software and services" in contrast to the more web-centric view of "software as a service" frequently espoused by companies like Salesforce.com. The embodiment of Microsoft's approach is its Office Live Workspace, a web-based supplement for Microsoft Office that allows Office customers to store documents on the web, view them online through a web browser and share them with others. Microsoft sees Office Live Workspace as an extension to, not a replacement for, its Office desktop software. According to the company's plans announced on September 30, users without Microsoft's desktop software will only be able to view and comment on -- but not edit -- the online versions of Office documents. Microsoft's goal appears to be to protect its lucrative desktop software franchise while hedging its bet against the rise of advertising- and subscription-based web services.

  • In contrast to Microsoft's desktop-oriented view, Google is placing its bet on a primarily web-centric vision of software delivery. Google Docs (formerly known as Google Docs and Spreadsheets), provides online versions of tools for word-processing, spreadsheets and presentations. These applications run entirely in the web browser and currently depend on Internet connectivity and remote file storage, although the company's Google Gears could allow web-based applications to run offline in the future. Matthew Glotzbach, product management director of Google Enterprise, said at the Interop 2007 Conference in New York on October 24 that Google runs its own productivity suite internally and is confident that web-based software is the future. "The game is changing the current set of productivity tools thatwere created for personal productivity. We've moved to this networked world where everything being online all the time is a huge advantage."
The full discussion can be read here. The other Wharton experts involved were Andrea Matwyshyn, a professor of legal studies and business ethics at Wharton, and Wharton information and operations management professor Eric Clemons.

More Stories By Salvatore Genovese

Salvatore Genovese is a Cloud Computing consultant and an i-technology blogger based in Rome, Italy. He occasionally blogs about SOA, start-ups, mergers and acquisitions, open source and bleeding-edge technologies, companies, and personalities. Sal can be reached at hamilton(at)sys-con.com.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to great conferences, helping you discover new conferences and increase your return on investment.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER gives detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPOalso offers sp...
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IoT Global Network has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The IoT Global Network is a platform where you can connect with industry experts and network across the IoT community to build the successful IoT business of the future.
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time t...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.