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Michael Flanakin's blog Food for thought...

Jon Udell recently wrote an article about "rich" GUI's. In this, he covers a good amount of ideas that I've been thinking of for a while. If you get a chance, go check it out.

I'm not sure what everyone else thinks about this, but Microsoft is re-focusing on desktop applications. I've talked to a lot of people about this, and it seems that the majority of people want to stick with what they're used to - whether it be desktop or web apps. I've done development for both platforms, and personally, I prefer web apps. Obviously, large web apps are more complex than desktop apps, and I think that is part of the reason some people prefer desktop apps. Not to mention the fact that most web developers have not done large-scale, n-tier application development. But, if Microsoft is moving a certain way, wouldn't it be best if we follow that? It seems that there have been numerous studies that show developers favoring web over desktop platforms, but Microsoft's interests are in keeping customers locked into Windows.

Anyway, what I'm getting at is that everyone says that the web has a poor UI. For some reason, this has always confused me. While I understand that the web is stateless, which is a fault I am more than willing to admit, I think the web UI is more flexible than a desktop app. Granted, some things are harder to do because of browser compatibility issues, but that seems to be a problem that is leveling out. And, let's not forget utilities like Flash. Flash is a very nice supplement to the supposedly poor UI. The problem is that not too many people have put faith in the product as an application-ready development tool.

Well, Microsoft is pushing "web-enabled" desktop apps, but I still think a web-based solution is better from an organizational standpoint. Now, if you don't (and won't) have users moving around without connected PC's, then this probably won't apply to you. And, let me also say that there are obviously some tasks that should be done using client apps. This should be recognized as the exception, in my opinion.

What I'd like to see, however, is a tool that would solve the stateless problem of the web. Cookies were intended to do this to some extent, but they are a security risk, depending on who you talk to. And, maintaining state on the server is a performance issue. So, it seems that we need an SSL-encrypted cookie that matches certificates and neither the server nor client will allow the cookie to be read if the two match up. That seems to be a huge improvement on the web environment. Now, let's see who comes up with something first...

[Original post Tue Nov 04, 09:54:02 PM UTC]

Posted on Friday, November 14, 2003 7:46 PM Development | Back to top

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