Friday, August 14, 2009

Out of Browser and Desktop Applications

I have been researching the use of Silverlight and Adobe Air for creating a cross platform desktop application.

Michael Wolf blogged on this topic: Silverlight Out of Browser deep dive.

My research has discovered that there are many that want a development platform that will run on different Operating Systems. For my interest those systems are Mac OS X and Windows.

Not only is it desirable to run on different OS's but also to run in a browser.

This desire is based on code reuse and development effort. If the same code can run "in browser" and "out of browser (OOB)" businesses view this as a significant win.

The limitations of OOB solutions are justified and at the same time make it unrealistic to use the solution as a desktop application that has high system resource utilization. Don't misunderstand, I think the demand is great and will cause solutions to be developed. Certain companies/products can justify the "glue code" that is necessary to get to system resources but many can not.

For now, those companies that have desktop applications that need to run on various operating systems, don't forget Java. Microsoft and Adobe have no reason to mention Java for cross platform solutions.

For later let us watch the direction of Silverlight and Air, and at the same time watch for new solutions in the Platform as a Service (PaaS) arena.

PaaS technologies and Web Application technologies that I am watching include:
  • Cappuccino, Objective-J, Cocotron
  • SproutCore
  • Windows Azure
Silverlight and Adobe Air do what they were designed to do well enough. Using either to make desktop applications is "living on the edge".