||GMail, Google Calendar, TadaList
|PhotoShop LE, Picture Viewers, etc
|| flickr, picasa
In the last few years, major developments have happened in the application world that have enabled me to completely abandon many of the win32 client programs that I have depended on for years. I have been reading about this phenomenon for a long time now, but we seem to be at a significant tipping point. At first, I never really bought into the fact that that web applications could even compete with traditional win32 and mac desktop applications.
Sometime around 2001, I was working on my first AJAX enabled web application and saw first hand the limitations of trying to do anything overly interactive within a web browser (heck, we were dealing with netscape 4.7 and IE 5 at the time). In fact, it wasn't even yet called AJAX at that time, I think we were calling XML Sockets or something to that effect. Anyhow, around this time many of the big thinkers (or architecture astronauts, as Joel calls them) out there on the internets were beginning to tout the end of desktop computing as we know it. They talked about how in the future, we would store all of our files and applications online, and that we could access them from anywhere. I think "Passport" was actually supposed to be a significant step toward this utopian computing ideal. At the time, I thought it sounded like a great direction, but I wasn't about to hold my breath due my experience in developing rich web applications and first hand knowledge of how terrible and inconsistent the world of web browsers was (and still is, although improving).
Fast Forward a Whole Bunch of Years