Welcome!

Cognitive Computing Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan

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
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...