As an online application provider, we bet on applications residing in the cloud. We think this is the future. We expect to see a migration to the cloud based computing the same way we saw the migration from Mainframes to PC. But then, migration doesn’t happen instantly. To get to the next level, we need to climb multiple steps and it takes time before we move to the next generation of application delivery.
For over a decade, we have seen desktop apps running on a PC in the offline mode. These include apps like MS Office which primarily reside on the PC. Then, there are next generation applications that reside in the cloud like Zoho, Google Apps etc which are served from the cloud. We are currently seeing users slowly (?) migrating from desktop applications to online applications. While users are migrating from PC Apps to Online Apps, vendors are also extending their applications to make this transition easy.
We are noticing that PC App vendors are extending their offline applications to the cloud for future compatibility. Microsoft extending their MS Office with MS Office Live Workspace is a good example of this. On the other hand, online app vendors like Zoho are extending the apps to the offline mode for backward compatibility. While these are two different approaches in opposite directions, they are basically doing the same….transitioning the user.
Transitioning to the next generation of computing takes time and several steps. Each of the steps help make the transition better. Offline support for online apps is one such step which is an important during this transition phase. Not all users are online all the time. Offline support is important, atleast till we are always connected. So we have added offline support (both on desktop and Mobile) based on Google gears to help such users. Another step is integration of online apps with offline counterparts (like our integration into MS Office). Another step is to make a web based application look and behave like an offline app which is what Mozilla Prism is doing. We in fact did offer something like this earlier with Desktopize.
TechCrunch has a great post about technologies bridging this gap between online and desktop apps. These are important transitioning technologies/concepts that are necessary to transition the users to cloud based computing.