Sunday, March 09, 2008

Moving the Web World to your Desktop

One of the big problems with web applications is that you do have to be connected to the web to update and access your data.  A company named Joyent is trying to remedy this situation with a product called Slingshot.  The idea with Slingshot is simple: Write one set of code for your web app and desktop app, and provide a means for the desktop app to edit and add data when you're not connected to the web, and sync it up when you grab an internet connection again.
The really neat thing about Slingshot is that you are writing one set of code, and you're getting your web application, mac app, and windows app in one felled swoop.  You also get the ability to add desktop-app features to the application, like drag-and-drop file control.  You also get much of the functionality right out of the box - there isnt much you have to do to package an application like this.  Finally, it's sitting on top of the Ruby on Rails web framework, which, from personal experience, is just about the easiest to work with and most feature-rich web framework I've encountered.  
The only question I have is that while an extension like this is certainly valuable now, it comes on the heels of very rapid development of internet connection infrastructure.  So while the development is interesting, I think more valuable will probably be the day when searching for an internet connection isn't exactly an adventure in itself.  

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