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Thursday, 29th November 2007

Software's Future: Melding the Web and the Desktop

Software's Future: Melding the Web and the Desktop

Until recently, most software ran entirely on the user's computer. This so-called "desktop" software -- which includes everything from Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office to computer games --relies on the processing power of the individual user's PC and provides the ability to store files locally on the user's hard drive. While desktop software still dominates, the web has given rise to a new breed of application -- exemplified by products like Google Docs, the company's online word processor, spreadsheet and presentation software, and Salesforce.com's enterprise sales-support products -- that runs within a web browser. These "webtop" applications use the local computer only to run the web browser and a few basic extensions (like Adobe's Flash Player) and use the processing power and storage of banks of computers accessed remotely over the Internet.

But as this drive toward hybrid desktop/webtop software illustrates, there are limits to both approaches, and the future for software may be a blend of the best features of both.

Source: Knowledge@Wharton


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