Application browser

Ok – allow me to pretend as an expert. Now if I got my definition of a web browser right, it is an application that will let a use interact with text and other elements on a web page. Right !! So a Web browser is an application, and so if that is the case, why are we running another application inside an application ?

For example, let us take Writely or what is that Google spreadsheet called – Ah Yes! just Google Spreadsheets I guess – Once again, why I am running a word processor and a spreadsheet, both applications, inside another application –

Now, back to basics – A web browser lets users view web pages, and follow the hyperlinks to other web pages, and then submit some forms for querying information. This is all good – It has served the purpose –

Now that we have plenty of “AJAX based applications” which give the user the so-called “rich client” feel, isn’t it time to create an “Application browser” ?

I find it so amusing when I see developers scratching their heads over an IFrame issue or a Javascript problem, working with AJAX applications.

Java Webstart for one comes close to that – I love Swing, and Java Webstart is a great start in the direction of an Application browser. A shortcut to the application is created on your desktop, and then when you double click, voila, Webstart downloads the application, and you are ready to use.

Can’t Google create a single shell-like application, which can run all of its applications in that single shell, and not have to open a browser window. Let the shell present a menu to list all its applicatins, and then let the user select the application, and you have an application browser. If you can write loads of Javascript to create of manipulate the UI, you can certainly use that to generate the UI based on XUL or something similar, and then let the user work off it –

Gmail – Boring UI – My old faithful POP client does a much better job of keeping me happy. Thanks Google, atleast you allow POP access.

I would love to see an application, similar to the Web browser, and that can browse a directory of hosted applications, and then access one of them. Now that calls for a whole lot of new protocols and blah blah blah !!! But I think it is time we take the next step in moving on from the web browser, and let it perform what it is supposed to.

If “web applications” have started providing a more rich client feel, then hell, have a rich client that download the application you want, and run it from your desktop.

I sometimes feel surprised at what to did with the 80 GB hard drive, if everything is going to be online – Movies and music, sorry, I get that online too – Offline viewing, maybe, but once wireless broadband takes off in a big way, the need is gone.

Anyways, I think I had fun writing this post – Once in a while, I like to pretend as an expert, and give out “expert advice” – 🙂


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