Desktop Application Development : Is there a future?

Whenever I speak to any company which has been developing desktop based applications, one of the questions that comes out is what are the options one has for building a desktop application today?

If you just look at the Microsoft stack, i guess there is not much happening with both Winforms and WPF. No one knows the roadmap for Silver light apps as well. I have never seen anything promising on the java side for desktop application development.

So, should we consider this as a signal that desktop applications will die? I was under that impression till the time i saw HTML5 as the way to develop Metro applications. If Microsoft is doing something in this front, then are there any one else doing something similar.

I posted this question to asksendhil.com and got myself redirected to Google Packaged Apps. If you are into Solutioning, you will have a better feeling now some options to propose for desktop development.

Packaged apps deliver an experience as capable as a native app, but as safe as a web page. Just like web apps, packaged apps are written in HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS. But packaged apps look and behave like native apps, and they have native-like capabilities that are much more powerful than those available to web apps.

Packaged apps have access to Chrome APIs and services not available to traditional web sites. You can build powerful apps that interact with network and hardware devices, media tools, and much more.

Packaged app pages always load locally. This allows apps to be less dependent on the network. Once a user installs an app, they have full control over the app’s lifecycle. Apps open and close quickly, and the system can shut apps down at any time to improve performance. Users can fully uninstall apps.

Without any effort on your part, your apps will launch offline. But you will need to put some effort into making sure user data is stored locally while offline and then synced back up to your data server once online.

Packaged apps are modified web apps. You use the same code, frameworks, and tools of the web platform to write your apps. Some browser features have been removed, other web APIs have been disabled or changed to improve security and programming practices.
http://developer.chrome.com/trunk/extensions/apps/about_apps.html
http://developer.chrome.com/trunk/apps/first_app.html

In this process I also found frameworks like Pokki, which helps you develop desktop applications using HTML5.

My belief on HTML5, JavaScript and CSS3 as the standard for developing applications (Web, Desktop, Mobile) in the future is getting stronger and stronger every day.

In summary, JavaScript based Packaged Apps or Windows 8 Metro Apps are just another language binding to do the desktop development. The future will converge on this language binding (JavaScript) because it makes us chase the WRITE ONCE/RUN ANYWHERE (Smart tv, Tablet, Mobile, Desktop PC, Browser based Web Application) dream again.
The only exception to that is, this time it is JAVASCRIPT and not JAVA.

Happy Learning!!!

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3 thoughts on “Desktop Application Development : Is there a future?

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