I’m a firm believer in the philosophy that more and more of our application interaction is going to be moving online. As the sophistication of browser technology and bandwidth internet connections grows, more and more computing power can be placed into a browser-based framework. I think the first, true example of this was Hotmail so many years ago. Previously email was the domain of the desktop application (with the exception of hard-core and/or traditional PINE users) and with the advent of Hotmail it became a web-based tool available to the general public.
The plethora of online tools (like currency calculators, weather monitors etc) have augmented that reality, and the number of GIS applications (like GoogleMaps) is fueling that growth.
Although I don’t believe these tools will render desktop computing obsolete, they will shift the focus of development.
What’s truly interesting, is the emerging credibility of “Web Development”. Previously web developers were really hyped-up graphics artists in many people’s opinions. However, with the growing number of web-based applications, it’s becoming more and more important to follow strict software-development processes, which is something that I’ve always tried to push at Lewis Media. It’ll be interesting to see how the marketplace and industry responds to it – I think it will be to our advantage considering we have a headstart in the process field, but we’ll see 🙂