What this means
This means that we search in multiple places for the same things, we sign up to multiple websites for different things and end up with many different accounts at different places spamming us with updates in our inboxes. Luckily e-mail clients have evolved to a point where we can filter and categorise our mail, but the web itself fails to keep itself organized.
The internet is about data exchange. The web is about data presentation. Often we are interested in the data so we go to the web to have it displayed. The displays are however inconsistent and spread all over the place. Now if we just had access to the data in a uniform display... if only. This is where aggregators and data APIs step in. The problem with these things is that they are few and far between, and their implementations are different. So we cant just plug one application into multiple internet sites and suck information into our own user interfaces. A desktop application running multiple forum sites which you are on will for instance work much faster than a website that you have to go to. It just pulls the data from the various sites. The interface and functions are the same. It's easy to work with.
I Know I bitch alot
I know I bitch alot about the web vs the desktop. The reason is that standards do matter. One standard like RSS has made a big difference in the usability of websites. Now you can see updates to your favourite sites very easily, without loading all the pages. Now imagine if facebook and other sites worked similarly. Why are the web and the desktop seperate in the first place? Why are we constantly booting up our computers just to launch a browser to do what is important when the softare we have should be capable of that. How can we achieve that?
Dynamic UIs and Scripted applications
What makes the web the web is 2 things:
- Dynamic user interfaces that are stored at a single place and can be updated centrally
- Dynamic code that runs on a central server
So why cant desktop applications do the same? There were attempts at this. Java was one, but failed to an extent because java application where big downloads if they had to happen every time. Ad revenue is a big driver for internet sites. With apis and local running applications ads might dissappear, leaving no revenue stream for websites.
If I Was tasked with solving the problem
I believe that there are frameworks and ideas trying to solve this problem currently. Like Adobe AIR and and others... I don't know if these will take off and what the implication will be for web applications.
And there goes more of my rabbling