Flash apps started out as rudimentary games with lackluster input methods and a cartoonlike look and feel. More and more, however, they resemble native apps. Take Gliffy, for instance — a very attractive, stable Flash app that drives like Microsoft Visio, providing full diagramming capabilities in the browser with nothing more than Flash 7 required on the client side.
These projects, and others popping up all over the Net, represent the next step in Web app delivery, one that will break free of the HTML form and into interfaces that resemble fat apps. Vendors such as Scalent are already writing their UIs in Flash — and are reaping the benefits of a simpler deployment, arguably greater cross-platform support than Java, and a more seamless, attractive user experience to boot.
As the options diversify and improve, it's a safe bet that Web-based desktop apps will reshape the enterprise soon.
-- Paul Venezia
What's your take on the viability of desktop Web apps for the enterprise?
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