Arpit Mathur, our Flash wiz at CIM, has posted a nifty summary of different approaches being taken to extend the browser’s capabilities to the desktop.
To the list, let me add a few more desktop development platforms, that are network leveraging:
Firefox, irregardless of Prism, is already a capable sometimes-connected desktop application environment (witness Songbird – an open source project I might dig into, because I am just unhappy with the state of current mp3 players). However, Prism sure does seem interesting and worth keeping an eye on.
And while Arpit did cover the Flash side of things (Air), I love contemplating Flex+Python or Flex+Java approaches. Bruce Eckel’s article in Artima on the subject maps to the way I think. There is a lot of re-use and maintenance problems you solve when you layer an application that way.
An earlier project I worked on was a communications application that utilized a Flash UI hosted in a C# application. It worked intriguingly well.