Recent releases have shown that the line between the desktop and the internet is officially blurred. Yahoo, Google and now IBM all have browser platforms to aid in the development of richer internet applications that run somewhere in between the desktop and the internet.
A few weeks ago, Yahoo released an update to their BrowserPlus platform:
Last Friday we quietly pushed an update to the BrowserPlus™ platform. This update includes better browser support and a couple new features. More important, it makes it possible for anyone to use BrowserPlus on their own website to implement better in-browser uploading and desktop notifications.
Part of the “in-browser uploading” is the ability to drag and drop files from your desktop onto a web application in order to upload the files. This type of feature has long been a problem for web applications. The ability to use BrowserPlus on any website is also a big win for users.
ReadWriteWeb had an excellent first look at IBM’s new Blue Spruce platform. Blue Spruce aims to be a “fully browser-based application development platform”. In the article, they highlight why IBM would be pursuing a browser-based platform:
Customers have been consistently telling them for 1-1.5 years now that they don’t want to do installs anymore. Their customers want the rich experience that desktop apps have traditionally provided, but they want to have it in the browser. Collaboration and sharing data is also a trend that IBM is tapping into with Blue Spruce.
Google spread its Gears influence 2 months ago when it released Gears availability for Safari. With all of this browser platform development, web development is changing. Many of your favorite websites and tools now have Gears integration. My two favorite applications, Google Reader and Remember The Milk, both support Gears offline synchronization. Each of these platforms are somewhat different as well. Gears is currently used to support offline storage for many applications. BrowserPlus provides services to allow better interactivity of web applications. Blue Spruce looks like it wants to be the platform on your PC that runs your applications.
These all take different approaches to the same idea that was so popular years ago, “the browser is the operating system”. Finally, this might actually be true.