So is Gmail a rich Internet application? Sure. Although that label most often applies to Java, .Net, and Flash clients, Gmail shows that Web clients can join the club too. But crucially, Gmail's architecture is open to other kinds of rich clients, too. It doesn't have to be a zero-sum game. [Full story at InfoWorld.com]
There's been a fair bit of blog commentary about this column. I've also received a number of emails, several noting that even an envelope-pushing Web UI such as Gmail's can be fruitfully enhanced with Java, .NET, or Flash.
Here's the five-minute video: Flash, high-res, 30MB, Flash, low-res, 6MB, QuickTime, high-res, 10MB4
I think you'll agree that Flickr's selective and strategic use of Flash is enlightening. So what's this got to do with Gmail and the future of Web UI? I suggest there's no one-size-fits-all solution. In many cases, what will make the most sense is a hybrid application that uses Web 1.0 for all it's worth, pushes the DHTML envelope, and weaves in rich-client technology where it adds the most leverage.
1 Webshots album here, Flickr album here.
2 Yes, I'm aware that Webshots' strong suit is its downloadable/installable photo management application. For my purposes here, though, I'm just exploring what can be done through the Web and on the fly.
3 Full disclosure: I know, and have hung out with, some of the Flickr folks.
4 I'm still sorting out the tools situation here. Too many players, too many formats, too many moving parts.
Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2004/10/26.html#a1102