David Berlind wrote this blog "Corporate PCs: Underpowered for Vista. Overpowered for Writely?" and asked if the computing world should be going back to lower powered computers to run Web-based Applications like Google's Writely instead of ramping up their hardware to run Windows Vista. But in my opinion, the question should be reversed since web applications actually eat up more resources than Windows Vista.
Google's newly acquired Writely should hardly be considered a replacement for Microsoft Office, Word Perfect, OpenOffice.org Write, or any other rich client. The only Web-based word processor or Office Suite that comes close to something like Microsoft Office is ThinkFree Office which is written in Java. But ThinkFree Office makes resource-hogging OpenOffice.org look good by comparison. Just the word processor alone with no data loaded eats up 100 MBs of RAM. Loading up the spread sheet and presentation software will cost you another 200 MBs of RAM. Oh and if you actually want some data with that, you better prepare a Gigabyte of RAM. Vista on the other hand will run on a computer with 128 MBs of RAM (without any Aero Glass eye candy).
Some ask why not come up with a Web-based Office with something like AJAX but the reality is, it's not the panacea some make it out to be. Sun's James Gosling recently gave this interview and talked about the problems of AJAX development. The truth of the matter is, Web-based applications are just a poor way of pushing the presentation layer to the user. If all that is desired is online-only application access, then Citrix is the way to go because it delivers a vastly superior user experience while requiring far less bandwidth and far less resources on the client side.