Mike Chambers, of Adobe has an excellent podcast this week, and he has become an absolute must listen for anyone who is interested in Flash as a Platform or Rich Internet Applications. This week, he talks about some exciting things. A snippet from his list of topics: "Discussion Panel: Flash as a Platform" and "Is the Operating System becoming irrelevant to application development".
There was a discussion panel at Flash In the Can on 'Flash as a Platform' and it sounds like some very cool ideas came up that are applicable to Rich Internet Applications. One of the discussion points was that applications are moving to a layer above the operating system. The question that followed was "is the OS relevant as an Application platform" and I think it still is (more on that later). But the main benefit in my mind of working on the layer above the OS is that it opens up more and more devices/platforms to run your application on. When you can build an application and have it run on PocketPCs, mobile phones, XBoxes AND PCs, why on earth would you want to develop for a specific OS?
Now, as someone at the conference mentioned, there are some things (the example was AutoCAD) that would be nearly impossible to do within an RIA, but I'm with Mike - as hardware gets cheaper, broadband gets faster and the applications that "run" RIAs become more powerful, the performance implications become smaller and smaller. That's what's so exciting, that down the road (albeit not tomorrow) we can potentially run AutoCAD "above the OS" without any performance hit. Think about a web based AutoCAD that you can access via a tabletPC and take to a site to make changes on the fly. All stored on the web for access anywhere.