Dear desktop, welcome back

Dear desktop,How are you doing? Are you still hanging in there?

Dear desktop,

Dear desktop, welcome back

How are you doing? Are you still hanging in there? It's been tough, I know. People have talked about you being dead for a while but you don't listen, you just keep moving along. I'll admit, there were some dark times for you. It seemed like only yesterday that every cool new thing was a browser-based application. People were talking about storing everything in the cloud and how the operating system was dead. Vista didn't help matters much and then even Leopard didn't do much to further your cause. If operating systems are dead, the desktop is basically dead, right? Or at least that's what everyone told you.

But you knew. You understood that the desktop is more than just an operating system. It's hardware, storage space, a persistent connection and more control over the entire software experience. Everyone seemed to forget but you read your Maximum PC and kept smiling. It worked out. The desktop is exciting again in a number of interesting ways.

First, people are starting to build desktop applications again. Microsoft, the king of the desktop, has overhauled it's .NET programming model so that people can create great looking desktop applications. It's called WPF and I bet you're pretty excited about that, right? It only runs on Windows but you get hardware acceleration, a great UI and all the shiny bells and whistles of desktop applications. It's like you got a whole new set of clothes. But there's more. Adobe AIR is bringing Flash and HTML/JavaScript to the desktop. People can use web technologies to start building applications for you. It's cross platform so that means it won't matter who operating system you're running. Then there are things like Google Gears and Mozilla Prism. They use you to go offline and to provide a better web experience. With Prism you can turn any web site into a desktop application with the click of a button. Google Gears uses a SQLite database stored on top of you to let developers read and write data to it for offline use cases. Microsoft, Adobe, Google, Mozilla - that's a big list. It must feel good to have big names encouraging developers to use you again.

But that isn't the most interesting part, is it? I remember you talking about how you were annoyed so many people were talking about the browser without reminding people that the browser was a desktop application. Now that area is heating up. This dustup between Safari and Mozilla? It's over a desktop application! Why? Because the desktop is important. It's the most valuable place. From there you can control the search path, you can control the experience and you can keep rolling out updates. It's easy to leave a webpage and never come back. But uninstalling a desktop application? A browser? That's harder. And I bet you're excited that browsers are looking more and more like avenues into the desktop. They've got offline storage, extensions, and think about how they'll evolve. More desktop-centric? Seems to be going that way.

So welcome back desktop. We've missed you. So now that everyone is paying attention to you, try not to let it go to your head. The tech crowd is fickle. Just keep showing off and making sure people understand why you're important. I'd also make sure to talk to cloud. She's got a lot of interesting stuff going on. Maybe you two could get some little desktop/cloud babies. That would be the ultimate union. The desktop and the cloud together.