The Cloud, WebApps, and Desktop Apps

In 2008, I published this article on and in 2021, I migrated it to Infinite Ink. I have not yet updated it and, unfortunately, some of the links are broken.

Cloud computing has been around since the beginning of the internet and, actually, in the beginning, it was just the cloud. Back then you telnetted to a host in the cloud and ran apps on that cloud-based host that accessed cloud-based data. For example this is how email, Usenet, and ftp worked. Let’s call that Web 0.0. The revolution that brought the internet to the masses was the creation of desktop apps that could access the cloud. Let’s call that Web 1.0. With Web 2.0 there was a lot of excitement about moving apps off the desktop and onto the cloud. These web-based apps made it easy to run your apps and access your data independent of what desktop computer you were using. To me this was pretty much the same as Web 0.0, except instead of living in telnet windows, you lived in browser windows. Now people are getting excited about moving their web-based apps to the desktop. For example, look at all the desktop-based Twitter apps. And look at all the excitement about rich Internet application platforms such as Adobe AIR, Google Gears, Microsoft Silverlight, Mozilla Prism, all of which bring WebApps to the desktop. So are we back at Web 1.0 or is this Web 3.0? Or maybe Web 2.5?⁠


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