Originally Posted by wilsonng
The world is slowly turning into a cloud-based environment and moving away from the desktop metaphor. Using a web based environment, it is a compile once, use anywhere concept.
The emergence of web apps that can actually compete with desktop apps is certainly exciting. There are a lot of advantages for the developer (rapid development, single-point deployment and updates, etc) and the consumer (ubiquitous access, local data storage not required, etc). And the gap between web apps and desktops apps continues to narrow everyday.
But maybe I'm just old school, because I will always choose a good desktop app designed specifically for my platform over even the very best web app
, especially if it's an app I'm going to use constantly like OmniFocus.
In my opinion, well-designed desktop apps feel better, have better performance, offer more features, integrate better with the OS and other apps, and are overall more fun to use. As good as Google Docs is, I still reach for iWork unless collaboration is a key requirement. Gmail is swell, and Apple's MobileMe Mail client really quite beautiful, but I still use Mac OS X's desktop Mail client 99% of the time. Google Reader is handy to have in a pinch, but it frankly pales in comparison to NetNewsWire (which has flaws of its own, but is still a better option IMO).
My opinions may change over time (look how far web apps have come in just the past 5 years), but I don't feel like we're there yet. At this point, I'm much more interested in desktop apps that function as a front-end to the cloud rather than actual native web apps. I want desktop apps that communicate and share their data online, whether that be for syncing devices, backup, social aspects, or whatever. To me, this seems like the best of both worlds.
Funny thing is, I've spent a good part of my professional life as a web developer (as I'm sure many others on this forum have). But I'm not ready to give up my lovely Cocoa apps. Surely I'm not the only one who feels this way? :-)
PS - The term "desktop app" is probably not a good choice here. What I really mean is "native platform app" (e.g. OmniFocus for Mac and OmniFocus for iPhone).