Wednesday, November 8th, 2006
Aza Raskin spoke at The Ajax Experience about the desktop being dead. The talk was entertaining, and he kindly posted his slides.
He has followed up the talk with a question: Is Converging Towards the Desktop Good? in which he takes the side of “No.”.
In 2004, Google chose to use one nascent technology, Ajax, to create an e-mail service: since there didn’t exist any Ajax toolkits that allowed them to reduplicate the desktop on the web, they were constrained to think simply, “how can we work with Ajax and the web to make email humane?”
Their answer was something that was actually more humane than any desktop e-mail client already in existence. What’s even more interesting is that traditional desktop developers had long been able to create an email client as humane as Gmail–but they never did, because UI toolkits made it so easy to create something that was familiar, that was the same, that was inhumane.
You cannot be better without being different.
The desktop-like web toolkits being developed today endanger innovation by entrenching us in familiarity of the past. We need to remember that there is something better than the desktop in many of today’s web applications, and we need to carry this innovation with us as we move forward to create new tools and new interfaces.
Do you agree or disagree?
Posted by Dion Almaer at 7:43 am