I ran across a bunch of stuff I remember messing with back in 1999 – including HTML Applications contained in an .hta file. Ahh, thatâ€™s right – thatâ€™s how you can make apps using the scripting stuff. By using an .hta file, youâ€™re essentially making an html page which runs without a sandbox, and can call local COM objects and such.
He’s noticed that HTML Applications are a form of Single Page Application (SPA). and has taken a few web apps and converted them to HTA: TiddlyWiki HTA (the original TiddlyWiki itself is a SPA, but not using HTA), Grazr HTA, and Yahoo! Mobile HTA (all are Windows-only and beware they have more permissions than your average web app!) Each of these can now sit in their own Windows taskbar, “kinda like a widget”.
There are, however, limitations, beyond the obvious problem that you have to be running Windows:
I quickly discovered that trying to use the XMLHTTPRequest object with a dynamic URL prompts the user every time, which is defnitely annoying. And, hey, if you didnâ€™t know, I also discovered that Microsoft has a patent on the HTML Desktop app already. Isnâ€™t that nice?
Here’s a nice introduction to HTA by Hyperwrite.