Mitch Kapor has written an interesting post on web application interfaces. He focuses particularly on the gmail interface. Pushing the state of the art with respect to what can be done in a browser is pretty exciting I think. It was at the core of what we were doing at Kenamea. It's pretty encouraging to hear him saying:
for any new application project I get involved in starting, my strong predisposition is to think in terms of a web interface as primary.Not just some applications, but any application. Even applications where the user sits in front of the app for many hours a day. Being able to delivery the kind of productivity required for those sorts of applications using a web development model will be a fantastic thing.
We've had this technology for some time - heck we were building "rich client" browser applications at Relevance in 1997, but only now is it really becoming ubiquitous. One great thing about the ascendancy of Firefox is that we finally have a good cross-platform base upon which to build interesting dynamic web applications.
The final frontier does look to be offline use. We had some of this working at Kenamea some years ago; web applications that you could run regardless of whether or not the network was connected to your device. Then for a while there it looked like Adam Bosworth was going to make it happen at BEA. I'm sure someone will step in and solve this...