Here’s a thought from the future:
- The browser is the platform.
- Microsoft has embraced this and has released Office as an ASP.NET 2.0 Ajax application for enterprises.
- Microsoft is continuing its push into ‘Software as a Service’
- You can now rent Office XML Application Server for Windows Server 2007
- All of your enterprise users, using IE7.0, Firefox 2.1, Opera 16, or Safari can now access all their office applications from their desktop. (No, IE8.0 still won’t be out, but Firefox will be at 25% marketshare, and I’m not even going to guess at what Firefox will be alled then — how about ‘Burning Rabbit’ ?)
- Here’s the catch — When users click on that ‘Microsoft Word’ button (or any of the office apps), a local application doesnt load. It loads a rich web application that closely mimics what we now think of as word.
- All of the users have their own document storage on your Windows Server
- All of the users have access to their documents seamlessly through existing methods (the remote storage automatically shows up in a user’s ‘my documents’ subfolder, apple’s finder/searchlight, etc)
- Users can specify permissions on these centrally stored files, and they are easily shared — people don’t have to navigate to a random person’s desktop to get a document they shared, and a person doesn’t have to email it to them. The documents on the server are all searchable by the user’s local desktop (depending on permissions).
- When it’s time to upgrade to a new version of Office XML Application Server, the upgrade is done on the server, once, and all clients automatically have their update.
I know some of this isn’t new OR likely, but it’s fun to take an old idea that was once pure ‘out there’ thinking and bring it down into the realm of “I see how this is possible even if it’s not either soon or likely”
Also, who knows if it will even be microsoft who does this? Maybe it’s SUN, maybe this will all play out on linux desktops first, with “OpenOffice Network Server” — who knows. I think the day of the browser as a platform IS coming, and I think we’re going to see REAL productivity applications created this way, and I think it’s going to come to the enterprise first.
They’re the ones who can see the real cost savings and increased productivity — through ease of deployment and upgrades for the former and ease of collaboration in the latter.