Web Services are Evolving

Published on: 20/04/2007

Web Services are Evolving

Apollo uses web development techniques to present information on the desktop.

Web services are evolving, becoming more powerful and as a result more complicated than ever before This evolution is being hailed as a new age for the Internet, commonly referred to a Web 2.0. For developers this evolution has resulted in a fresh challenge; web sites are now more than ever seen by the user as applications. Much like their Operating system based counterparts, these applications are expected to be feature rich, ergonomic, and highly intuitive.

Developers aided by increasingly powerful programming tools, and advanced AJAX techniques are now more then ever equipped with the necessary weapons to develop web applications that feel like desktop applications.

As a direct result of this many developers have began creating web application suites that mimic the Computer Desktop; featuring drag & drop functionality with multiple data windows these applications essentially strive to be Windows on the Web. Web Services are Evolving!

This Web Desktop revolution has blurred the lines between your PC and the web, and although this continuity can in many ways be seen as a good thing it also has its draw backs, not the least of which is user expectation and understanding. With web applications resembling Windows, users find themselves expecting to drag information from their browser to their desktop and vice versa, and although this kind of functionality is sometimes implemented through the use of technologies such as WebDav, it is not mainstream, and rarely provides the kind of seamless integration the user expects.


This failing has not gone unnoticed! Bridging the gap between the Desktop and the Web are a range of new exciting technologies that will allow developers to easily create applications that allow users to share information between there PC and the Internet, probably the biggest of which is Microsoft Windows Vistas new “gadget” technology. This allows developers to build applications that sit on the desktop and communicate with one or a number of Web Services, these currently range from simple weather information services, to order tracking facilities and further still to virtual hard drives for online document management systems.

Vista Gadgets
Vista Gadgets leverage existing web content onto the desktop.

Another big contributor is Adobe with its new Apollo runtime. This will allow developers to use their existing development skills (Flash, HTML, DHTML) to build and deploy Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) that run on the desktop, whilst communicating with Web based services.

Webree has been working with the Web / Desktop integration philosophy for some time. Currently we have an AppBar (Desktop Application Toolbar) that allows users to work seamlessly with our online application suites without opening a traditional browser, and we are prototyping both Apollo and .Net based solutions to further bridge the gap between our Web based technologies and the users desktop.