In spite of my enthusiastic passion for the Internet and my history (before coming to Microsoft I worked on “Campus Wide Information Systems” at Idaho State University during the birth of the web, then I ran the second ISP ever in Idaho, etc.), I’ve always been a huge fan of rich clients. Web applications are great for some things, but for an application I’m going to spend a lot of time using, give me a carefully tuned rich client experience any day (whether that be Excel’s spreadsheet interface, Digital Image Suite’s keyboard shortcuts which I know by heart after editing umpteen-thousand pictures so we could print them in the right aspect ratio for my wife to scrapbook, or my trusty emacs text editor).
In an email discussion today with a close former-Microsoftie friend of mine, Mike Hewitt, he captured my sentiments on this subject so beautifully that I have to share the quote:
Online apps are great places to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there…
Ain’t that the truth? Outlook Web Access, for instance, has come a long, long way and is actually pretty decent when it’s your only option, but if I ever have the choice of whether I want to use OWA or the full Outlook client, it’s a no-brainer.
Now if only someone would build a truly decent rich client experience for blogging and interacting with the MSDN forums… Certainly there have been some attempts in this direction, but so far none of them have really done it for me. Ahh well. So many interesting projects, so little time.