It seems that Rich Internet Applications are finally on the march. I think the best examples are DHTML based. Products like Oddpost, Deluxe Biz and Gmail are showing that it’s possible to use DHTML to build web sites that aren’t a series of flat web pages that a user clicks through. Instead these sites behave like applications with seamless user experiences that eliminate page refreshes and react to user actions instantaneously. The result is a more compelling, productive and engaging web site. I think we will see a lot more of this for two reasons: the above examples show other developers what’s possible and modern browsers (IE 5+ and Mozilla 1.4+) are providing good and relatively consistent DHTML support on over 95% of PCs.
In addition to DHTML, I like Laszlo. They provide LZX, an XML based scripting language for developing Web apps. The apps are compiled into Flash movies. In other words, you can use Laszlo to develop an application and then deploy it into any web browser as a Flash file. Laszlo has made two recent changes that I think will help them greatly: they’ve made the core platform open source and they will offer serverless deployment of Laszlo apps.