Monday, June 23, 2008

Gears for Google Docs - Are we there yet?

Google announced Gears support for Google Docs today. If you don't know what Google Gears are - it's a technology that makes web applications work when you're not online. This blog is about Office 2.0, which in turn is about web applications replacing their desktop predecessors. Office Applications(writer, spreadsheet, and presentations) are some of the most critical applications that people use in their daily work-related activities. Google Docs have been available for a while but enjoyed less than stellar adoption, despite their rich feature set. One of the obstacles on the way to adoption was the fact that you couldn't open Google Docs when not online (nowadays it means mostly you're on a plane, at a hotel or other public location where they want to extort $9.95 for a connection, or out and about). Google Gears helps overcome this obstacle by providing access to the files while off-line.

Google Gears support for Google Docs might be that last drop, the catalyst, that will push a lot of people off the fence when it comes to switching to the Google Docs as their primary Office applications.

P.S. Take a look at my other post about running the application in its own window.. Gears applications require the application to be already loaded when you go off-line, so working with them in a separate desktop window rather than the browser helps a lot.

P.P.S. Google Docs is not the only option when it comes to the Gears-supported Office Suite. Zoho (my favorite office 2.0 company) has had Gears supported office suite for several months now.

Google Docs -

Monday, June 09, 2008

Making Web apps behave like Windows apps

I don't know about you, but running web applications in the browser tabs is something that I find less than convenient, even irritating at times. Browser tabbed user interface is great for reading news, articles, and performing an occasional shopping transaction. But when it comes time to using it as a shell for an application, all those extra toolbars and buttons start to get in the way real quick. So lately I've been toying with repackaging the web apps as Windows apps.

Benefits include being able to run each application as a separate process (if one crashes, you don't have to restart the rest), being able to minimize and restore the windows from Windows tray panel (instead of having one browser window for everything), and ability to position the windows independently from each other.

Here are a few of these shells, feel free to try them out and let me know what you think. I for one can't imagine going back to not using them anymore..

The files have .ex~ extension in order to get around browser security checks - you will need to rename them back to .exe (no viruses, I guarantee :)