Is it the age of Web Applications
Now, indeed AJAX is a huge step in the direction of making browser based applications more efficient as in how the data is being handled. Traditional web interface has to reload every time to show any new data and that means redundant traffic over precious bandwidth. AJAX techniques let the client call data as it requires instead of traditional brute force reload. Google’s GMail is one of the first applications to use AJAX in its present avatar and Google Maps perfected the art, though the concept of AJAX itself is not entirely new. Wikipedia has plenty of information on the evolution of AJAX.
Besides that, there are other unavoidable limitations using browser as a user interface. There are certain quirks of each and every browser, and that won’t be very easy to tame for AJAX developers. Moreover, browser based application will be unreliable as the data has to travel through network and there lies the bottleneck. And I haven’t even said anything about security, and what about offline interactions.
The more plausible scenario would be close interaction of web with OS, something like what KDE trying to do with Wikipedia in their planned collaborative development. And what Microsoft calls Smart Applications – applications which interact closely with the Internet, and utilize local computing hardware. Besides, there are unlimited possibilities to develop a user-friendly interface with desktop apps, which a browser cannot provide. There are simply too many browsers to take care of. So OS is certainly not going to be irrelevant. AJAX is exciting and but there are even more possibilities with desktop apps getting “smart”er.