eBay Desktop: Leveraging Platforms on the Desktop

flamenco I spoke, briefly, in my last entry about the concept of a Rich Internet Application (or RIA).  Quite possibly the best example, that I’m familiar with, is that of eBay Desktop.

In perusing the Web 2.0 presentations (last April), I stumbled upon a presentation from Alan Lewis.  You can read more about the presentation, and I highly encourage downloading the slides in .pdf form, here.  (Yes, the entry is very old. . .No, Alan doesn’t update his blog frequently enough)

So, what is eBay Desktop?

Exactly what it says.  eBay on the desktop.  It, in essence, takes all of the things I love about eBay (simple browsing, categories, "watched" items) and enhances those capabilities in a desktop application. I, frankly, had stopped using eBay to a great extent (let’s just say the signal to noise ratio was rather high).  But by using the desktop browsing capabilities, as pictured above, I am able to simply/quickly filter the quality of information without the endless browser load/reload cycle.

More importantly, however, is what eBay Desktop represents.  This programme is a graphically-rich, desktop experience that leveraged existing web services in order to enhance user experience.  This is the future of desktop applications. . .In this application, eBay’s web services were the platform that this (Adobe AIR based) solution leveraged.

There is a place for a web application.  However, the technology solutions offered by major vendors, such as Microsoft WPF and Adobe AIR, greatly simplify the creation of enhanced experiences without the inherent difficulties of web-based solutions (scale, processing power, etc).  Web services, and SDKs simplifying their integration are now available from a wide-range of providers (Storage – Amazon S3, Maps – Google, even Commerce – IP Commerce).  The decision of web vs desktop has been made much more difficult, and more exciting, than in the past.  There is inherent value in a desktop experience and it would be remiss to give it a pass without fully evaluating all options.

You can try eBay Desktop for yourself here.

What’s your perspective? Agree? Disagree? Anything to add? Critiques?
The comment form is below. . .Digg!

November 6, 2007

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