today on irc i heard tell of a kde library that someone is hacking on that interfaces with a certain well known social networking site's api. (i'll leave everything rather anonymous to protect the innocent and so as not to steal their thunder should this library see the light of day =) my first thought was "woah, cool; we should build a plasmoid around that!" the library author then said something to the effect that that would be a really cool feature to have: social networking melded with your desktop.
in a related vein, i've been keeping one eye open on red hat's mugshot project. i think it's mostly a solution looking for a problem when it comes to end users, though i agree with the stated problem it is attempting to solve of "open source social networking server software". regardless, it's interesting because they are building a desktop interface to it.
for years and years now i've listened to people proclaiming the end of rich client computing. if you haven't heard, it's been slain with a fell blow at the hands of web applications. this meme predates the turn of the century. the reason this is, in my opinion, complete crap is that it mistakes what the internet is, and web applications are.
they are a means of achieving non-locality of data and function. this is a very compelling idea that has all sorts of amazing ramifications. social networking sites such as myspace and facebook are one of them; youtube is another. informational non-locality allows not only one to access their information anywhere they can connect to the network, it allows other people's information to mix, mingle and synthesize with their own. really cool stuff.
but, and here's the salient point, it isn't a user interface.
web browsers are being pushed and punished to house interfaces and over time these methods and slowly becoming more and more similar to the toolkits and methods we use in rich client computing, only they are more resource intensive, less mature and ... well .. suck. when we drool because some webmail app allows us to drag a mail from one folder to another, we ought to step back and check ourselves.
face it: we're excited about ... drag and drop?!
i won't even go on about how the internet is not ubiquitous now, nor will it be for several more decades at best.
now, i will give the "web 2.0 pwns your children" crowd this much: rich client computing will die a slow and painful death if it doesn't adapt to the new concepts of information non-locality. rich client software needs to be able to extend out beyond the confines of your desktop/laptop/tablet/handheld and into the wider world. more importantly, it needs to be able to meld that reality with the local one.
so .. as i was saying, it would be really cool to have a plasmoid that interacted with that social networking site's api. ;)