April 11th 2008 Web Technologies on the Desktop
Last week I gave a talk on web security. The talk was loosely based (one might say “inspired”) by my honors thesis. My thesis is specifically about security, but the talk allowed me to explore other areas of interest tangential to my thesis, including:
- Software engineering, and how functional languages can help solve some problems in software engineering;
More importantly, I wanted to talk about the trend in bringing traditionally web-bound languages and technologies into the desktop. The second point is most interesting to me. I’ve long been a fan of Konfabulator’s model of using “simple” technologies like graphics and scripting languages to build full-fledged applications.
Thankfully, desktop computers are powerful enough to make applications built in interpreted, dynamic languages a real possibility. Most applications don’t require the performance of a fully-compiled app. Furthermore, languages like Python and Ruby make it easy to write critical sections in C or C++, and write the rest of the application in Python or Ruby (or whatever scripting language you prefer). Furthermore, languages like Python and Tcl already have pretty nice bindings to GUI libraries.