Web Based Office Apps - Could You Live With It?

Following the recent theme of my entries, I thought I'd pass along an article in on how well web-based office productivity apps hold up (if you don't have another choice). I thought the article was great, and provided some additional insight in the world of web-based applications.

The graphic comes from the Infoworld article: "Can Web-based applications outwit, outplay, outlast the desktop?" by Oliver Rist, read the full article here or download the PDF.

It's a good article, but I was thinking beyond the basics and wondering about other scenarios....

1. What if this was your only choice for these applications? I don't own a computer and my only access is at the local library, will these apps work for me? Would they make me "competitive" (if I'm using them, but my competitor is using MSFT Office or OpenOffice.org)?

2. Are they really ready for business use? Or are they interesting today, better used as "generic" tools, a way to write anywhere, but if I want to do serious work, I use one of the big boys.

3. How about that $100 PC the UN is working on, will these work in that environment? I'm a 14 year old living in a remote village in Africa, can I use these tools?

4. I have the ability to buy and install MSFT Office, would I choose "web only"?

All interesting questions, but the reality is, web-based applications do level the playing field. They provide access to tools that otherwise require much more "resources". They may not be "better" than MSFT Office, but are the good enough for now? Do I believe they will get better in the future? How about future technologies that allow some of the application to reside (in some type of mini-mode) while I'm offline - AJAX has done some interesting stuff, will it go that far (mini apps running on my machine, without all the code bloat of our established standards)? All good questions, all for the future.


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