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At Unconferenz I was involved in an interesting discussion about hybrid web / desktop applications with Stuart Malin, Truman Leung and some other UI developers. I've worked on three such applications to date. The technology stacks were:

1. Java/Swing with WebRenderer for the browser component
2. C#/WinForms with IE as the browser component - screenshot
3. C#/WPF with IE as the browser component (experimental project)

The two released projects (1 and 2) were both big hits with our users. We used the desktop frameworks to support drag and drop, clipboard integration (cut & paste), system tray integration and docking frames. The web aspect allowed us to provide rich content that could be updated quickly on the server. We also used the web component for the help systems.

I'd be interested to hear if anyone else in the group is developing hybrid apps. If so, what technologies are you using? What are you doing with the desktop framework versus the web components?

It will be interesting to see if Flex/Air or Silverlight evolve to the point where these hybrid apps are no longer needed. For this to happen they will both need much better desktop integration. Recent versions of the JavaSE platform have laid the groundwork for feature rich cross platform desktop integration.

BTW - A good article on this subject was just published on TechCrunch.

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