One thing that has always made Lotus Notes stand out above any other application development environment, is it’s ability to replicate data and design to different servers and/or laptops. This has made the development of online / offline versions of applications trivial. In general “it just worked(tm)”.
While the Web (2.0) applications are taking the world in storm and SaaS is what everybody is talking about, there’s still a wide gap, when it comes to working offline. A lot of people need to work offline: On a plane, on the train or in a secluded chalet in the mountains. All of the fancy on-line browser apps fall very very short. Even though there are more and more places that are connected, these connections (through mobile phones for example) are slow and quite expensive. So offline functionality is (and will likely be for quite some time) a very important proposition for applications.
While I enjoy developing Rails apps, that “litte” bit, the missing off-line functionality, has left me unsatisfied. There are, after all, only so many things that you can do in social web 2.0 apps.
Now Joyent have announced Slingshot and it seems, that at least parts of this replication functionality is coming to Rails applications. I can’t wait to see this happening, and I’ll be very interested in trying this out.
Kudos to the Joyfolks for tackling this!