I see the offline web application debate has opened again with James writing one post here. I’m a firm believer that the best experience is through a “thick” client with offline abilities in addition to the same applications also being browser accessible for times when you maybe are away from a machine with a thick client. With my old engineering hat I used to love the fact that with the thick clients you would leverage the underutilised client PC resources to the benefit of generally scarce server resources (memory and CPU).
With all this in mind its interesting to see more of the web 2.0 players stepping into the desktop client arena, Zimbra being the latest that I’ve spotted. It’ll be interesting to see how this field matures over the coming years.