I thought that Box.net’s announcement that they’re going full blown ‘drag & drop’ HTML5 was of note for one special reason that hadn’t struck me before with HTML5. HTML5 they say by enabling them to do drag and drop between the web and the desktop, means “the death of desktop software.”
If this is right then it’s not only desktop software that could feel the fatal pinch. Imagine if you will (and I do like imagining) what all this will mean to the healthy well-being of the average corporate intranet. Applications such as Box.net using HTML5 mean that the boundary between not only the web and the desktop, but also that boundary between the intranet and the desktop will also dissolve. Problems I’ve seen in the past such as ‘this is the official intranet, this is the shadow version built on x’ will be legion. Large monolithic intranet CMS such as Autonomy and Opentext will have difficulties maneuvering around these nimble technologies. As will of course that noble and tight ruled fellow, intranet manager.
Because why? Well the intranet is governed at the centre but operates at the periphery (c.f. Lukacs). Users, bless them, will turn to what ever technologies suit their work best. And if these cloud based apps, that lithely slide between the dissolved gaps between the official intranet, their desktop and the cloud, actually help them work better, then thet’ll be used.
It becomes difficult here to really draw out those lines in any clear way between the intranet, the desktop and the cloud.
Imagine further, if you will, what these cloudy apps might do when they become more fully social. They become social widgets, drawn from the cloud to make a personal and work collaborative desktop. Teams could pull these together to make a fusion of what we now see as separate tools – the enterprise social network, the official intranet, the file store, etcetera. The Intranet manager, Infosec and Digital Security guys will have kittens trying to police this.
And more so, not only the ECM companies mentioned above, but also think of SharePoint. 2010 has just been released. It’s going to be 2013 or more before we see the next major release. In the meantime we have 3 years of HTML5 based collaborative apps appearing on the horizon. They could make SharePoint look like a slow old dinosaur. But maybe, just maybe, BPOS, the cloud based SharePoint will respond to this. In any event, it’s sure going to be fun watching the show.