I know that I may be really late with this, but I recently came across Mibbit, a web based IRC client. This is another instance of the recent rush of applications being transported over to the web platform.
In the early days, there were webbased email services. Like Hotmail (or the third CGI script I’ve ever written – the firewall/proxy in my school only supported traffic on port 80 and I didn’t know about tunnels, nor did I have the infrastructure to create a fitting one).
Then came office applications like Google’s offering. And of course games. Many games.
Of course there were webbased chats in the earlier days. But they either required a plugin like java or flash or they worked by constantly reloading the page where the chat is appearing on. Neither of the solution provided what I’d call a full IRC-client. And many of the better solutions required a plugin to work.
mibbit is though. It provides many of the features a not-too-advanced IRC user would want to have. Sure. Scripting is (currently) absent, but everything else is here. In a pleasant interface.
What’s interesting is the fact that so many applications can nowadays be perfectly represented on the web. In fact, XHTML/CSS is perfectly fitted to present a whole lot of data to the user. For IRC for example, there is among the desktop clients to use HTML for their chat rendering aswell.
So in case of IRC clients, both types of applications sooner or later reach the same state: Representing chat messages in good-looking HTML while providing a myriad of features to put off everyone but the most interested and tech-savy user :-)
Still. The trend is an interesting thing to note. As more and more applications hop over to the web, we get more and more independant of infrastructure and OSes. Sometime in the future, maybe we’ll have the paradise of just having a browser to access all our data and applications from wherever we are.
No more software installations. No more viruses and spyware. No more software inexplicably stopping to work. And for the developer: Easy deployment of fixes, shorter turnaround times.
Interesting times ahead indeed.