Stefano Mazzocchi describes how to do “a one-click installation of our java-based webapps inside your browser”. The Firefox plugin includes everything that would otherwise have lived on the server: Jetty (web server and servlet container), Lucene for indexing, an RDF database, etc. etc.
At a stroke, you turn a web application into a desktop application. (Well, you’d need to do the necessary XUL work to make it all user-friendly in Firefox). The problem now, according to Mazzocchi, is to figure out how to slim Cocoon down enough to make this look a little more elegant, i.e. to make the plugin smaller than the browser. But for environments such as where I imagine the MODS editor being used, this could be tremendously useful, even if the plugin remains a big one-time download. That’s basically staff workstations where we want to merge the online and desktop environments (in my mental map, that’s Rhyno country); and also potentially on users’ desktops, to maintain their own local bibliographies (D’Arcus country).
I wonder if it could be done in such a way that you install the framework once and then easily install little sub-plugins into it. Designing an XML-based desktop app would be as easy as building a sitemap that knew where to pick up some XML and what to do with it, writing some stylesheets or CForms definitions, and doing some XUL. GreaseMonkey on steroids… In any case, this along with Sylvain Wallez’ announcement of AJAX support in CForms brings Cocoon much closer to the desktop.