Daring Fireball: The Location Field Is the New Command Line is a few months old, but I just got around to reading it.
Web apps are really great for cross-computer compatibility. Now that I work on my linbox during the day and just use my mac for my own computing at home, I appreciate being able to use, say, del.icio.us (or reddit) to move bookmarks back and forth. I have fastmail.fm for my mail, but I mostly use Mail.app or Thunderbird to access it — the magic of imap means I don’t have to use a web app to get cross-computer access to my mail.
I had a lot of fun recently putting together a shopping cart for a small local web-based business. I was at first trying to adapt an open source cart to their needs, but their needs were very well defined and peculiar, and I was spending more time taking unwanted features *out* of the carts I was looking at than it would have taken me to write a new one, so I trashed it and wrote a new one. Perl/MySQL. Pretty simple. I didn’t touch the frontend at all, I did it all using HTML::Template and handed the templates over to the site owners to customize. It worked out great.
I enjoyed designing that web app, and it’s not that hard. Maybe I’ll try and think of a project I want to work on of my own that I can do some neat stuff with.
Not that John Gruber is Nostradamus, but I think it’s true that there is still a big future in hot web apps, and I’d like to have more skill with that than I have.