In his keynote at VMworld last week, VMware CTO Steve Herrod showed a very interesting project called AppBlast. According to this news release thereafter, “Project AppBlast will provide the universal delivery of any application, including Windows-based applications, to any device supporting HTML5, enabling instant remote access to applications without the heavy footprint of the underlying operating system.”
As we already know, RDP and PCoIP are effective ways for remotely accessing your desktop computers including the applications. Why do we need AppBlast? AppBlast leverages latest HTML5, therefore you don’t need to install anything on the client side as required by RDP and PCoIP. You can simply use any browsers that support HTML5. Also, instead of exposing everything, AppBlast can control what applications are exposed to a particular user. Other than these differences, you can think of AppBlast as RDP client in a browser.
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If you missed VMworld, here is a video demo of AppBlast:
This project reminds of a similar project by an IBM India team before. It’s called Eclifox – Web based access to Eclipse IDE which is a powerful application for software development. With Eclifox, you can use a browser that supports XUL. Implementation wise, Eclifox is an Eclipse plugin that includes a Jetty Web server. It receives events from remote browser and forwards them to the Eclipse workbench. It also converts Eclipse GUI SWT components to XUL and sends back to browser. This page has a nice diagram showing how the system works.