I've decided to bite the bullet and write a gadget for the Vista sidebar. If I can figure out how I'm hoping it'll do some funky MOM monitoring stuff so you can see the status of all your servers with pretty lights etc.

In reading up on this I've discovered that sidebar gadgets are written in HTML and Javascript. Why are we still using Javascript in client applications? The effects of systems such as AJAX are very cool, but I can't help feeling we're pushing the limits of a language that was designed a long time ago and for very much simpler tasks.

I guess some of the limiting factors in moving on from JS (talking beyond the sidebar now) have been cross-browser compatability (don't laugh), and appealing to a broad developer base. If you want your application to be accessible by everyone then you need to appeal to the lowest common-denominator technology. Tools like Atlas and WPF/E help mitigate these things, but I can't help feeling we need to take a step back and work out the best way for rich web clients to work, now that we're pushing so far beyond the static pages of ten years ago.

Update: Okay, I'm not the only one to have asked this, looks like we might get WPF support in the sidebar eventually :-)