One of the highlights of this week's Web 2.0 Expo was Adobe's "Apollo" runtime. Adobe describes "Apollo" as "a cross-operating system runtime that allows developers to leverage their existing web development skills (Flash, Flex, HTML, JavaScript, Ajax) to build and deploy rich Internet applications (RIAs) to the desktop."

Web apps and desktop apps have their own unique sets of benefits and problems, and Adobe is essentially attempting to blur the line between these two classes of applications with Apollo. During the keynotes on Monday, Kevin Lynch from Adobe showcased some of the apps that are being built on the Apollo runtime, including a rich client for eBay members, Adobe Media Player, and my personal favorite - Virtual Ubiquity's Buzzword, a collaborative word processor that's just so slick.

Virtual Ubiquity - Buzzword

When you compare "Buzzword" to existing online word processors, for example, you'll immediately notice the difference. It looks and feels a lot like a rich desktop application, with beautiful typography, fluid text reflow, speedy performance, and most importantly, offline access. At the same time, it has all the benefits of a web application, like being able to store documents in the cloud (with seamless synchronization for offline access), easy collaboration with other users, and access from any machine in the world with a modern web browser.

I had a chance to meet Rick Treitman, Virtual Ubiquity's CEO, on the Expo floor, and he gave a demo of what they've done so far. It's really quite impressive, and they've given a lot of thought and attention to the design of the application.

I've always firmly believed that the desktop and the web are complementary rather than mutually exclusive (the whole "desktop is dead" thing never flew with me), so it's great to see upcoming applications that take advantage of the best of both worlds.