When you think of software as a service, a few technologies come to mind:
Remoting: This is the ability to run an application remotely. This is something that you have seen with Project Twitch where you can try AutoCAD, Inventor, or Revit without installing them. You run them using your browser. Instead of your own computer, the applications run on remote servers that you are connected to via the internet.
Streaming: Streaming is the ability to install an application little by little. You download and install just enough of the application to get you started. As you use the application the rest is downloaded and installed. The download and install can come from a remote server or a USB key connected to your computer. The advantage of streaming is that you do not have to download the entire application and install the entire application before being able to use it. Unlike with remoting, the application does run on your local computer instead of a remote server.
Sandboxing: This is a relatively new technology that you might not be familiar with yet. Think of a child's sandbox. It is a safe place to play that is sectioned off from the rest of the backyard. Now think of how installs work. Installers place files in several locations on your computer and make numerous registry updates to allow the application to run. Imagine if all of that file and registry goop were condensed into one file - a sandbox.
Autodesk Labs is offering a preview of a sandboxing technology for the Inventor Fusion Technology Preview. You download InentorFusionTP31.exe and run it. No install required. The Inventor Fusion Technology Preview runs on your machine as if you had installed it, but you get to skip that step. If you are not an Inventor user and have not yet obtained the Inventor Fusion Technology Preview yet, we'd love for you to try the sandbox process.
You can let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to your comments.
Trying new ways to deliver technology previews is alive in the lab.