Not so long ago…
a web server was a large piece of software requiring large expensive hardware to run.
Now one is deployed with all major operating systems, and can be embedded into applications.
a database server required a team of people to maintain and a dedicated server.
Now it is possible to embed one into your application. (Apple does it for you with Core Data).
a web browser was a hard fought venture.
Now a browser is a control that is embedded into many different applications.
Things that were once big are now available as small and nimble and “mashable” in normal applications.
Search is slowly permeating the desktop as an assumption rather than a feature. Microsoft has even taken the essence of a big iron EAI toolset and scheduled it for inclusion as a workflow engine suitable for the desktop.
With these kinds of building blocks it’s an exciting time to be an application developer!