Comments on: Can’t Catch Me Official blog of Red Sweater Software Sat, 19 May 2012 12:46:28 +0000 hourly 1 By: Igor Sutton Wed, 30 Mar 2011 13:05:16 +0000 I wrote about this here a while ago, and in my opinion, the web gives the minimum common denominator of all platforms while native applications can fully use the device’s potential.

By: Chris Ryland Tue, 23 Feb 2010 21:36:08 +0000 @Ryan: “at which point, haven’t we just almost reinvented X-Windows? (Badly?)”

No, but we’ll have re-invented NeWS badly. ;-)

(NeWS was Goslings attempt a defining an X replacement by speaking Postscript to the client, which was a full Display Postscript interpreter. Now we have Javascript in place of Postscript, which is admittedly an improvement.)

By: Ryan Jay Schotte Sat, 13 Feb 2010 08:51:14 +0000 “I grant you, if the web becomes the desktop, something I find very unlikely, then the web will have in fact won by default.”

…at which point, haven’t we just almost reinvented X-Windows? (Badly?)

By: John Brayton Sat, 30 Jan 2010 21:23:23 +0000 An additional advantage of web apps is circumventing the app store. I can host a web application, accept payment via a mechanism of my own choosing, and never risk rejection from the app store. This is not true of iPhone OS apps, and I fear it may not always be true of Mac apps.

Jens Alfke mentions that typing in your password into a random PC is unsafe. I agree completely, but I don’t think that diminishes the ubiquity argument. If I have my data in a web app, I can access it from my iPhone, my Mac, my Windows PC, and my iPad. I might never log in from a device I do not own or control, but many of us own or control several devices. There is no syncing required, and the web app should run on all devices.

While I always have my phone, I typically prefer to access my data from my desktop computer when it is in front of me.

That said, I agree with most of the original post. I think it is and always will be possible to create more compelling user interfaces with native apps than with web apps. I do not expect to be using a web app equivalent of FastScripts, TextWrangler, Acorn, or XCode anytime soon.

Additionally, apps like Mailplane show the potential of taking a great web application and better integrating it into the native environment.

In my opinion, the more compelling argument for native local apps is complete control of the data. It is crucial to personally ensure that if a webapp disappears you still have your data. In addition, a customer simply cannot ensure that data stored in a webapp is kept confidential.

I expect there to be a strong market for native apps, web apps, and hybrid apps for many years to come.

By: David Leppik Fri, 29 Jan 2010 17:01:25 +0000 Not to take a side one way or the other, but I find it interesting that one of the iPad’s big UI additions is “Popovers”– which are visually modeled on “quotation” dialogs that Netflix and others have been using for years now.

By: Chris Ryland Fri, 29 Jan 2010 14:54:51 +0000 Warren, I think you’ll be surprised at how quickly that happens.

Adobe has claimed they’ll replace all their desktop apps with Flash versions by 2013 or so. (Which I happen to think is an abomination, since Flash itself is an abomination, an attempt by Adobe to define their own operating system, albeit very badly.)

And, with NaCl for things like Chrome, you might see the guts of a video app written in C++ with the GUI in JS, even fairly soon. Well, depends on whether someone wants to really push the envelope or not. It may happen quietly, on the margins of the web world, but then it’ll move out quickly from there.

By: Warren Fri, 29 Jan 2010 14:45:55 +0000 Yep. That’s SO true. I used to pick a fixed point of comparison. (“Wake me up when web-apps are editing video in real time.”). But those fixed points will eventually happen. All technological combinatorics are merely a matter of time. But by that time, what will be possible on the Desktop with the same amount of resources that it takes to do video editing in a web-app? The mind boggles. :-)


By: Chris Ryland Fri, 29 Jan 2010 13:44:53 +0000 (Whoops, sorry: let me retype that:)

Re: the larger question of webapps, I think we’re going to be getting to the point where web apps, when fully using the latest HTML5+CSS3+JS (yes, you’d have to limit yourself to Safari, Chrome, and maybe Firefox, but that’s still 100M browsers; then there’s Chrome Frame for IE), can start rivaling or even beating desktop apps.

By: Chris Ryland Fri, 29 Jan 2010 13:43:47 +0000 Re: APIs, I wonder if would make sense for desktop apps (would have to be always running, or have backgrounded support apps) to have REST-based APIs accessible at http://localhost/appname/… ? Then mashups could happen, at least from the point of view of the Javascript client running locally.

Re: the larger question of webapps, I think we’re going to be getting to the point where web apps, when fully using the latest HTML5+CSS3+JS (yes, you’d have to limit yourself to Safari, Chrome, and maybe Firefox, but that’s still 100M browsers; then there’s Chrome Frame for IE), can start rivaling or even beating web apps.

And, as Ken says, some web apps have cleaned up in a particular space. (Too bad they’re so ugly, like Gmail. ;-)

Once web apps start being locally cached, start using HTML5 local storage, and start synchronizing with the server when they’re able to, we’ll have true offline apps that run like desktop apps. It’s going to be a challenge, but I think it’ll happen.

And, as Ken also points out, the desktop UI paradigm, as beautiful as it can be, is quite a straitjacket compared to what’s possible with web UIs: the layout can be fluid and adapt dynamic, which is wildly harder with desktop GUIs.

By: Daniel Jalkut Fri, 29 Jan 2010 13:26:00 +0000 Interesting points, all. I’m particularly struck and what to respond to a couple points:

@Brent Simmons – As I mentioned on Twitter, your comment here gave me an aha-moment with regard to “the cloud.” I think it’s pretty cool to simply start to think of the cloud as being data stored in a variety of places, but first and foremost, in whatever device you’re carrying around in your pocket. As long as our traveling devices have the capacity to record our day’s activities, and provide a useful subset of all our data, then this should work for lots of workflows.

@Dan Messing, and @Ken – Thank you for raising the very legitimate point that APIs do in fact serve to provide a kind of interprocess communication. I was thinking far too naively, in terms of the open instances of applications in your browser. But if you think of a web app as living and running on the server, with the web instance merely a portal into it, it’s clear that an API-based IPC is indeed a (different, yet valid) mechanism for scripting.