Web App + Offline = Crappy Client App

by Matt 22. April 2008 09:02

I'm with Furrygoat:

Q: What do you get when you cross a browser application with the ability to go offline?

A: A client application without any the goodness that the platform (be it Windows or OS X) has to offer.

Really? Do people really want this?

Don’t get me wrong, I get the convenience of having access to your data from whatever machine your on, but wouldn’t a better model be to store the data in the cloud and provide a good abstraction on top of it so that it could be accessed from either a really well done rich client and a web application?

Point in case: I find it interesting that most of the twitter feeds that I read are created by client applications accessing the twitter API.

Perhaps there’s been so much blah blah blah about web 2.0, social networks, etc., or that folks have just gotten so lazy that they’ve forgotten how to write client applications. It’s sad really.

Another case in point: how many bloggers rave over Windows Live Writer?

I think the future is going to be all about Services + Software. Use the full resources of the desktop when it's available to you, but the data is there in the cloud when you're not. The main benefit of browser based applications is their availability on *any* desktop. The main drawback is the offline question. But these aren't opposing ends of the same spectrum, and don't have to be fixed in the same application.

And when you find people looking to share cached javascripts between sites because the frameworks are too large, you know you're in trouble. This is just a client side install.

Update: I didn't think I'd see such agreement from such A-listers as Yahoo!'s Jeremy Zawodny or (the sadly missed) Dare Obasanjo. That pendulum keeps on swinging...

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