Platform specific "apps" vs. HTML-based "apps"?
Posted Dec 12, 2012 20:45 UTC (Wed) by khim
In reply to: Platform specific "apps" vs. HTML-based "apps"?
Parent article: A simulated FirefoxOS experience
Whatever happened in the war to make everything a web-application?
In short? AppStores happened.
In it's heart the fabled "web applications" is a mixture of mediocre-yet-mandatory programming language, mediocre-yet-mandatory presentation layer and crippled API.
You can ask: Why all this mediocrity ever gained any traction?
Well, web-application have one but important property which was unprecedented for a long time: the deliverability.
It's easy to deliver web application to the end user - and s/he can easy to remove it if she does not like it (just close the web browser window).
Every time web application were tried where they had no such intrinsic head start… they failed. All these active desktops and things like Adobe Flex were failures. Well, some people managed to use them to repackage popular web applications and offer them as kinda-native applications, but in most such cases everything started with success on the web and only later it was converted to native application.
And of course with AppStore deliverability is no longer the problem… so why would you tolerate awful restrictions of webapps if there are no upside? If you just want to show HTML you can easily embed appropriate control in your app, after all.
Some analysis of various apps in apps stores shows that the vast majority of them (75% or more) are almost never downloaded/purchased and just gather digital dust... and that the vast majority of mobile app purchases go to a mob of 25 development houses.
And this is different from what happens on desktop, console and other places… exactly how? Most application were failures in the previous decades, too. Well, there is one difference: now, when a lot of applications are in one place you can easily do such measure while previously it was much harder, but is it such a big difference?
That will mean the OS has to offer both a good desktop and mobile experience. I guess a few people are working on that... but I don't really see iOS and Android morphing into a good desktop anytime soon.
Why not? As you've said yourself all contemporary OSes deep down are just Xerox Alto on steroids. Why do you think Android or iOS can not be extended to become usable on desktop, too? It's kind of chicken-end-egg problem (there are few Android devices which can be used in desktop mode), but I don't see anything fundamentally limiting.
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