Tuesday, 10 April 2012

On Moving To The Web, Again.

Yes I'm back on the same topic again, whether we are moving to the web or not. To make things simple, I think most software have already moved to the web but the web advocates didn't even notice. I use the desktop version of Ubuntu Linux on my personal computer and I realize that many of the programs I use are already web enabled. For example I use a program called Empathy for facebook. I use Ubuntu One which is integrated to my file browser for cloud storage. I also use Tomboy for note taking which I synchronize with my Ubuntu One account. Other web enabled applications on the Ubuntu desktop include the default text-editor which allows on-line collaboration. And there is the good old Mozilla Thunderbird which allows me to download mails from my various e-mail accounts to my local desktop.

All those programs are web enabled but the advocates of moving to the web do not notice it. Why? maybe because they are unknowingly just advocating for a move to the browser. I personally do not believe that applications will all move to the browser. To me, the web is more about the protocols and not necessarily about HTML. Those desktop applications I listed above are already taking full advantage of protocols like HTTP, HTTPS, OAuth etc. So in essence, the move to the web has been made but the advocates simply did not notice.

If you are still waiting for the move into the browser, then I believe you have a long long wait ahead of you. People simply prefer to use thick client applications of popular web services than using the browser interface. That's why twitter and facebook desktop clients are very popular. Just think of it, even though modern smartphone browsers are very mature, most users prefer to use native apps on their phone that connect to web platforms whenever possible.

Google started the Chrome OS claiming that the days of the native desktop are over. But each iteration of Chrome OS seems to be moving closer and closer to the traditional desktop. The latest version so far has a wallpaper, a taskbar and a launchpad.

I know many people are excited about the web and what we can do in browsers using things likeHTML5, JavaScript and CSS3, but if you are still waiting for the move to the web, then you have been left behind. We are already far into the future, at least judging from the standpoint of the pro browser advocates.