Why I don't like Web 2.0 anymore

Lately I've had this strange feeling that perhaps web tools are reaching their limits. Yes, I know, people are building really cool-looking tools like Google Wave, using a gazillion different toolkits like JQuery, and that everybody believes that in the future all the apps and the data live in the cloud and are accessible by browsers on any device whatsoever.

But I've got a few arguments why I think the tide may change.

First of all - Javascript and the browser are a lousy, lousy environment for development. Your layout engines have wildly differing notions as to how stuff should be rendered. You spend a LOT of time figuring out what works on which browser. You have to choose among a dozen of incompatible frameworks (JQuery, Dojo, Prototype, Mootools, etc) to build your app - and you need to do that in at least two languages, since you don't develop the server side on Javascript. The tools you write your code with have so far been really crappy (but tools like Firebug and Aptana Studio are helping).

Most importantly, you can only choose Javascript and HTML as your development environment. There is no other practical choice (Silverlight, Flash and JavaFX are not real contenders here). In fact, they have to invent new standards to go around all the crappiness that is HTML, CSS and JS, and it's going to take a long time before all reasonable environments support them. For chrissakes, people still use IE6!

I was also reminded by the harsh realities of web-based life when the cell connectivity went down (Joikuspot FTW, usually). No more doing anything with the apps that I needed. Luckily I'm pretty paranoid and keep a local copy of everything important. If I spend money on my laptop in order to be mobile, and able to work without wires or power, then why would I tie my productivity to the whims of the cell operator?

Anyhoo, I'm just so frustrated at the generic unusability of web-based apps compared to local apps running on my mobile or my laptop. However, there are some incredible benefits to keeping your data in the cloud, too.

My guess is that now that we're pretty much down to three operating systems on the personal computer area, and three operating systems on the mobile phone area, it again becomes cost-efficient to provide thick clients that have a copy of the data locally and the master copy in the cloud. That makes the benefits of working with cloud-based apps tangible, yet invisible. Version control systems like Git are very good at keeping track and sync of local and remote copies; storage systems like Amazon S3 are readily available; and most of the modern computers have way more horsepower than what is required to run a browser, since they have to deal with gaming requirements. There will be less need to target multiple browser environments simply because there just won't be that many operating systems anymore.

Google Earth is a good example of this new breed of applications: it keeps a local copy of the map data so that it's actually useful even if you're not online. With Ovi Maps you can keep a local copy of the map data, yet benefit from upgrades on the server side. Ovi Files stores a copy of your local files in the cloud, so that they're accessible from anywhere. (Yes, I had to work in a few references to my company products, didn't I? ;-)

Anyhoo. I might be wrong. Time will tell. Perhaps it's just my personal dislike for Javascript...




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Java Applets?

--AnonymousCoward, 18-Aug-2009


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"Main_blogentry_200709_1" last changed on 20-Jul-2009 19:01:29 EEST by JanneJalkanen.

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