Friday, November 19, 2010

The Myth of App-lication of the Web

Just read a brief summary to two CEO's remarks concerning Apple at Web 2.0

Shantanu Narayen's bizzare spin on Apple was that it was about control, and that Apple was for a proprietary and closed ecosystem, which Adobe was for the opposite, allowing content to flow across multiple devices and environments - meaning those that actually support a current version of Flash, which Adobe is the only commercial developer of playback technology. OF COURSE, this is also cheerfully ignoring the fact that Flash is the poster child of what has gone wrong with web development in the last 5 years. We are in the twilight of the era of the plugin and Adobe knows this, but has no plan B.

Jim Balsillie, who is co-CEO of Blackberry, has this quote: users "don't need an app for the web".  This is actually only partially true. What we call the "web" is now more than a browser that renders content. The web browser itself may be secondary to specific applications that use the internet and web standards to convey focused content. General design web pages that flow across platforms are hard to do, and even harder to do when attention is paid to design that interface in a way that makes best use of the device.

Apple figured this out with the introduction of the original iPhone, and it appears to me that some dstill have not grasped this message. I do not want to open a web browser to do a simple task. I want an app. It has to be remembered that when Apple rolled out the iPhone - web development was the way that developers were going to be able to write Apps for the iPhone, and even developed extensions for HTML 5 that have been adopted. Blackberry will be able to directly benefit from this. I seriously doubt that Blackberry would have had the vision to do this themselves. From all appearances, they were totally blindsided by the iPhone - confident that people wouldn't change because they were married to the Blackberry way of doing things - even though Blackberry's architecture still has legacy thinking tied to it's roots as a pager with a keyboard.

General content web pages aren't going away - but applications (whether web based or native) are definitely the future. Boxee is an excellent example of a company that understands this - how best to bridge the television experience with the internet? Build applications that can access web content and display it in a way that works on a TV.

Adobe has to begin the process of killing Flash to be at that curve. What is going to replace it? Have they even considered this possibility? I think perhaps the developers have, but upper management may not.

Remember Director? Where is it now?