It was just over six years ago that I spent a lot of time thinking about web apps. I was a Mac developer working on a couple of different shareware apps. The software world was very different, especially if you live in the Apple ecosystem. There were no App Stores and the iPhone didn’t have a native SDK.
There were a lot of exciting things happening in the web sphere. Frameworks like Cappuccino and SproutCore were making the desktop approach obsolescence. At least that’s how I felt.
That’s not something I worry about anymore. If anything, I feel like web apps have stopped approaching with such ferocity and are idling. Part of that is that mobile development has drained a lot of the developer talent off the web. Part of that is that we’re reaching the limits of what’s practical to do in modern browsers. And part of that is the App Stores, helping to nullify the web app distribution advantage.
Or maybe this is just a pause while mobile specs catch up to the point where the native / web gap doesn’t matter on phones and tablets. Who knows? Any who cares? This could be what maturity feels like – I care less about the technology we use to build a thing and more about the cool things we can do.
I’m convinced that the web has pioneered quite a few business models that we’re starting to adapt to. Small regular payments instead of lump sums for their use. Ad supported business models. Free-to-use for the 99% of users that don’t need expert features. There are a lot of good ideas here. We’re going to use them.
Now that I’m not seeing the web as the enemy, I can see the good parts much more clearly.