When Browsers Grow Up

Mitch Kapor writes:

The greater convenience of the browser has been evident for many years. Browsers work from every PC, while desktop applications do not as they have to be installed (purchased, licensed, etc.) where they are to run. I can check my mail from anywhere. I like that.

The exception to the far greater convenience of the browser is off-line usage. With no net connection, data stored in a web app is inaccessible. So, infrastructure to support local storage of data (via caching, via something fancier) as a standard affordance of web-based applications is perhaps the biggest remaining barrier to be overcome. There is no fundamental reason I am aware of it can’t be overcome either on a case-by-case basis, or better, in a more general way which would work not just for a given application, but for many of them.

So far, I’ve been describing redoing the feature set of a conventional app for the web. When an application, like Chandler, tries to break new ground in functionality or interface, matters grow considerably more complex, a subject I may take up here in the future. But for any new application project I get involved in starting, my strong predisposition is to think in terms of a web interface as primary.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.