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Web Apps are Becoming the New Legacy Apps

A decade ago at the turn of the century the dotcom bubble was at its peak. Web applications of the day provided by “application service providers” were in vogue, and relegating well-established client/server applications to the category of legacy applications. These hosted Web applications became the modern applications and architecture, and billions of dollars were invested creating the bubble in which counting eyeballs became far more important than counting revenue. The dotcom crash of 2001 brought much-needed sanity to the industry. The name gradually changed from ASP or dotcom to the much more prosaic software-as-a-service, and business models that valued revenue and paying customers rather than fleeting eyeballs became the vogue again. Web applications matured and SaaS became the fastest growing business model starting sometimes in the middle of the current decade. With this maturity, the Web application architecture became the leading architecture even though the client/server model continued to play an important role. Read more

2dWhy Smartphone Apps need HTML5

In my previous post “The Rise of App Stores: Software Industry in Regression?” I discussed the reasons why the very successful app stores of major smartphone vendors are taking the software industry back to a model which does not bode well for innovation in the industry or for the consumer. There are three problems with the app store model. First, app stores sell proprietary software that only works on the app store owner’s platform. Proprietary applications are more expensive for the developer as well as the consumer. Second, app stores give a lot of control to the app store owner to decide which apps will be offered and which will not. This control is likely to be abused and some, like Adobe, claim that it is already being abused. Lastly, proprietary applications create a major support and maintenance problem for companies who wish to deploy their solutions across platforms. Not only does the app have to be developed for each platform, but it also has to be registered on each. Indeed, whenever there is a simple bug fix or a complex upgrade the app has to be modified for all the platforms, re-registered with the app stores of each platform, and downloaded by the smartphone user. All this adds to increased cost and delays Read more

Why Web Apps are the Future of Smartphones

Native apps are the rage for smartphone users today. Every smartphone user wants native apps to download, and almost every software and services vendor is craving to have a native app for their product or service. Already the market for smartphone apps is in the billions of dollars and is forecasted to be  hit fifteen billions of dollars in 2013.  The rage for native apps is fueled by the phenomenal, ongoing success of the Apple iPhone and the Apple AppStore, and to some extent by the success of Google Android. Thousand of application developers, ranging from small, one-man companies to large corporations, have latched on to the desire to develop the next killer app or, in the case of corporations,  to make sure that their product or service do not lag behind their competitors who have jumped on to the native app bandwagon. Read more

“Chunking” Enables Better User Interfaces for Mobile Apps

Desktops applications designed for Personal Computers in a Microsoft-dominated era have become bloated in terms of their sheer size as well as their user interface. The availability of huge amounts of cheap memory, increasing CPU speed and large screen sizes encouraged application developers to create huge applications that aimed to provide a lot of information and functionality on one screen. The most successful example of applications in this model is Microsoft Office. This is large and powerful application. One can even argue that it is an industry on to itself. The design objective of Office is to enable everyone to do everything. Successive version of Office provided increasing functionality and the application and its user interface became more and more complex. The vast majority of Microsoft Office users only used a small fraction of its capability. That became the Microsoft model and many other vendors clamored to adopt the same model. It is not surprising that Microsoft Windows Mobile and its predecessor Microsoft Windows CE were based on a similar model to address the needs of the growing number of mobile smartphone users. Read more