Lately i have found myself thinking about why applications built on web standards are becoming more and more common. What is it that draws us all to this amazing place called the web? And why are more and more companies investing in applications based on web standards?
Personally i am really enthusiastic about the direction the “applicationscape” is heading and i think web applications have the potential to go a (really) long way.
But seriously, why?
I think the answer lies in how people consume information. It seems we have this (subconcious?) urge to find and use information as effective as possible. And the technology of today has brought us to the point that we want this information anywhere, and we want it NOW.
There are a lot of ways to consume information in modern (internet) times: PC’s, laptops, tablets, smartphones and what not. Each of them having their own vendors and platforms but they also have their own distinctive level of speed, mobility and have different input mechanisms. Each device is used different.
However, important to note is that all these devices serve the same purpose: to serve information.
There is an important thing that, nowadays, all of these devices have in common, and that is that they have a web browser. So all of these devices have access to the web.
That is what makes the web so interesting as a platform. The reach is enormous.
Online, offline, anywhere and any time, on any device. The world wide web is a shared platform across devices already. Regardless of operating system.
An important downside of developing applications for multiple platforms is that it is time consuming. Another downside is that, for various reasons, the different applications you end up with do not always contain the same functionality. Now i can see sometimes this is because the project is on a time constraint, but an often heard reason is that to offer users of different devices the best user experience.
Now there is a big difference between offering a different user experience based on certain context parameters and designing an different application for each platform possibly limiting users access to certain functionality of your original product.
Now this is where i think the web as a platform has it’s potential and can offer more for both end-users and developers. Of course, web applications do not offer the same functionality as native applications at this time, but i think this is a matter of time. The open web standards have become really mature at present time, and i think it is time that we start embracing the web as a platform.
And what about you? I would love to hear your thoughts about the web as a platform in the comments and get some discussion going around this…
On September 17th i am speaking at the PFcongres (in dutch) about the web as a platform and what technologies you can use today to develop for it as such. If you are interested in this topic, or even if you are not (the other speakers on schedule cover amazing subjects!!) PFcongres is the place to be in Utrecht this saturday!