Cloud Development Uncategorized


Dave Winer: “But all that has changed with the ability to access cloud storage from apps written in JavaScript that run in the browser. Software that used to require a central server, and was easy to attack, and had to scale for all sizes of use-cases, now can run in the browser, with little if any loss of power.”

Dave is excited he can host a JavaScript on a server and pull it to the browser to execute because it affords him the ability to do simple applications without the need of web services. I can understand his excitement. It’s less expensive than running a GIGANTOR set of servers to host your services and answer requests thrown at them from the client. Point taken. It’s a step in the right direction, but I still think services are necessary for all but the smallest of apps because browsers still don’t make great hosts for applications.

Bringing in the Harvest
I think designing services first is the more appropriate thing to do. Don’t think about the UI first. UI’s are a dime a dozen and should be lowest common denominator (browser), up to native, high performance, best of breed (platform specific; iOS, Android, etc.) Because mobile is so important today you can’t leave that out of any discussion about web based services. Most web apps I’ve run on my phone are pretty horrible performance wise, but I can run them. If I have a choice to get a native mobile client I always opt for it because of that.

Dave accused me of calling him stupid.

Far from it, Dave. I know you’re not stupid, I just have a different idea than you, that’s all. A differing of opinion, and that’s ok. I think you’ll be very happy with your new model and out of that we’ll see some great browser apps.

I’ve talked about it before. I’d like to see the browser evolve way beyond what it is today if this is the new “OS” for the web based world. It must if we expect to create beautiful, highly usable, fully functional applications like we did on the desktop before the invention of the browser.

When the browser can evolve to a faceless shell that is language agnostic and allows us to control it like a native application controls the desktop environment, man, then we’ll have something special, until that time it will provide the lowest common denominator gateway to the web.

Web Next

Can you imagine the explosion of high quality code and components that would flow out of a world where we’re not limited to the confines of the browser and JavaScript? It would be industry changing.

I’d love to see the browser community embrace the idea of a full CLI implementation and create a way to hit and endpoint URL that pulls a fully built application to the desktop that’s hosted by an “invisible” browser. [UPDATE: This part, about pulling a full app plays nicely with what Dave is talking about.] The browser should serve as the new OS giving the developer full access to a virtualized machine.

We’ll get there, some day.


Code in the Browser

Watch out! It's a blog fly!Yesterday I was lamenting the lack of good choice for coding in the browser. I know, I know, I gripe too much about it. I can hear folks now “Just shut your pie hole and learn JavaScript, like everyone else.” That is good advice, I should learn JavaScript, but I digress.

The mere mention of it started a conversation on Twitter, which lead me to start thinking about a weblog post, which lead me to a search for “CLI in the browser” or something like that, which landed this great post by Miguel de Icaza.

“ECMA CLI would have given the web both strongly typed and loosely typed programming languages. It would have given developers a choice between performance and scriptability. A programming language choice (use the right tool for the right job) and would have in general made web pages faster just by moving performance sensitive code to strongly typed languages.”

This is what I’m after. Choice and closer to native performance. JavaScript could be one of the supported languages, and should be for that matter, but in the end it would be really great to have a language agnostic runtime.

I’d compare the state of coding in the browser to coding 20+ years ago. At that time everyone was using C because it was the most portable way to get your code on other OS’es. I find it a bit depressing browsers haven’t moved past JavaScript. Can you imagine only being able to code in C on your favorite platform? Of course not, that’s preposterous.

It will be interesting to watch browsers mature into a layer that completely replaces the OS for services. Until then, we’ll have to make due with what we have.

Here’s the Twitter conversation that lead to this post (sorry, the Twitter embed code only grabbed the last bit of the conversation, not sure how to get it all.):