Browser Dead Or Browser Alive

This post was written when I was a child, I’m only keeping it here for archival purposes. All of these words should be only taken in context.

Blah blah Chrome OS blah blah Google blah blah the cloud is the future. I have been on that horse for more than a year now, and with due therapy, I can finally admit that I am wrong. The browser is dead for applications, everything will be on the Internet. But it will not be on the web.

With the latest update to Chrome OS, Google created a new user interface called Ash. The press is dubbing it Aura, but Aura is the compositing and all the backend stuff. Ash is the actual name for user facing elements. But I digress.

I have a whole rant on things wrong with Ash on my own blog, so read that if you are interested. To summarize, browser based applications are dead. And I am ok with that.

The future of applications is applications that are connected to cloud services. They won’t run in a browser, even though a browser may be powering them. Google has given in to the idea of Chrome actually running applications. Even Mozilla has research for running web applications outside of the browser.

This brings me to another point, what is a web application? If you say that it is an application that is powered by web technologies. Then you are also implying that applications such as Rdio and Tweetdeck, which are desktop applications, are also web applications. They just run in a webkit wrapper. To say that a web application is an application that runs in a browser is short sided. As both Google and Mozilla seem to be moving towards having environments that run applications outside of what we see as a browser. We don’t have any real difference (buzz-word speaking) on so called native applications. The only real differentiation is the platform they run on.

That does mean, however, that applications will all be connected to the Internet in some form. I don’t think it matters if it it written in javascript, python, objective-c, or even dart. Once you get down to it, the only difference is the language you write it in. A modern day javascript application should work offline. Hell, the spec for HTML5 offline is pretty thorough and stable. The issue is that no one uses it. This interpolation does lead to something, it leads to the idea that all applications will work offline regardless of language written in as every language now has support some way or another for offline. (Honestly, javascript was the only exception to this before, but that point is now moot.)

To conclude, I think that the whole web application versus native application debate is a dying one and that we need to point our heads in one direction. What language and platform can the user get the best experience on? At the moment it is the one with native applications, but with the renaissance javascript is going through, I would not put money on that. Personally I am trying to switch back to all native applications, but this is more so for privacy reasons with cloud providers.

That however is another topic for another day.