I’m trying not to play the game. Who needs a SPA? Why does everything need to run in the browser using JS? Just because you can doesn’t mean it is (always) a good idea. The only addition to the recent web I like are the <video> and <audio> tags, and they don’t even need JS and they still kinda suck because not everyone supports the same codec. Oh and the JS security nightmare where you download scripts (effectivly BLOBs) from random CDNs over plain HTTP. Brilliant!
The only reason my sites fail in older browsers/operating systems is because the TLS connection fails…
The forced moratorium of 2001-2006 was also prime time for innovation in Flash. It’s going to happen one way or another.
The web on mobile has basically been obsoleted by dedicated applications - much to the chagrin of less popular platforms.
Large massive organizations like Microsoft have a hard time keeping up with not just the pace of the web, but the size and amount of standards you need to implement to be seen as functional to a user browsing any page, and the resources and security profile needed for them. Mozilla, a small player, is basically dependent on contributors in both code and money (with catches) to stay afloat.
It baffles me why established tech companies like MS/Apple even put much money into keeping browsers up-to-date, as it requires constant politicking/engineering to keep up with new standards. What do they get out of it? Keeping alpha nerds from going on Twitter rant sprees?
The web is where almost everything of interest happens, today. Who would use their operating systems if there weren’t a browser on them? Are you suggesting that tech companies should unilaterally decide to halt progress on the web, by refusing to add features?
Microsoft did, in fact, do essentially this for many years. They stopped when their OS lost enough market share. Not that I imagine that was a direct connection, but these days they feel a need for users to feel like Windows is modern and useful, which they historically have not.
If every OS company together stopped moving forward, … Firefox would gain market share. People want the web.
I’m not suggesting anything.
I’m just surprised that they push on with it despite not having direct incentives to do it. There are certainly indirect incentives (things not working -> users being mad). Google’s incentives, on the other hand, are aligned; hence the frantic pace of Chrome.
I also think this entire structure creates a culture of sunk costs: HTML/CSS/JS for app development persists despite their complete lack of fit for that purpose. But I guess that always happens, and worse is better recurs noticeably on a roughly five year time scale.
HTML/CSS/JS for app development persists despite their complete lack of fit for that purpose
They seem to fit pretty damn well, frankly. I kinda wish this meme would die.
To provide something more than a flippant opinion…CSS does a pretty good job of basic presentation and display. The DOM+JS actually isn’t terrible if you just treat it as a semi-janky 2D scenegraph.
A lot of the nastiness is caused by not following modern browser standards (HTML5+)…if you just let go of old browsers, then everything becomes much, much nicer.
And if you aren’t constantly pulling in eighty bajillion scripts on every page load, you don’t really need SPAs as much.
True. This gets on my nerves as well.
Also, I am willing to go one step further and say that in some cases, the web stack is actually better suited to writing apps than other technologies. Why?
There’s probably more, but those are the big ones for me.
It’s security model is much more restrictive
I’d argue the opposite. All of this app framework tech is constantly exposed to the internet at large. I can’t look at pictures of cats without extending a giant invitation to anybody and everybody “hey, come run your app on my computer!”
In the past year, every font rendering stack has had major security issues. How many fonts did your browser download in that time? You have no idea.
That’s a fair position, but I don’t find it surprising at all. I mean, … what are they selling, if not things working? That seems like a direct incentive to me.
And yeah, that’s a really good point that if we didn’t have the sunk-cost issue with web stuff, we’d have it with something else. (And we do, with each platform API, actually. Just on a smaller scale.)
That. Also, the web is not necessarily dead on mobile. It’s true that more people use apps rather than the web, however, when you take gaming out of the picture, the balance is actually closer to 50/50. Also, there are plenty of hybrid apps around using technologies like Phonegap.
If just a few sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr had usable mobile websites I’m sure non-gaming apps would be far into the minority. Apart from games, actually productive apps and camera/phone/sms/email, what else do people actually do outside of the browser?
List is not exhaustive. ;)
I’m assuming it is because to many people the browser that comes with their OS is the OS. “Oh, I can’t Facebook on that OS, that’s stupid :(”. I do wonder when/if MS/Apple are going to kill their browsers and just ship Firefox/Chrome/Chromium already like on Linux and even most Android phones these days. It just seems like wasted effort. Safari has some interesting features, but IE seems like it is constantly playing catch up, I don’t think the world would burn if both of them where replaced on new OSs. Obviously business still wants to IE6 it up a storm like it is 1999, but for new installs Firefox or Chrome should be fine.
I agree with lots of points made, but here’s my central issue:
The period of 2001-2006, five years of stagnation, actually turned out to be a good thing.
That stagnation period is what gave Mozilla time to catch up with Firefox, it’s what led to the Ajax revolution, and it’s what ultimately unseated Microsoft as king of the web.
Why would someone that’s in Microsoft’s position voluntarily put itself in a place where they could be ousted, as happened in 2001-2006?
The author is right to be cynical regarding the large companies putting an actual moratorium in place.
I imagine the other points are true as well, but that’s the one I can speak to.
But you’re exactly right, this is not going to happen.