21 November 2009

Exciting Stuff

I'm hugely excited by certain trends that are appearing lately. Ultimately it all comes down to how successful the goal of moving everything onto "the cloud" is becoming.

It all started a few years ago when the big software companies realised the potential of the web to take over the desktop. They put into place strategies which are now starting to see some fulfilment.

I've hidden the rest of this post away for a change. Go find it

Microsoft started putting a lot of emphasis on developing the .Net framework. Mozilla, Apple and Google worked hard on improving web browsers, developing and fostering earth-shattering web apps. But then came some major changes.

First: Google Chrome OS. I haven't had chance to get this up and running yet so I'm not too sure how successful it will be. Only time will tell. The biggest concern I have is lack of support for third-party peripherals. I'm sure Google will rectify this soon enough.

Undoubtedly it will start people thinking. Microsoft and Apple have put a lot of effort into improving performance in their respective OSs, but neither has drastically deviated from the beaten path like Google.

Then there's Go, SPDY, Wave... the list goes on. Google is really driving forward with cloud computing.

Second is HTML5. Some of the brilliant recommendations for this brand new version of everyone's favourite markup language are going to make the next iteration of web apps even more compelling. And with most modern web browsers conforming to some sort of standards and processing Javascript at a decent speed, we could see widespread adoption of these advances very soon.

So what does all of this mean? Well personally I believe that for many consumers who have no real need for high-spec machines running expensive software, an operating system that is inexpensive, fast, lean, and gets them online very quickly will be a real pull.

For people who need more advanced apps... we're not going to see the end of Windows, Linux or Mac OS anytime soon. But with some major desktop tools steadily moving to the web, it looks as though a web developer's job could soon be completely online.

As offline functionality starts to make an appearance in more and more web apps, I believe we're going to see certain apps including this as a feature in premium subscription levels.

Something else I'm intrigued by at the moment is the advent of single sign-on. Sadly I don't believe that it will ever catch on everywhere, but it may be enough to make the remaining latecomers ship up or ship out.

What's really interesting is how some people are using OAuth. It's meant as an API authentication system, but Elliott Kember and a few others are making the ingenious use of it. Some of his apps and ideas use the Twitter OAuth system to log users in.

So I don't have to create an account for his latest app, Chatrbox, I simply sign in over on Twitter.

This is an interesting approach and fuels the debate over whether OAuth and OpenID can get along or whether OAuth will simply kick OpenID's butt.

Whatever happens, it all adds up to a brighter web-based future, don't you think?

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