"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

(Not) On Top Of The Web?

Mark Baker says Adobe Apollo would be...

so much better had they simply innovated on top of the Web
I don't understand how Apollo is not "innovating on top of the web". Sure, it is not *solely* on top of the web. But the browser is not *solely* on top of the web either, is it? I mean the browser accesses the desktop. Apollo apps can do the same, only as a developer I can use Apollo's desktop abilities to go beyond the browser's desktop abilities.

Is one (the browser) a good "web" use of the desktop, but the other (Apollo) not a good "web" use of the desktop? Why or why not?

Apollo simply points out how badly the browser generally sucks and essentially stagnated. Working groups or whatever, there is some catching up to do, on top of the web or not.

Over time I expect to be able to browse in Apollo as well as run all kinds of other, more expressive applications that are "on the web" or even off. At some point down the road turning off Firefox could be an option.

8 comments:

Vijay said...

Patrick,

While you think "innovating on the web" is good why do you say "...browser generally sucks and essentially stagnated". Are you suggesting you need a new browser which should be Apollo based?

Vijay
Dekoh.com

Patrick Logan said...

Clearly developers want the browser to be a platform for multiple applications (large data sets, fast computations, good separation, online/offline integration, etc.). Just as clearly developers would like the browser to support richer interactions with people, information, graphics, etc.

The current state of browser supporting developers to provide either of these is poor compared to what a system like apollo provides now and certainly what it is supposed to provide in the next year or so.

quark said...

I guess this depends on your definition of "the web". If "the web" includes well-known, well established and well deployed standard technologies like TCP, HTTP, HTML, CSS, XML, etc., and precludes proprietary and non-standard technologies like Windows Media, Office documents, Flash, etc., then Apollo is clearly not building on top of "the web".

How is Apollo serving disabled people, by the way?

Patrick Logan said...

How is it that apollo is not building on top of TCP, HTTP, HTML, CSS, XML, etc.?

Yes, apollo also is building on top of proprietary technology. That is regrettable and I'd prefer everything to be more open. And so I hope more open technologies will become available in a system as appealing to me as apollo is.

How is apollo serving disabled people? Which kinds of disabilities? Perhaps over time it will serve more than it does now. Perhaps over time more open solutions will take on more of apollo's interesting features.

The web is at a point in time where apollo appeals to me more than any of the browsers I have used. But this is just one point in time, and I hope apollo is an indicator of what is to come from several sources.

Mark said...

I've responded to Patrick's comments on my own blog.

Patrick Logan said...

OK, let me dig into this a bit.

If I want to access some USB device, say my camera, from an app, and that camera’s driver does not implement a web server then I cannot get to that device from my laptop if that laptop is only running apps fully “on top of the web”.

Now I could write a little web server that access the USB device and puts a web interface in front of it. Then I could get to that USB device from my non-apollo browser.

Or I could write an apollo app that accesses the USB device.

Generally speaking if there were a web (e.g. HTTP) interface to cameras or whatever, from anywhere on the web, that would be a good thing. I would not even be constrained to USB cameras on my laptop.

Then perhaps if cameras generally used bonjour/zeroconf for discovery and lookup, and then http for web access, cool.

I guess until then I am happy to have apollo with more desktop capabilities *along* with web capabilities. Presumably as soon as cameras started showing up on the web, apollo could use them as well as other browsers.

Until then, though, those other browsers are excluded from accessing my camera. So while that is not “on top of the web” I think it is the camera’s fault, not apollo’s.

Mark said...

Patrick,

If you write a Web server that accesses the USB device, then the information in the device is available to the whole world.

If you write an Apollo app that accesses the device, who is that information available to?

Patrick Logan said...

Apollo doesn't turn off the web, people turn off the web. Or something like that.

What I mean is, apollo is just a tool that can access USB devices in multiple ways. If there is a web server for the device, then apollo can access it that way.

The way I see apollo is it offers more choices than the common browser, but turns off none of the choices offered by the common browser. And given the common browser is trying to go all ajax-y then apollo is even better at that.

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.