Some of them are quite tools!

How much are you dependent on productivity online services and tools? For how long can you work productively without internet connectivity? Nice questions, eh? Well, if you said “Not dependent” or “Forever”, I salute you, buddy.

So what is it that today’s internet provides besides Trolls? Almost everything, from tips on buying PC’s to books on system hacking to videos on GTK programming to online tools. Screw the first three, let’s focus on “online tools”, online services, and cloud computing.

YouTube is one heck of a tool, I believe. Google docs, Gmail, WolframAlpha, Facebook/Google+, and bunch of others are all online services that are used daily by millions of anxious people. But the question is: should all of these services be online in the first place? My answer is simple for all social networking, blogging, micro-blogging sites and forums, “yes”. I’m not supporting socialization, it’s just what the internet really is for! Now, what I think that shouldn’t be provided online is all that has nothing, and exactly nothing, to do with the internet. You’re safe Gmail. ;)

Let me pick some examples to turn the nimbus cloud into cirrus.

  • WolframAlpha, one of the most powerful tools I’ve ever seen online. Solves all kinds of mathematical problems almost instantly! I love it and I actually rely on it heavily. However, this is one example I think that doesn’t belong online. Yes, I know, it’s Mathematica, but still, such tool is for productive work which is most likely not linked with internet connection availability. I personally think depending on such awesome tool is wrong simply because one is most likely to need calculations when he’s not surfing the net. This is one reason why I want to learn how to use wxMaxima.
  • Google Docs, I was against the its initial concept: cloud computing. However, after providing the ability to work offline via Google Gears, I was a bit satisfied. Unfortunately, recently they had to remove the offline feature, so I don’t think it’s useful anymore. When a person needs to work on some documents or on spread-sheets, is there any reason to be connected to the internet? To get distracted every second and not achieve anything? There’s no reason to be online when working on documents – unless you’re plagiarizing. Not saying people go offline to work, but internet connectivity should definitely not hold anyone back from documenting! And if you disagree by mentioning collaboration, well, that part comes later in this post.
  • DeviantART Muro, you probably haven’t heard of this one. Basically, it’s a graphics painting web application. You see, people who do art, or just doodles like the one on top, create their stuff on InkScape, oops, I mean on their favorite application and then upload it. From my point of view, such web-apps should not exist. Not that I don’t like it, I do, but it’s just one thing one would never depend on, seeing that it’s online and art usually takes hours; it’s risky!

The web applications mentioned above are all great, the performance and usability are fantastic. Kudos to the developers. However, I still would never come close to liking the fact they’re online tools and they shouldn’t be. Offline Google Docs? That would probably take both MS Office and LibreOffice down. Oh, just think about it! … Okay, enough day-dreaming and let’s get back to the subject. The fact that they’re there is globally acknowledged, but the question is: why do people use or depend on them?

One main reason would be: Collaboration. Well, … STOP RIGHT THERE!

Now, what I think that shouldn’t be provided online is all that has nothing, and exactly nothing, to do with the internet.

As I said earlier, I do not oppose that, I in fact use it myself. Now another reason would be availability and quality, now that’s one powerful reason! One online tool might not have an equivalent application of the same quality on other platforms! Taking video editing as an example. YouTube created their video editor because there is a lack of free decent video editors. Another obvious reason would be the quality. For example, some people hate the not-so-native GUI of Open/LibreOffice so they turned their faces to the other free alternative with appealing GUI, Google Docs. Or another example, a decent font creator. FontForge is not that decent nor any other free font creator I tried, therefore one made this. Last obvious reason to me is the quickness, many people do not have powerful PC’s to render videos or calculate/plot obfuscated functions in a flash.

So here’s my question to the developers: why develop those? … Wait, I can answer that on behalf of them. “We’re too lazy to support all OS’s. Do you not want this tool to be accessible on your linux box?” … okay, fair enough. But hey, cross-platform languages are for that; You don’t have to use .net, use Java or Adobe Air! “Air is no longer supported on linux.” …use Java?

I know this is a huge subject and I know I’ll get many disagreements, but hey, it’s exactly what I want, your thoughts.


~ by AnxiousNut on July 14, 2011.

9 Responses to “Some of them are quite tools!”

  1. The TL;DR crowd will love this post, as well as my comment.

    Web application development is so much easer than developing software for desktops and deployment is as easy as pie.

    When you develop for the web, you don’t need to keep system details in mind. you also don’t need to keep a lot of browser details in mind as long as you follow well established standards. Furthermore, you don’t need to use a gui library or build a gui yourself unless you really want to.

    But the biggest benifet would be software deployment and matnence. The user doesn’t need to do anything except visit your page. You handle your web site’s dependencies yourself once on your server, and you’re done.

    Also there’s the added benefit of code protection; no one can steal or disassemble your code if it never gets sent to the user.

    That said, I LOATH WEB APPLICATIONS. I firmly believe that applications should be native. I can’t believe I’m quoting Steve Jobs but the guy said one of the reasons why crossplatform libraries are banned on ios is to ensure that people make use of the new features in his platform.

    I remember reading how a web developer called something (JS related perhaps) “useless” because it wasn’t supported in IE6, the browser that’s 9 years old.

    Cross-platform breeds dumb software. Just look at what happened to the SVG format. Because microsoft refused to support it in IE, people never really adopted it for websites in spite of it being a standard and a much needed format (scalable grapghics) much to the demise of the SVG cult. Because of that, people turned to flash which is obviously overkill. dumb software*.

    The internet is good for information deployment and retrieval. That is what it was originally designed for. That is what it is good at.

    Not applications.

    * (I’m talking about web applications that use flash. not the developers nor adobe).

    • Good points!

      When you develop for the web, you don’t need to keep system details in mind.

      Hmm… if one is program with 100% cross-platform language, I’m pretty sure one wouldn’t have to pay attention to system details.

      Cross-platform breeds dumb software. Just look at what happened to the SVG format.

      SVG is a standard, that’s a different story. As for cross-platform software, I disagree to some extent. Yes, more effort would be put, but in the end, usually an application would work awesomely on the system it was initially created for, take gEdit or Pidgin as an example. If they initially intended a real cross platform application, they’d do well, take Mozilla software and Open/LibreOffice as examples.

      It’s true that when web developing you don’t have to support other systems, but you’re kind of held with something similar … which a lot of people hate: cross-browser support. And if one really tries to support all browsers, the site might be a little bit dumb. By dumb, I mean not good as it could have been.

      Web applications and native applications are a bit similar, but I have to agree that programming web applications is easier and has more advantages. :(

      The TL;DR crowd will love this post, as well as my comment.

      I realized that once I finished the blog-post, which is why I wasn’t anticipating any comments. :/

  2. Hmm… if one is program with 100% cross-platform language, I’m pretty sure one wouldn’t have to pay attention to system details.

    Nothing is 100% cross platform. nothing. The only thing that comes close is web apps. and that’s pnly because they don’t rely on the browser’s host for services.

    SVG is a …

    you svg folk sure love your svgs.

    which a lot of people hate: cross-browser suppor

    I hate to sound harsh, but how are you comparing cross-browser support with cross-platform development (even in java)?

    web app development:
    1. write standard html + js/dom + php maybe
    2. test on a browser or two.
    3. upload to server

    cross-platform dev:
    1. write code
    2. test on a every potential system the program might run on (this also applies for java)
    3. make an installer for each platform noting where each system stores executibles, libraries. also make sure permissions are sorted out. also assert that dependencies are met.
    4. distribute

    cross-browser support is like elementary algebra while the other is more like a subject that starts with the sequence calculu..

  3. Nothing is 100% cross platform. nothing.

    I do know that, that’s why I added the 100% – though one can still use something like Air to make his way through.

    Now, mentioning 100% cross-platform made me realize something. Based on our realization that whatever is made cross-platform is prone to be dumb to an extent, I can say that it’s the same with programming languages. Java and Air are obvious examples, nothing looks native. … This is a real dilemma! v_v

    … but how are you comparing cross-browser support with cross-platform development (even in java)?

    I was targeting the support factor; either way, one will have to support something. I did not bring the easiness and simplicity in topic.

  4. But I did. My main point is that web development is simpler and easier then other types of software development. hence the shift towards web apps and the answer to your question in the last paragraph of your post =)

  5. I really like reading an article that can make people think.
    Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!

  6. hello!,I really like your writing very a lot! percentage we keep in touch extra about
    your post on AOL? I need a specialist on this house to resolve my problem.
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  7. Ok, enough said. This was probably the best article I have read on Some of them are quite tools!

    | AnxiousNut’s Playground today and I often do research daily on the subject of hcg diet canada. Thanks for sharing with the world. Cheers!

  8. I’m not sure exactly why but this blog is loading incredibly slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a issue on my end? I’ll check
    back later on and see if the problem still exists.

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