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Summary of Joel's Latest Article

Basically what Joel is affirming is what most of us selling commercial software already know:

Software is a subscription business.  If I don't have something new to sell you next week/month/year, I will eventually go out of business.  Note the requirement is "new" which doesn't always mean "better".

The MSDN Magazine slant to the story I thought was pretty perceptive.

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

The more interesting point, IMHO was that MS is betting the company on the rich client. Not a bad bet if it were not for the fact that they are at the same time making rich client development difficult by pushing a soon to outdated, yet to be adopted API.

Eric Debois
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

I knew that longhorn is going to support . net and Xaml, but I completely missed the effect it will have on win forms.


I am about to embark on a conversion of our flagship app currently written in xbase++ to C# using winforms.

Am I going to be rewriting the UI again?

Maybe it is better to go for a rich thin client like Macromedia flex.

You would get the best of both worlds and flex would become longhorn compatible.

Mike
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Anyone want to write a WinForms -> XAML/Avalon converter app? ;-)  I'm willing to bet it will sell...

//\
Wednesday, June 16, 2004


It was a good article, but I think that the push for web-based apps has more to do with customer demand than it does with the "Raymond Chen vs MSDN magazine" effect.

Most of my clients want web-based apps simply because they can access them from anywhere in the company and they don't have to worry about installation. Even places where everyone is running the same OS and compatibility isn't the issue still push for web-based apps.

Even if Microsoft had stopped at Win2K and just focused on improving it bit by bit, I still feel that web-based apps would still have the momentum that they have today. I dread using the phrase "paradigm shift", but it's somewhat apt here. It's just a change in the way that people work.

Mark Hoffman
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Web-based apps have their place, but it's the same-old, same-old - web apps are a tool in the toolbox, but they don't solve every problem.

Now that custom line of business applications are becoming commonplace and accepted, people *outside* HQ want access to them. Field offices, people on travel, employees in mobile environments - these are all areas that are seeing growth for IT, and they can't use a web app.

At Camel the application we were designing was for law enforcement investigators. You know - the kind that go to crime scenes. We asked if offline capability was a requirement for the application. The answer was an unqualified "absolutely."

Yet the IT director insisted, to the point of firing me and hiring consultants until one told him what he wanted to hear, that it had to be a web application. He wouldn't answer the question of how a web application was supposed to run on a laptop in the field.

I'll say it again - web apps are a tool. They have their place. They're a hammer, but not every problem is a nail.

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Agreed. Webapps are probably the future despite all the stuff that sucks about them.

If the OSS crowd wanted to deal a severe blow to MS, now would be the time.

<just thinking>
What they should do is take GRE, make it scriptable with a sane scripting language, toss out DOM and make a proper clientside API, release it as an IE plugin as well as a native form.
Result, rich clients with native widgets, and with all the advantages of webapps.

Eric Debois
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

"Most of my clients want web-based apps simply because they can access them from anywhere in the company and they don't have to worry about installation."

This will be a moot point with Longhorn because rich clients will auto deploy and run automatically. Just hit a URL via HTTP just like a web app.

Microsoft already has the beginnings of such technology in
.net today called "no touch" or "zero touch" deployment.

Gen'xer
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

opps, the "agreed" was with regards to Marks post, not philos.
Though I kind of agree with Philo too.

Eric Debois
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Mac OSX will run Microsoft Office products Word, Excel & PowerPoint just fine without any expensive emulation at all.

"Of course your files transfer easily to Windows, with no translation,"

http://www.apple.com/macosx/applications/office/

Interaction Architect
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Philo,

You're right, but I think you might be missing the larger picture. While web apps might not be suitable for everything, they are suitable for *many* things. Many things that use to be a rich client are being moved to web apps.

Because of this, the number of rich clients is shrinking and continue to shrink, which is what the perceived threat to MS is.

Yes, web apps are just a tool, but they are quickly becoming the most commonly used tool.

JT
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Yes, Philo, you are right.

But IT is driven by hype, hype, hype.

How else can we explain the huge adoption of Java?

People are hyping web apps, and they will use web apps, even if they are broken, because of the hype.

Max
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

JT - I agree with you completely. I've just found that when dealing with magazine manager mindset ("Must...have...web...applications..."), that you generally have to push back harder than you should just to avoid that "one tool fits all" mentality.

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

"This will be a moot point with Longhorn because rich clients will auto deploy and run automatically. Just hit a URL via HTTP just like a web app."

So they say....  :')

But when is Longhorn going to ship? '06? When are my clients going to upgrade to it? '07? '08? It's a looooong ways off.

But what about the web-based apps that target the general consumer? Longhorn's capabilities won't add up to much when I'm running a Mac.

Mark Hoffman
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Everybody is going Rich Client apps. The only question is how rich that client is going to be. In the red corner you have the "everything and the kitchen sink rich" team, in the blue corner you have the "lowest common denomiter fronted by a committee" team. The red team is far superior, but its weakness is that a lott of the juicy profits are well within blue reachable territory.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

"I dread using the phrase "paradigm shift", but it's somewhat apt here. It's just a change in the way that people work."

I believe the phrase is "the network is the computer" 

As far as a web based app not having offline capability that is bs/fud.  IBM has this with Domino.  No reason other apps can't do that as well. 

Quad
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

"Microsoft already has the beginnings of such technology in
.net today called "no touch" or "zero touch" deployment."

And, as we can see, it's taken the world by storm. I mean I could name all of the examples making use of this....err, none.

Dennis Forbes
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

So to summarize.  Joel admits Microsoft has hit the iceberg and is going to take awhile to sink.

Quad
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

"And, as we can see, it's taken the world by storm. I mean I could name all of the examples making use of this....err, none."

At Microsoft's developer conference, for example, Amazon.com showed how it has used the Avalon graphics technology and the WinFS file system in Longhorn to create an improved shopping site.

Amazon's chief technology officer, Allan Vermeulen, showed how a Web shopper can do a number of tasks that could not easily be done from within a browser, such as rapidly filtering search results for cameras and viewing a photo of a camera as a three-dimensional object. Information from the e-commerce site could also be easily shared with a person's calendar application.

http://news.com.com/2009-1016_3-5103226.html

Gen'xer
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Could you explain how anything you've describe exceeds the functionality of Flash? (Oh but I'm waiting eagerly for "3D Cameras". We can see how VRML took the internet by storm). Flash doesn't even require the latest MS operating system available -2 years ago, and runs on virtually every platform avaliable. That doesn't make it a good choice.

Why does Amazon bother with the web today when they could simply deploy a DirectX Win32 app that downloads the entire inventory to a local MSDE copy for eacy filtering and browsing?

Dennis Forbes
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

A big problem with developing web apps is that the average consumer is far more willing to pay money to purchase a rich client app than a web app.

ken
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

"Web App" can also mean different things to different people.

The app I'm working on currently is Swing on the client-side, but it talks via HTTP to a server running servlets and all that other stuff. Is it a "web app"? Can it run "offline"?

I'd say, in order, "yes" and "no", since in this particular case, the app is mostly reporting to the user what's on the server, but one could construct a case similar to this one where more of the 'work' is done by the client app.

For instance, in the cops' case, what if there was a Swing client which was a forms application / database client. When 'offline', you could fill out forms and queue them up for transmission to the server, but most of the brains of the app would be on the server (reporting, managing the DB, whatever else).

I'd call that a web app, even though the users' piece (might) not be running inside a web browser.

Us old farts used to call this "client-server" before that went out of vogue. I think a pure Java client, though, brings it to a much more useful point. Too bad Sun's not really working on Java anymore.

MD
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

MD, it absolutely calls for a client/server solution, no matter what the technology. And agreed that most of the work should be done server-side; just enough intelligence should be available in the client to allow it to operate offline.

I miss the term "client/server" - it's so descriptive... [snif]

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, June 16, 2004


"This will be a moot point with Longhorn because rich clients will auto deploy and run automatically. Just hit a URL via HTTP just like a web app."

You mean like java applets?

Logical
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

More like Java WebStart...

Rhys Keepence
Thursday, June 17, 2004

Have you ever seen an apllication which starts from network?!
It's a lot of fun :))

http://scripteditor.mozdev.org/installation.html

You need Mozilla. Set the preference and run as described on page:

mozilla.exe -chrome http://einstein.alphanumerica.com/LRSE/lrse.xul

It loads just like a web page (with reflowing and partial image loads), but look as an APP :)

Nekto2
Thursday, June 17, 2004

ops. latest domain is not there any more :(
but you could get the TGZ from first page.

I have seen it some years ago - when M14 was new :) So do not know if it still works :(

Nekto2
Thursday, June 17, 2004

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