Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Does now web development start to move into the browser ?


The browser has always been the most common tool to consume content from the internet. It also has served to create simple text based content (CMS). But now the tools start to appear for creating more complex content like web applications direclty in the browser. Let me list what I have tried out (or just heard of) recently.
  • bespin the super-cool and wicked-fast browser code editor (which since today contains a few lines of code I have contributed)
  • 280atlas, just been announced yesterday, an amazingly awesome looking visual builder for cappccino web apps, not available yet, except of the screencast.
  • Wavemaker, they have been around for a while, very enterprisy, it did not work for my out of the box when I tried a few months ago (isn't the first impression what counts most ?).
  • AmyEditor. Looks like an online version of TextMate. That is good, because TextMate looks and feels great and people just love TextMate, but is bad because I believe the browser is not the right place for embedding a desktop app alike. And when resizing the browser, that app did not resize, so that was the early ending of my exploration of that otherwise probably great app.
  • Coghead. Was a cloudbased visual app builder. They failed, are on the deadpool now. At least they could sell some of their IP to SAP. AFAIK, Coghead was not open source, halfway flash based and had a lot of proprietary things, even a proprietary programming language. Maybe that is not the way to go, unless you have more salesmen than developers in the team.
Beside of bespin these web apps all seem to look like desktop apps. I am not sure whether this is what developers will feel most comfortable with. Look at gmail, greader and other highly successful web apps. They don't look like and feel like desktop apps.

There are also cool graphics apps from aviary, for creating artwork. They are flash based and take more time to load than Pixelmator on my laptop.

4 comments:

Automotive Software Solutions. said...

Great stuff! Keep on posting. Thanks.

regards,
Diagnostic Imaging

FuzzyDuck said...

How can you miss out the venerable Yahoo Pipes? That has been around for ever and creates applications?

Roberto Saccon said...

Hey FuzzyDuck, this are just the in-browser app-buildings app I came across recently and "accidentally". Of course there plenty of others, and now that you mention it, I actually think I tried that out long time ago. Isn't it the one with those cool looking curved connecting lines between the visual mashup components ?

phil jones said...

Absolutely!

Bespin (with the Mozilla labs stamp of approval) is going to take this mainstream.

And look at all the smart people (Kevin Dangoor, Avi Bryant, the Humanized people etc.) jumping in to hack on it. And the fact that it's all open source means that anyone can integrate it with their own server-side solutions.

Someone will add Python syntax colouring and hook it up to Google Application Engine ... someone will connect it to Trac, and GitHub etc ... and things will get different pretty fast.