Sans Browser

Archives Posts

Less Cruft, More Usability

April 29th, 2007 by enefekt

The folks at Virtual Ubiquity are building a very ambitous web-enabled word-processing application called Buzzword. The appliction is being built on Flex and targeting Flash Player 9 and Apollo.

The cool thing about this is that they are able to use the exact same development efforts to target the desktop and the browser-based application without having to worry about hackish solutions to appease the various selection of browsers.

They highlight some of the aspects of Apollo that they find value in, with creating Buzzword:

On the browser screen, just below the title bar, there are generally two or three strips of toolbars. While this real estate represents important functionality for general browser use, for a web app like ours that aims for elegance, simplicity and attention to the task at hand, it is “cruft,”… And to us, less cruft is more usability

Filed under Adobe, Apollo, ApolloApp, IDA having Comments Off

Archives Posts

The Browser As A Peer, is Here

April 27th, 2007 by enefekt

Brent Simmons strikes again with a really insightful post on why the whole “desktop vs web” debate is already dead. He uses the term “hybrid apps”, which is similar to an Internet Desktop App, but a more general categorization.

In the browser or out of the browser? Make that decision on an “app-by-app basis”. Look at the requirements of the project/product. No need to make blanket decisions. But there is always the considerations of you and/or your teams skill-sets. I think this is where runtimes like Apollo and XULRunner shine.

Of course though, highlighting some of the values of living outside of the browser are appropriate:

None of my browsers can provide the user interface that Twitterrific provides

Anyone who wants to do everything in just one desktop app, the browser, can—provided they don’t mind giving up protected memory and all that modern goodness.

Filed under Adobe, Hybrid, IDA, Mozilla, Web having Comments Off

Archives Posts

Adobe Media Player

April 21st, 2007 by enefekt

Big news for the Apollo runtime. Adobe announced Adobe Media Player, an IDA that will bring content management, Media RSS support, and double-click-FLV support to Flash Video and the desktop.

I like Read/Write Web’s headline “Adobe Feeds Apollo Ecosystem With New Internet Video Player”. I think Mozilla could follow that example a little and start looking at feeding the XULRunner ecosystem with some apps. And what better candidate then Firefox 3?

Filed under AMP, Adobe, Apollo, ApolloApp, IDA having Comments Off

Archives Posts

eMusic Download Manager

April 21st, 2007 by enefekt

New XULRunner app by eMusic. It’s called the eMusic Download Manager. Very cool example of tailoring an experience for an online app with an IDA to overcome browser limitations. One of the main goals is described here:

Our goal is to rid ourselves of years of issues with downloading and to give you an experience that should help you rock-on without having to worry about how to download.

Filed under IDA, Mozilla, XULRunner, XULRunnerApp having Comments Off

Archives Posts

Internet Desktop Applications Defined

April 20th, 2007 by enefekt

I’ve been working on defining what an Internet Desktop Application is. In that effort I’ve created a living page to try and define what an IDA is. In it I try to list the best qualities of both browser-based applications, and desktop applications. I will be referring to this definition as I evaluate many things on this weblog.

I don’t believe there is any runtime or environment that currently meets all of these qualities. But as long as some come close, compromise in the right areas, and are heading in a good general direction, we will be able to do some interesting work!

Read the definition!

Filed under Adobe, IDA, Mozilla having Comments Off

Archives Posts

The HTML Output Assumption

April 18th, 2007 by enefekt

An excellent post here by Dave Thomas on PragDave, one of OG Pragmatic Programmers.

He really drives home the point of server-side applications needing to be client-independent, not assuming the client is a browser, and spitting out just HTML.

Favorite antagonistic quote:

Recently, folks have been trying to circumvent this simplicity by making browser-based applications more interactive using technologies such as Ajax. To my mind, this is just a stop-gap until we throw the browser away altogether—Ajax is just lipstick on a pig

Filed under Adobe, IDA, Mozilla, Server, Web having Comments Off

Archives Posts

Brent Simmons on Internet and Desktop

April 18th, 2007 by enefekt

The Hivelogic Podcast is awesome. There consistently has been some really good content and interviews in this podcast.

Last month around this same time, there was a really cool episode featuring Brent Simmons, the developer behind NetNewsWire.

Brent is someone who came from a web app developer background and moved into desktop applications that work with the web, and cares a lot about the user experience. He has some very interesting insights into incorporating web technologies into desktop applications.

His focus is on Cocoa development on the Mac, but many of the points he brings up can be applied to cross-os endeavors as well.

Go check it out!

Filed under Adobe, Cocoa, IDA, Mac, Mozilla, Podcasts having Comments Off

Archives Posts

Here we go!

April 18th, 2007 by enefekt

My first post. I’ll be writing about Internet Desktop Applications, their development, and the technologies and problems surrounding them. As new technologies appear or old technologies get renewed, that target this new area, I will write about them.

One overarching theme that I will be using to constrain the scope of my writings is found in the weblog title. I believe that in an IDA, the browser should be optional. This is a crucial element and allows for application designers and developers to have full control of the user experience, and use established desktop UI conventions at their convenience.

Now, I am NOT anti-browser. In fact, I also would like to write about what factors should go into a decision of whether to develop an RIA in a browser, or an IDA out of the browser. Another exciting thought is to develop an application that can be ported to both, leveraging the strengths of each of the strategies, and reusing development resources.

Other attributes that I will be using to filter the technologies I write about, will be listed in my definition of what an Internet Desktop Application is.

So right off the bat, I have to say that I will be writing for sure about two platforms that I have experience in that are targeting this space. One is the Flash Platform, taking the shape of Adobe Apollo. The other is the Mozilla Platform, taking the shape of XULRunner.

So we’ll see how this goes!

Filed under Adobe, IDA, Mozilla having Comments Off

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