The computer industry definitely works in cycles. Before I even knew what a computer was, I’m sure the cycles were still happening. Growing up, I had a Commodore 64, and for the most part, you had applications that ran on the Commodore. There was still CompuServe and several other online services. The user interface of these services were pretty much. Then along came QuantumLink which had an application that ran on your computer to provide a better online experience. For those newcomers, AOL in the old days was similar.
I bring this up because, for the most part, having a locally running application provided a much better interface. At some point, more things started moving to the web, and it seemed we lost functionality. I never really cared for what I considered the “lowest common denominator” of the web. I preferred local clients. But, the web evolved. Now, we have a movement to push everything to the web and eliminate local applications. Google is the most noticeable with its Google Apps that only need a web browser to run.
As I sit and ponder this, I see yet another website wanting me to download their iPhone/iPod/iPad app. Wait, what is this? They want me to download a locally run application instead of accessing strictly over the web?
So, where are we? Are we moving to the web? Or have we passed that cycle and now moving back to apps? The Mac has an app store too, so are we progressing back to the QuantumLink / AOL days of having a local application access online content?
Just wanted to give you something to think about on this Sunday afternoon.