Native Mobile Apps are the New Flash

I’m not that old, but I remember a past when Flash was on top. Before HTML5 was the hottest tech buzzword. Before CSS gradients were even a distant dream. Before jQuery was a household name. Before Steve Jobs hung Flash to a cross.

Back then, the web simply wasn’t advanced enough to create the experiences users wanted. Developers turned to Flash to fill in the gaps, while the open web evolved and eventually surpassed Flash’s capabilities. Flash was a great stopgap measure. But it outlived its usefulness and has been reduced to niche status. For Web development company visit Vivid Designs

Today, we’re seeing the nearly exact same scenario with native apps on mobile devices.

The vast majority of web apps no longer need a native counterpart. Native mobile apps are a temporary solution. We’re just over 4 years into the Appstore era and this has already become apparent. Open web technologies are catching up to the point that the vast majority of web apps no longer need a native counterpart.

Don’t try to tell me native apps are faster or allude to them having a “better experience.” That simply is no longer true. Sencha proved this last year. For a more detailed look just how far mobile web capabilities have come, see Benjamin De Cock’s excellent “Building iOS Web Apps in 2013.”

Most of today’s mobile apps add little more than a homescreen button. As it stands now, there is little reason most mobile apps to exist. Content-based sites do not need downloadable apps. I’m talking about NYTimes, WSJ, Wikipedia, Buzzfeed, TMZ, etc. These native apps add literally nothing of value to their web-based user experience. Even many more complex apps do not need native functionality. Many RSS readers, GTD apps, eCommerce apps and search apps add little more than a homescreen button. For Web development services in Bangalore visit Vivid Designs

In many cases, native apps are a considerable step backward from their web counterparts. As Thomas Baekdal points out, mobile apps are stuck in 2004. Much of the functionality that has become standard on the web — automatic updates, social sharing, scrolling — has been completely stripped out and ignored.

Today, there are only two pieces of functionality that necessitate a native app: camera access and push notifications. And the web is quickly working on filling both of these gaps.

Once people begin realize this, native mobile apps will be the same as Flash. Useful for games, but not much else.

Edit: Many have said that I’ve “missed the point about app stores facilitating monetization and distribution.” Let me be clear: I am not saying the app store business model is going anywhere. Web app stores exist and are growing rapidly. Thanks for reading! I’m Jim Silverman, the product designer behind MeetMidway. You can follow me on Medium, Twitter, or Dribbble.



The Two Perspectives on XML

Silicon Publishing

I have been working with XML since it was a glimmer in the eye of Jon Bosak. In fact, before XML was conceived, there was SGML; this evolution of SGML represented a streamlining for the web, but at its core there was not much functional difference; in fact the new invention was defined as a mere SGML subset. The key concept of semantic markup is central to the core value of SGML as well as its “streamlined for mass consumption” child.

The two main perspectives I have seen are Document-centric and Data-centric. SGML initially appeared in support of document-centric work: managing all the technical documents or contracts of IBM or Boeing, for example. Charles Goldfarb has maintained that “SGML literally makes the infrastructure of modern society possible” and I think he’s right — hmm, should we blame him for the lengths to which humans have gone to destroy the earth? If you are looking for Website development services check Vivid Designs

The gentle document-centric world The document-centric world is really a direct continuation of SGML. When XML came out as a standard in 1998, those of us working with document-centric use cases became giddy with excitement, anticipating that the standards being proposed at the time (notably XML itself, XLink, XML Schema, RDF, XSL and pre-cursors to SVG) would finally facilitate tools that made publishing work for organizations that weren’t quite as big as IBM or the Department of Defense. The vision of a semantic web and ubiquitous multi-channel publishing, seemed to be growing a foundation in theories gaining critical mass, with apparent support of software companies. It appeared these vendors might actually adopt the standards of the committees they were sitting on. “Throw away Xyvision!” I told my boss at Bertelsmann, “this XSL-FO will completely revolutionize database publishing!”

We were sorely disappointed over the next five years. In the years before 1998 W3C standards seemed magical; concepts from the standards were implemented relatively quickly, without perfection but with steady progress: browser updates would reflect CSS and HTML advances; even Microsoft was shamed into some level of compliance. But the monopolistic tendencies of those on the standards committees, coupled with the academic approach of some of the standards committees, managed to make it less and less likely that a given standard would find a functional implementation.

Data-centric newbies crash the party And there was that other perspective — the data-centric side of things. For many reasons, XML was at the right place at the right time in terms of data management and information exchange. In fact, the very year that it became a standard, it also became the dominant way that machines (servers) talked to each other around the world. Highly convenient for exchanging info, as firewalls would tend to block anything but text over http, while the semantic markup would allow any sort of specification for data structures, and validation tools would ensure no info was lost. If you are looking for Best web design company in Bangalore check Vivid Designs

In 1998, when you asked a programming candidate “what do you know about XML?” only the document-centric people would know anything. By 2000, everyone doing any serious programming “knew” about the acronym. Trouble was, they typically knew about it only in the much easier-to-use, barely-relevant-to-publishing, sense.

And the standards now had to accommodate two crowds. The work of the W3C XML Schema Working Group, in particular, showed the disconnect. Should a schema be easily human readable? What was the primary purpose of Schema? Goals were not shared by the document- and data-centric sides, and data-centric won out, as they have tended to dominate the standards space around structure ever since that time. RELAX NG came about as an alternative, and if you contrast RELAX NG with W3C Schema, you will see the contrast between the power of a few brilliant individuals aligned in purity of purpose and the impotence of a committee with questionable motives and conflicting goals. Concurrent with a decline in the altruism of committee participants was the huge advance of data-centric XML and the disproportionate representation of that perspective.

XML tooling solves mainly the trivial data-centric challenges Ten years later, we find in the document-centric world that toolsets related to XML in a data sense — parsing, transforming, exchanging info — have made great leaps forward, but we are in many ways still stuck in the 1990s in terms of core authoring and publishing technologies. It is telling that descendants of the three great SGML authoring tools as of 1995 — FrameMaker+SGML, Arbortext Epic, and SoftQuad’s Author/Editor, are, lo and behold, the leading three XML authoring tools in 2009.

There have been some slow-paced advances in document-centric XML standards and tool chains as well, especially the single bright light out there for us, Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) which came out of IBM like XML itself. Yet standards for rendition, XSL-FO and SVG especially, have not advanced along with core proprietary rendition technologies such as InDesign, Flash, or Silverlight, though all of these enjoy nicely copied underpinnings pillaged from the standards. More important, nothing has stepped in to replace the three core authoring tools: the “XML support” of Microsoft Word and Adobe InDesign, for example, do not approach the capabilities of a true structured authoring application. There are a proliferation of XML “editors” but most of the new ones are appropriate for editing a WSDL file or a SOAP message (data-centric forms of XML), not a full-fledged document.

Meanwhile, on the data-centric front, XML has simply permeated every aspect of computing. There are XML data types in database systems, XML features in most programming languages, XML configuration files at the heart of most applications, and XML-based Web Services available in countless flavors. With the advent of JSON at the turn of the 21st century, the torch was passed on to an even more streamlined and “web-convenient” approach for managing semantic content, and while JSON is finding its way into ever-richer content, it is used first and foremost in a data-centric way.

Document-centric XML is simply a deep challenge that will take more time (and probably more of a commercial incentive) to tackle. For the time being, structured authoring managed the XML way is still implemented mainly by very large organizations: such an approach has “trickled down” from organizations the size of IBM to organizations the size of Adobe (which does, in fact, use DITA now), but there are not tool chains yet available that will bring it down much further. The consequences of the failure of the W3C XML Schema Working Group to provide a functional specification supporting document-centric XML can hardly be underestimated.

As long as content is not easily authored in a semantically rich, structured fashion, the vision of the semantic web will remain an illusion. Should document-centric XML get more attention from standards bodies and software vendors, human communications might become far more efficient and effective. Yet the challenges are substantial, the short-term gain not so obvious, it appears that semantic depth will not commonly be available in such a controlled and intentional fashion, but instead will be deduced after the fact through analysis of “unstructured” and pseudo-structured content.


Web Developer Monthly 💻🚀 — July 2018

Being a web developer is a fantastic career option. You have many job opportunities, you can work around the world, and you get to solve hard problems. One thing that is hard, however, is staying up to date with the constantly evolving ecosystem. You want to be a top performing web developer, coder, programer, software developer, but you don’t have time to select from hundreds of articles, videos and podcasts each day.

This monthly newsletter is going to be focused on keeping up to date with the industry, keeping your skills sharp, without wasting your valuable time. I will be sharing the most important articles, podcasts and videos of the month. Think Tim Ferriss and the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) meeting the Software Development world. What’s the 20% that will get you 80% of the results? For web design company visit Vivid Designs

Welcome to the first issue. If you want to be notified of the next issue with industry news and tips, subscribe below:

This month as a web developer… 1. HTTPS + Google Google Chrome will officially no longer be nice if you don’t use HTTPS on your website: https://twitter.com/ChromiumDev/status/1021806746283651072

So you better learn what HTTPS is and start using it with something like Let’s Encrypt.

2. Developer Roadmaps More and more developer roadmaps are being created. Here are some good ones that show you what you need to learn for a specific career in 2018: – Front End Developer – Back End Developer – DevOps – React Developer

3. ES2018 + ES2019 Features If you haven’t taken a look already, get ready for ES2018 features, and some of the features that may be coming in ES2019. Dr. Axel Rauschmayer gives you a great writeup here: http://exploringjs.com/es2018-es2019/

4. Modern Architecture Big picture vision is important to get an idea of the current architecture landscape. This article is one of the best on the subject of how some big companies are handling their software architecture: https://engineering.videoblocks.com/web-architecture-101-a3224e126947

5. NPM Security Issue On July 12, 2018, the popular package manager, NPM, had a bit of a security issue… https://blog.npmjs.org/post/175824896885/incident-report-npm-inc-operations-incident-of, and this is one of the ways they are solving this: https://blog.npmjs.org/post/175861857230/two-factor-authentication-protection-for-packages

6. jQuery 💔Github Github no longer uses jQuery on their front end. Why? Well because they can do without it: https://twitter.com/mislav/status/1022058279000842240. Yes, I know the broken heart in the title is a little bit dramatic…

Best Article of the Month My favourite article this month… ok this is not from July but it’s the first issue (give me a break), so I’m picking one from a few months back because it is so good. It is a must read for all developers: https://medium.freecodecamp.org/how-to-think-like-a-programmer-lessons-in-problem-solving-d1d8bf1de7d2

Code Trick of the Month

Remove all node_module folders recursively to clean up your computer: https://coderwall.com/p/guqrca/remove-all-node_module-folders-recursively. For website design company in New delhi visit Vivid Designs

Thank you for reading this far. If you enjoyed this post, please share, comment, and press/hold that 👏 a few times (up to 50 times). . . I will keep doing these if there is enough interest!

Follow me on Twitter and Subscribe to the newsletter above. Format may change as I get more feedback. By the way, my full time job is to teach people to code in the most efficient way possible. You can see my two courses below:

1. The Complete Web Developer in 2018

2. Complete Junior to Senior Web Developer Roadmap