Friday 26 November 2010

GTK+ app interfaces using HTML5

This impressive demo of a web application deserves more publicity. I am quite sure that this is not the last GUI toolkit that interfaces with generic web browsers.

Sunday 21 November 2010

R.I.P Microsoft Windows?

Microsoft is usually very good at presenting new products years ahead of the actual launch - but there continues to be a very remarkable absence of a single strategy for support of Windows applications or Windows as a well integrated desktop.

Android provides many improvements that Windows does not offer as part of the standard platform:

* Easy app discovery and installation (Android Market)
* Easy complete app removal
* Easy and tight Integration of phone book, GIS, messaging, online accounts etc.
* Automatic light control of the display
* Removes the need to terminate apps from the user
* Location
* Sandboxing
* Removes the need to think about file structures, which most users don't seem to grasp.
* Instant on
* OTA OS upgrades

In the future, Microsoft may provide many of these features, too, but it seems that it will take many years, because:

* Windows 8 seems to contain some technologies intended for improving on the mentioned deficiencies.
* Windows 8 is planned for 2012.
* It may take longer than that, before Windows 8 is out, based on Microsoft's historic performance.
* It often takes customers years to upgrade their Windows clients - some large organizations are still installing Windows XP. We might therefore not see a general deployment of Windows 8 before 2014 or much later.
* Microsoft does not make much PR about how to write client-side apps for Windows, how to future-proof them and certainly does not make it easy. Delphi is still king of doing that.
* Microsoft does not seem to prepare a platform for Windows apps that can be installed on Vista, Windows 7 or even Windows XP.

Don't be fooled about the press focus on touch devices; according to Paul Thurrott, Apple is still gaining market share on laptops, and Google is preparing a mouse-based OS, too (Chrome OS). Chrome OS seems to contain many of the features in the first list above, including the concept of installed apps.

Does this mean that Windows is dead? No, not in business, and not on the server. Some hardcore gamers and those that want "the same at home that they have at work" will still keep it, of course. But frankly, once Google Chrome OS is out, there isn't much advantage in buying a Windows PC, if you are an average consumer with no special preferences for specific software packages. Some may even just use a touch tablet with a keyboard.

So, how will the business desktop look like 5 years from now? My best guess is: fragmented.