Native apps, or web apps? Which ones are truly better?
That’s one of the most important questions developers could ask themselves today, with native apps surging in popularity, while people still spend more time than ever using web apps like Facebook and Gmail.
Our own Jacob Penderworth recently got fed up with the infrequent updates to Twitter’s native Mac app, and decided to switch to using the Twitter web app in Fluid by default instead. He lists what frustrated him with native apps, why Twitter’s web app is much better now, and why he chose to use Twitter in Fluid instead of as another tab in his browser. It’s an interesting insight into how web apps truly can be better than native apps, especially when the native apps are merely a way to show data from the web app.
Today, the Internet is alive with new web apps: some totally unique, others a different twist on an already successful app, others just plain copies of another great service. This is great to see, as it gives users choice, helps fuel competition, and inspire new ideas for the next set of web apps. After all, everything is a remix. We often do interviews with developers from popular, new apps, but we often don’t look back at older apps and see what happened to them. Older apps that stuck around can have quite an interesting story, though.
Today I’m going to talk about HitTail and the revival it received when it was acquired by Rob Walling, a self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur. I usually have a low opinion of most acquisitions these days. The acquired products or services are usually outstanding, and acquired by even bigger companies – Google and Facebook are the usual top hitters. These apps more often than not are either shut down, or changed totally, much to the dismay of its users. Lucky this isn’t the case with HitTail; in fact, quite the opposite is true.
Computers are everywhere. Just look around: you’ll see full PCs in everything from info kiosks to the seating system at restaurants, and smaller networked devices in barcode scanners, fuel pumps, and more. Everything’s computerized, networked, which makes our world insanely great, more efficient, and cost effective.
Well, not exactly. The world is computerized, but so many companies aren’t taking advantage of the simplicity and efficiency gains that web apps could bring. They’ve got the equipment to do it, but simply aren’t taking advantage of it.
Why is this a problem? It all starts with a pizza order…
If you’re looking for a way to store your files online, it can quickly get confusing trying to find the best app. We recently rounded up a number of great apps for syncing your files to your other devices and the cloud, then followed up with a list of apps for sharing files online. There’s a bit of crossover between the two, and among each category many of the apps share very similar features. If you don’t already have a file sharing or syncing app you love, it can be rather tough to decide which is the best for you.
But then, why would you need both an app to sync files and an app to share files? Wouldn’t one be enough?
As Facebook Timeline slowly rolls out to the scores of people on the world’s largest social network, there seems to be a lot of resistance. It is the same song and dance as always: Facebook makes a change, people complain en mass about that change, and then they get used to it and no longer care. I’d be surprised if Facebook’s constant evolution has cost them even 1% of their 900 million active users.
However, things do seem a bit different this time around. Our very own Oliver de Looze recently published a nice oped piece titled, Facebook Timeline- Friend or Foe?, where he voices his concerns about the new layout, primarily Privacy. After reviewing the new Facebook Timeline back in October, and then using it since then, I’ve got a different perspective on it.
It cannot be denied that Facebook is now a large part of most people’s lives. For many of us, its use involves catching up with friends, organising events and sharing our experiences of the world around us. With over 900 million members, there is no doubt that Facebook is the de facto social network on the planet, the time of Myspace has definitely passed and more and more people are now migrating to Facebook from other social networks that were perhaps more popular in local areas (Bebo in the UK, for example).
For a product with so many users, Facebook seems to be incredibly quick to change its designs and layout. Is this actually a good thing for users, and can they possible keep changing without facing a sharp user backlash?
I’ve been a web developer for about 10 years now, which aside from making me feel old in my mid-twenties, means I’ve put a lot of thought into developing websites and web applications. I’ve developed tons of sites, had a litany of ideas and side projects, and I’m a user with a sometimes too critical eye. I also review apps for the Appstorm network; in short, I have a few things I look for (or look to accomplish) when it comes to web apps and apps in general.
When it comes to writing, the hardest part for me is getting new ideas for articles. I used to just hope I’d remember them long enough to either start writing about them when I had the chance or write down the idea itself in a list. That’s when I started using Wunderlist to manage my writing ideas, but I soon stopped using it since the developers didn’t update the apps with the bug fixes that it needed so badly.
Then one day I had nothing to do and I stumbled upon Simplenote, a note-taking service that’s name pretty much explains itself. You’ve definitely heard of it before, so I’m not going to give you a tour of what it’s able to do, but rather tell you why I like it. In addition, I use Wunderkit (developed by the same people as Wunderlist, but far better) to manage my tasks. I’ll also be giving some thoughts on that in this article, so keep reading for some reasons why you should use these two services to organize your ideas. (more…)
I’m a web developer; that’s my jam. I enjoy making websites, and I really enjoy trying new technologies, techniques, and hacks for websites. In 2012, that means making websites responsive. While the ‘Responsive Web Design’ movement started a few years ago, it’s really starting to pick up steam with better browser support for HTML5 and CSS 3 across all devices. Then, book and training form great organizations like A List Apart, and tools like jQuery Mobile and ZURB’s Foundation, make it really easy to create websites that are supported and look great across all devices.
The changing technology allows us to push websites forward into the realm of mobile without sacrificing quality, features, or content. There’s no reason mobile sites should be any more limited than their desktop counterparts today. So what does all this hubbub mean for web apps? We can’t really be sure how web apps will evolve, but I have a few ideas based on what I’ve read and some things I am personally doing.
Google+ has been going pretty strong since its launch back in June of 2011. In just a year, it amassed 170 million users — Google is obviously not going to give out the numbers of those who actually use the service, but they like to say 170 million do, so we’ll go with that. Today, Google announced that they are expanding the social network even more with lots of extra customization, a major redesign, better Hangouts, and more.
Not that Google+’s layout was terrible before, but Google thinks they can really enhance it by giving users some customization all around. For instance, with the redesign, you can now customize the new navigation bar on the left by simply dragging the apps around. If you don’t want to see one anymore, then just drag it to the animated “More” button to remove them. Read on for the other notable changes in Google’s redesign along with some opinion on the subject. (more…)