In the early days of the web, I remember (vaguely) marveling at the idea that I could put software in a machine that had a persistent connection and have it be accessible anywhere. This was great until I created something that became moderately popular and learned the wonders of scaling. And then I learned about ISPs who don’t react well to outages. After all that it didn’t seem so magical.
Today, almost 20 years later, we’ve pivoted to a new architecture and it’s got me puzzled again, at times, looking one way then another trying to find the app, and not getting it right at first — even though I wrote the app myself. Here’s what’s weird.
2. But those apps have limited ability to store stuff. Little Outliner proved that even though there are limits, you can still create something useful that runs in the page, with absolutely nothing else. Every computer that runs a modern browser has decided that each virtual “site” can have a few megabytes of storage. That might not be a lot for movies or audio, but for outlines, it’s plenty.
A user asked if Fargo could write to the local sub-folder of Dropbox even if he didn’t have a net connection. I actually had to think for a moment. No, it can’t. Think of the circuitous route the data goes through just to end up right back where it started. And think about all the efforts to sandbox web apps so they couldn’t get at the local hard drive. That barrier is gone. Now we have to trust the Box-Drive folks to make sure the sandboxes they maintain are really solid. So far they seem to meet the challenge.
But we are, once again, in a strange new world. Maybe there are ways it will get weary and will break. But if there are, we don’t know what they are yet. And for now, it’s just a mysterious kind of fun. The gee-whiz factor is high again. 😉