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Web apps suck. There. I

posted by Jason Kottke   May 15, 2000

Web apps suck. There. I said it. Now we can move on to a discussion of the pros and cons of Web apps like Blogger, Deepleap and the like, instead of just whining about it.

Pros: Web apps are (usually) free. What part of free don’t you like? Well? You can use a Web app wherever you have a Web connection and browser…no special programs needed. The information that you store with a Web app is available wherever you go. Folks running Web app-based companies are a little more “with it” in terms of realizing the potential of the Web; that’s good for the user. No-wait upgrades…you don’t have to go out to the store to buy Deepleap 2.0, it’s just there.

Cons: Guess what? The Internet is unstable as hell sometimes. Are you always able to get to your email? No. Why? Because some schmoe at your ISP stepped on a cable and unplugged the router that the mail server is connected to. Web apps are only up when your connection to the Internet is up. Web apps are almost always in beta, even when they say they aren’t. That’s because they are free….you get a free tool and the company gets a bunch of beta testers. That’s how it works. Upgrades often happen on the fly…which can mean downtime. Web apps are free; you sometimes get what you pay for. Web apps are often vulnerable to all sorts of mischief - the Web, by design, is pretty open and often fosters that sort of thing. Much of this mischief is out of the control of the Web app makers because the apps are built on top of many platforms (HTTP, TCP/IP, Web browsers, JavaScript, Java, ActiveX, etc.), some of which are pretty iffy as far as security from attack goes.

Do the pros outweigh the cons? You bet they do, depending on your needs. It’s a definite trade-off though…price and platform independence vs. stability and reliability. As usual, you just have to ask yourself if you’re willing to sacrifice some stuff in order to take advantage of some other stuff. That’s deep, huh?