Becoming First Class Applications

A storm on the horizon with the IE 10 / Windows 8 preview – Microsoft has announced that our web applications will finally be able to break completely free of the browser and act as first class applications.

Security considerations aside for a moment, this is an exciting development.

And yes, iOS has been doing this since 3 I think. But if Windows 8 is doing this Apple will almost certainly follow suite with Lion’s successor (what is the next big cat in their theme, or do we finally see OS XI - I digress)

Any thoughts on what doors this is going to open up? Reservations on complications?

My personal thought is CSS is going to start getting ridiculously complicated to handle all these media sizes elegantly. In my opinion CSS 4 seriously needs to natively incorporate the features in less because avoiding the use of variables and control structures is going to make it even more complicated than it needs to be.

It’s exciting though. All of this is…

Sounds like what John Allsop mentioned a while ago is coming true.

Over the coming five to ten years, I have little doubt that the vast majority of screen-based interfaces will be developed using CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. That will affect in-flight entertainment systems, car dashboards, ATMs, you name it.

I’m not familiar with less, I have taken a look at it but I don’t think introducing conditionals, control structures and variables into CSS is a good idea. The more and more of those things that are introduced the higher the learning curve and more like programming writing CSS will become. There are cases where I have thought it would be nice to have variables, but I can do without. I don’t really see how anything within less is really necessary. I guess it can make life easier but I have yet to come across an issue that I couldn’t solve using what is available with CSS at this point in time. As for web technologies being used on the whole for stand-alone applications I think that is a wonderful thing for use devs. It means more job security and opportunities, who wouldn’t like that. I don’t think its a storm, in fact its a sunrise to me.

I don’t think this makes a significant difference to anything. Depending on what they have in mind, I assume it will just make it easier to build standalone web apps. on Windows.

That has been possible for quite some time of course, by recompiling something like Firefox with a built in web app. on by default or by using Adobe Air.

Making that sort of thing easier would be pretty handy though. It’d also make it much easier to port your applications from Windows -> IOS -> Android etc. without having to rewrite / bug-test the heck out of everything. Cross platform compatibility for the win :slight_smile:

If they aren’t a good idea then transitions aren’t a good idea. Functions, mix ins, and variables allow code to be more precise with less repetition. The bloat that CSS currently forces is unacceptable in my opinion. A less sheet can express in 40 lines concepts that can take 500 or more lines in straight css.

And honestly, that is a real problem.

As for web technologies being used on the whole for stand-alone applications I think that is a wonderful thing for use devs. It means more job security and opportunities, who wouldn’t like that. I don’t think its a storm, in fact its a sunrise to me.

I use the storm analogy because it will be tempestuous. It will shake things up. But it does mean more work and an increase in the value of our skills, which is good.

Couldn’t agree more. I appreciate the original concept of CSS was to be a “simple” vocabulary for non-techies to bring their artistic designs to the web. However, CSS2.1 and CSS3 have become so powerful and complex that the language is clearly out of its element at this point. It’s too convoluted, too arcane, it’s truly understood by only a few masters. It’s time for it to be replaced by something that takes advantage of variables, encapsulation, and a simplified and more logical structure.

I agree on two points. Most importantly, the entire Win8 demo (YouTube - ‪Building “Windows 8” - Video #1‬‏) is an ode to merging mediums. They’re merging web technologies (or at least allowing them to interface) into the OS. A major step that will continue to blur the lines between what runs on your computer and what runs on the net. The Mac-ish look of Win7 is entirely thrown out in favor of an experience that looks like WinPhone tiles, blurring the lines between desktop and mobile. And while it supports keyboards and mice, it also supports touch screens (which seems pretty optimistic, but whatever) which blurs the boundaries of device input. If things turn out as advertised, Win8,

And on the “much sound and fury signifying nothing”, it is already hugely tempestous. The video has convinced the silverlight community that MS is dumping it for HTML5, and MS has decided not to comment Windows 8 apps going html5, wtf : The Official Microsoft Silverlight Site (brilliant move btw) So it’s a big 'ole friggin train wreck. :wink:

I don’t think this makes a significant difference to anything. Depending on what they have in mind, I assume it will just make it easier to build standalone web apps. on Windows.