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Thread: What internet style applications are so last decade?

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    Question What internet style applications are so last decade?

    In a conversation with a couple of developers in terms of adding some internet applications to a framework we diverted into a discussion of what applications are no longer of paramount importance going ahead.

    - Blogs, seems WordPress and the free online sites have pretty much cornered the market. Why write a new one?

    - Forums, Facebook et al seem to be impacting most forum sites, even long term highly successful ones. With vBulletion and Invision looking to be in the doldrums, and xenforo not exploding into the stratosphere as certain people expected, are forum applications a thing of the past?

    - Photo Galleries, well half an hour and some jquery later you can have a pretty good looking app.

    Agree, disagree?

    Any others you think wont be around by 2020 (assuming the planet still will be).
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    Loquacious User Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: What internet style applications are so last decade?

    So...you're asking us about our 2020 vision? Mine was better, but is beginning to decline with age.

    Frankly, I expect to see a revolution. This planet seems to see a full revolution daily, but that's just the high level view. The web isn't fast enough, and it isn't versatile enough. In general terms, the direction of web technologies has been to push the envelope on versatility slightly faster than the speed allows. The things we see today, such as HTML5, wouldn't have been realisitic in the days of 24K baud modems, and they aren't truly realistic for slower speed broadband connections. Lots of sites are marginal for me, at home, simply because my connection is marginal. If more features were added, the sites would become unusable. Therefore, the versatility is constrained by the availability.

    As it relates to the question: I see a slow grinding progression constrained by the slow increase in US bandwidth (we lag behind the rest of the industrialized world in every way except purchasing power, and that last factor is a big one). Ultimately, I feel that bandwidth has kept the lid on the internet. Yeah, there's been lots of stuff that has come out, but I still feel that it is bandwidth limitted to the extent that a significant change in that one aspect would launch development in entirely different directions.
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    PowerPoster Jenner's Avatar
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    Re: What internet style applications are so last decade?

    Agreed, we're seeing explosive incremental growth in the tech sector. Cell phone and tablet technology is the most volatile of them all with new equipment hitting shelves every 3 months. It's not keeping pace with the software end which frequently seems ill thought out and cobbled together. The web is the same way. Sure, there's plenty of high-end web apps like Facebook, and systems that make common websites seem like applications, but honestly, the interfaces generally stink across the board, and browser lockups and crashes are becoming the norm, rather than the exception.

    Personally, I love forums because they're stable, and it's easy to see if they're used or dead. They also serve as sort of the internets "troubleshooting archive" as when I'm Googling a tech problem, it almost always leads me to some forum. Blogs, I never got. I don't agree with any one opinion long enough to actually follow one regularly. Facebook to me was a fad that held interest for a few months before it became a cluttered mess of game requests and spam from actual people I know about stuff I could care less about; but Facebook at least I get; I understand it's appeal. Twitter I admit, I don't even remotely understand the purpose of or why it's still around.

    What's next? App Stores. Basically one-stop-shops you can browse, buy, download, install, and manage applications from... except via PC. Already popular with games (Steam, Battle.net), I expect the internet to turn app-store crazy. Communications wise, I see more competition to Facebook, basically Facebook with better interfaces; but the question is whether they can get enough converts away from Facebook to become big.

    I'm also expecting competition to DropBox as well as services that offer full-blown web-app services like word processing or excel.
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    Loquacious User Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: What internet style applications are so last decade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenner View Post
    I see more competition to Facebook, basically Facebook with better interfaces
    Facebook....with ethics.
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    Re: What internet style applications are so last decade?

    The Internet is not the Web except to the unwashed masses but it sounds like that's what you're discussing: the Web.

    I expect platforms like Adobe AIR to gain prominence because they escape the tyranny of HTML and can be more responsive. This seems to be doing pretty well right now for things like local, home network, and Internet-connected media players. They should also lend themselves well to things like Twitter, email, newsreaders, chat/IM, RSS aggregators, etc. - as well as low to mid-performance games. Java has made a comeback here as bandwidth has increased beyond the stilfing 1998 levels and PCs have gotten more powerful.

    Hulu Desktop, DeskTube, and Acer Clear-Fi show what can be done here for media.

    SilverLight was yet another try by Microsoft that's dying off now. The world just doesn't need a second Java or Flash and Microsoft ought to be getting the message by now. It still exists in vestigial form in Win8 Metro but I suspect we'll see HTML5 with the new JScript engine eating .Net's lunch there... assuming they don't pull Metro before Win8 leaves the barn.


    The better blogs are actually fairly useful. These tend to be treated as a place to self-publish things the author knows about, much like vanity Web sites of yore but based on a standardized pattern with less effort expended on site plumbing.

    Ads tend to be between non-existant to minimal, unlike "fake blogs" published on mega-corporation sites that are low in content, shallow, and heavily ad-laden (see my current Blade Runner Blimp avatar). This is something a lot of Microsoft folks are actually getting right. One sample: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/larryosterman/

    But there are few blogs worth revisiting for every post, I agree. I only have two bookmarked myself. I see them more as useful search hits when after details on some topic.

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    PowerPoster Jenner's Avatar
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    Re: What internet style applications are so last decade?

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    The Internet is not the Web except to the unwashed masses but it sounds like that's what you're discussing: the Web.
    Exactly. Heck, if you want an internet style application that was so last decade that isn't the Web, how about that Archie...? Gopher anyone?

    Non-web, I don't see anything really changing. Dropbox seems to have finally gotten file-storage and sharing somewhat right, Skype nailed video-voice chat, iTunes is high overlord of the music distribution world, and torrent technology rules the peer-to-peer realm... hell, even companies like Blizzard Entertainment use torrent technology to download large patch information.

    Heck, there's one feature I'd love to see in Dropbox and that's the ability to rt-click a file and "Send email link to...". That would be the cat's meow. The recipient doesn't need a Dropbox account, all they need to do is click the link in their email and download the file straight from Dropbox's servers (and if it has this already, PM me how because it's something I'm missing).
    That would solve all my large-file-transmission issues. "Oh Mr. Customer, you need that 58Mb of CAD data? Why, just click the link on the email I'm sending you and get a direct and instant download...". No more explaining how to use an FTP program. No more bounced email because the attachment was too large. No more bouncing it through some shady, "free", ad-minefield fileshare sites. Just large file sharing in it's simplicity.
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    Re: What internet style applications are so last decade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenner View Post
    Heck, there's one feature I'd love to see in Dropbox and that's the ability to rt-click a file and "Send email link to...". That would be the cat's meow. The recipient doesn't need a Dropbox account, all they need to do is click the link in their email and download the file straight from Dropbox's servers (and if it has this already, PM me how because it's something I'm missing).
    Not sure what you want that feature to look like.

    Try going to this post: http://www.vbforums.com/showpost.php...40&postcount=7

    Then click on the link for the .MSI download. This should take you to a simple page with the actual download link.

    Yes, this means another step. Perhaps that's the step you want to eliminate?


    I use another storage site that lets me have a passworded "guest user" account. Those links would be direct but ask for the user/pw before proceeding.

  8. #8
    PowerPoster Jenner's Avatar
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    Re: What internet style applications are so last decade?

    @dilettante: Naw, I'm talking about Dropbox specifically, not a generic online filestore/collaboration site like box.com that has you hopping around a semi-stable, pokey, "Web2.0" website to do everything (personally, the more I use them, the more I'm hating web applications).

    Dropbox runs a client app that integrates into your shell. It makes a folder in your profile set called "Dropbox". All files are stored locally on your machine. Anything in this Dropbox folder though gets background synchronized to their cloud. I don't have to bring up a web browser for anything. There's no "Web" in Dropbox (which is also why I mentioned it in the non-web post I did. )

    If I have Dropbox installed on two computers, then the files in that folder will synchronize behind the scenes automatically. If my house burns down, I can install it on a new computer and those files will download/synchronize to it.

    You can also share files using Dropbox, but it requires the other person to have a Dropbox account so you can flag his account as having permissions to see your files or a sub-set of your files. These then would just synchronize in onto his computer as well in a subdirectory.

    My feature I'd love would be the ability to, in Windows Explorer, rt-click a file in that Dropbox folder and "send to:an email address". Rather than make an email with the file as an attachment though, it would make an email with a codified, temporary-within-timespan hyperlink to download that file from Dropbox's cloud. They get the email, they click the link, and they get immediate-no-website download of the linked file. That's what I'd love to see.
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    Re: What internet style applications are so last decade?

    Well if you use a WebDAV-based service like http://www.mydrive.ch/ then you don't even need to install anything. You just map a drive letter to it and go.

    That's one where you have an admin account, and one free "guest" account. Pay some money and you get more storage and more separate guest accounts, each with its own password.

    They are planning to add "direct links" for sharing (in the paid version) but don't have that up yet.

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    PowerPoster Jenner's Avatar
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    Re: What internet style applications are so last decade?

    Yes, but MyDrive is a fully-online solution, a Yet-Another-Web-Based-File-Store, which doesn't work when you've on a business trip in the industrial end of China with a laptop, no wi-fi for 200 miles, and need to access a file with tooling specifications you were last working on in the office on a different PC . With Dropbox, as long as I powered on my laptop to an online connection before I left or in the hotel when I arrived and allowed any pending synchronizations to happen, I can access all those files offline because they're now locally available on my hard drive. Likewise, the next time I do get online, any pending changes get synchronized back.

    Don't get me wrong, all the web-based file store sites are great; heck, before Dropbox, I used to use them all the time. But they all lacked a certain amount of elegance that the transparency of Dropbox seems to give as well as some of the access and update problems of a fully online solution.

    Heck, I don't see why Microsoft doesn't jump on this business, build a transparent sync-folder-to-cloud service directly into Windows 8 and start raking in the cash charging monthly fees for cloud-storage. It's something that would be right at home in the OS itself.
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    Re: What internet style applications are so last decade?

    No, only the admin interface is Web based.

    When you are just reading, writing, creating, deleting files and folders it looks like a file share to Windows programs. It's just a drive letter to them.

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    Re: What internet style applications are so last decade?

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    No, only the admin interface is Web based.

    When you are just reading, writing, creating, deleting files and folders it looks like a file share to Windows programs. It's just a drive letter to them.
    If it's a mapped network drive how is it stored on the local hard drive?

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    Re: What internet style applications are so last decade?

    ???

    It isn't on a local hard drive, it is on a remote drive. Same as sharing folders between PCs or PCs and file servers on a LAN.

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    Re: What internet style applications are so last decade?

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    ???

    It isn't on a local hard drive, it is on a remote drive. Same as sharing folders between PCs or PCs and file servers on a LAN.
    So it isn't better than DropBox in Jenner's situation as with DropBox you have all of the files on your local HDD all the time and they sync whenever the pc has an internet connection. That's the type of setup I'm looking for too.

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    Re: What internet style applications are so last decade?

    Remote file sharing is entirely different from remote sync. Though nothing keeps you from using SyncToy or something with a remote share.

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    Re: What internet style applications are so last decade?

    True, but when you're talking the mindset of business executives and salesmen who barely know their way around Word, let alone network filesharing, Dropbox is a far easier, far more elegant solution. It takes the crud of mapping drives and configuring MS Sync (which generally stinks in my experience) out of the picture. It certainly saves me from getting 30 calls of "So, how do I set up my home computer to see my work files?"

    I used to sync business laptops via MS Sync services over a VPN but it frequently proved very problematic. Files wouldn't sync, and when there were problems, MS Sync was so nebulous working behind the scenes, it was hard to debug. It only worked if the VPN was able to go up and we found many hotels still had ancient routers that were corrupting VPN packets. Additionally, many employees wanted to also work from their home desktops and try as we might, no matter how often we revised our home setup instructions or how many pictures and screenshots we added, the average Joe-user just couldn't set up a VPN or set up syncing without an IT employee walking them through the procedure.

    After a lot of research on the matter, we purchased several business DropBox accounts and never looked back. Now, our outside guys can access their files in building, on their laptop, at home, on their phone, on their tablet, all the time. Setup is simple... just one-time download and run the client, put in name and password and you're done. Combined with the latest Outlook being able to connect to a corporate mailserver via OWA, it's been exceptionally headache free from an IT administration standpoint; and the less of my time fixing foofy sync and transfer problems, the better for my company.

    Regardless, this is straying a fair bit from the OP's question; but in the spirit of which, I say the "Yet-another-web-based-file-storage-sites" are SO last decade. The future is in cloud model file-sync services with small footprint clients that allow you to interconnect phones, tablets, laptops, business and home desktops seamlessly. It will be price-per-storage-limits and extra features (like my aforementioned "share with account-less recipient via email download link") that will set them apart.
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    Re: What internet style applications are so last decade?

    Hilarious comments.

    WebDAV was one of the earliest "cloud" service protocols. The clients are are quite thin, and built into Windows. Widely supported on Macs and on phones. No VPNs required, by nature it is firewall friendly. IIS support means you can easily host WebDAV shares yourself.

    But keep entrusting your data to a suspicous 13MB 3rd party client. Nobody's going to stop you.

    It gets better:
    In May 2011, a complaint was filed with the US FTC alleging Dropbox misled users about the privacy and security of their files. At the heart of the complaint was the policy of "deduplication", where the system checks if a file has been uploaded before by any other user, and links to the existing copy if so; and the policy of using a single AES-256 key for every file on the system so Dropbox can (and does, for deduplication) look at encrypted files stored on the system, with the consequence that any intruder who gets the key (as well as Dropbox employees) could decrypt any file if they had access to Dropbox's backend storage infrastructure
    On 20 June 2011, all Dropbox accounts could be accessed without password for 4 hours as reported by TechCrunch. The error was caused by a code update made at 1:54 pm Pacific Time. The error was detected at 5:41 pm and immediately fixed.
    Might pass a few of those "features" along to the people you've sold DropBox to.
    Last edited by dilettante; Jan 27th, 2012 at 03:19 PM.

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    PowerPoster Jenner's Avatar
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    Re: What internet style applications are so last decade?

    Honestly, I could care less. The convenience DropBox offers far surpasses any risk. I wouldn't go singling out one system over another because of risks, because there's always risks. At least the risks you mentioned are known. How many security holes are exploited without anyone discovering them until years later? It's not like a month after Windows XP launched, Microsoft said "Yep! We fixed all the security holes in this puppy! We're done with updates till the next version!" The security update you download for Windows XP today, most likely fixes a security hole that has existed since it's launch.

    There's a reason 76% of developers surveyed use DropBox. If you're one of the ones who doesn't, that's fine. I'm sure nobody's going to write any trojan-rootkits that compromise the WebDAV system built into Windows anytime soon...
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