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Cloud: Good Concept But Bad Clients

by Naresh Sarwan on January 10, 2012

Danny Ayers writing on his personal blog discusses his take on Cloud with this article: “The Emperor’s New Client“.  In the article, Danny describes how he agrees with and likes many of the building blocks of the cloud such as the http protocol but dislikes the clients used to access data upon it.  If you’re not technically inclined, that means he doesn’t like web browsers and the technologies used to retrieve or present information in them:

…in one respect the emperor is stark-bollock naked. Browsers are currently a really sucky environment for client development. Sure, the HTML/CSS-based (standard!) rendering is wonderful. As shown with Node.js (and despite what Google are saying around Dart), Javascript is a reasonably pleasant, perfectly capable programming language. The growth of Ajax and JSON have shown inter-system comms is workable. There are some good dev tools and libraries. So why does working with this stuff feel like pulling your own teeth?” [Read More]

I have to say, as someone with a software development background first acquired in the pre-web era about 20 years ago, I have to strongly agree with Danny and it doesn’t feel much like ‘progress’ to me either.

The idea behind the web and the ease with which it is possible to link to and access data across continents is great, but web browsers are incredibly clunky.  When I work with DAM users on projects, many archivists and digital asset managers will continue to use legacy desktop applications for tasks like metadata entry because the process of doing anything serious with a web browser is painfully slow and convoluted.  While it might be a little better if you employer allows you to use something more up to date, the majority of companies I consult with have old browsers that aren’t up to the job.

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