Web 2.0: Relying on Web Apps a Problem?

bangin_headAs my reliance on Web based applications increases, my enthusiasm is giving way to cautious optimism.

I’m feeling this way since, in the last week, Gmail, Typepad and even Yahoo News on my Treo 700p have had outages. Today as I was preparing to head to Los Angeles, I wanted to upload an 88MB video to my new Brightcove ‘channel’ (they have a 100MB limit). but it “hung” at 64% for 20 minutes so I did it again. Same thing and I had to leave for the airport with my work incomplete.

My NetNewsWire and Newsgator sync’ing has hiccupped twice not displaying synchronized news feeds and showing ones I’ve already read. Skype has crashed on me four times…twice during calls. My Technorati watchlist sign-in has looped and never logged me in and the exact same thing has happened with my Feedburner account.

Again…all of this happened this week…and it’s only Wednesday.

A buddy of mine who has run major development groups at several brand name software companies always explained to me the cumulative lag time of multiple Web browser refreshes and how they’d combine to make a Web app feel really sluggish to a user making them less than an optimal solution. It wouldn’t just be the lag time from any single interaction…but rather the constant need to click “Save” in order to post any given input to a server or a retrieval from that server and consequent HTML page parsing which would take 10+ seconds. With 10 seconds here and 10 seconds there, pretty soon there’d be one frustrated user bangin’ his head against the wall.

I remain wildly enthusiastic and optimistic about the future of the Internet-as-a-platform and the emergence of truly useful, powerful and coordinated Web technologies and applications. It’s just that I’ve moved from big-grin-on-face-and-giddy about relying on them to being ever so slightly cautious about betting something mission critical on them without some sort of contingency plan.

Ironically, this turn-of-events is informing my work with clients whenever I’m shown new features or functionality they’ve built and are eager to show me.

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  1. Kevin at TasteTV on February 8, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    The “hang time” issue on uploads to certain services is definitely a real one (from Kevin at http://www.TasteTV.com)

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.