JAX Conf Keynote

Web Versus Apps

The second keynote on Wednesday at JAXconf was presented by Ben Galbraith, together with his long-time friend Dion Almaer. He forms one-half of the dynamic "Ben and Dion" duo that founded Ajaxian.com, headed Developer Tools at Mozilla, ran Developer Relations at Palm, and is now working on a new start-up called Set Direction.

With the recent releases of Firefox 4 and 5, we're reminded that today's browsers sport amazing capabilities, truly graduating from markup renderers to sophisticated app run-times. We're sure to see some amazing new web applications just over the horizon that take advantage of these new capabilities. At the same time, the mobile ecosystem is white hot. What relationship do mobile "apps" have with the web and how will these two communities co-exist into the future? Also, how do developers target all of these different platforms? Ben and Dion shared their thoughts on these and other issues.

The keynote was a great journey through the history of the web, as Ben and Dion compared the "old" web with the new one, showing screenshots of websites from Disney, Apple and Google, and how they changed through the years.

The problem they see is: talented web developers moved to the mobile market to develop mobile apps, and suddenly the apps look awesome and the web has stopped looking so awesome. Also, there is a group of app start-ups that don't want to move to the web at all.

The argument Ben and Dion brought up is: Don't decide whether you want to do app OR web, but combine it. The best example for Dion is Facebook, sharing the code of the newsstream for the website, the iPhone app as well as the Android app.

Claudia Fröhling

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