Apps will replace the World Wide Web.

The following is a post I made on Facebook earlier tonight.

I’m setting a year-long challenge for myself:

Assuming the world doesn’t blow up in December (either via solar flare, or Iran and USA entering nuclear war), I’m hoping that I’ll be in a position to build simple apps for Windows 8 by this time next year.

Here’s why:

The Internet is maturing, and I believe that the web, as we know it today, will not remain “open” for much longer.

I believe that websites will be replaced by apps. We’re already seeing it with Apple, and apps through the iTunes Store. Google is doing it with Android Marketplace. Even Ubuntu has their Software Centre.

The next step, I think, is Windows 8 and the Windows Marketplace: a unified storefront for your Windows tablet, Windows phone, Windows PC, and Xbox.

HTML5, CSS, PHP, ASP.NET, JavaScript — and all the other languages used to build websites — will be used to build apps instead. Azure, AWS, Google App Engine, and other cloud services will power these apps.

A theoretical timeline:

1990’s – Dawn of mainstream internet, viva la WWW.
2000’s – Growth & maturity of online businesses.
2010’s – Growth & maturity of app marketplaces.
2020’s – Internet regulated; websites fade, apps dominate.

Am I reaching a bit? Probably. But it’s fun to think about, and I’m confident that this is where the future is going.

Let’s see how it goes.

(Thanks for reading, btw.)

I leave you with this thoughtful keynote from Dion Almaer, VP Mobile Achitecture at Walmart:

3 comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    It’s interesting. I think Chris Anderson’s article “The Web is Dead. Long Live the Internet” 
    (http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/08/ff_webrip/all/1) really got people thinking about the future of the Internet being apps. 

    Even within webpages there are various tiers with crudely coded HTML sites on one end, and elegant WordPress or Drupal-based sites on the other. Content creators with deep pockets are able to further differentiate and protect their content experience using custom applications à la the Economist and the New York Times.

    What I think is standing in the way of apps taking over is the fact that app development hasn’t yet reached the scale of Web design. It’s still mostly enterprises who have the money, time, and motivation to have custom apps built. Of course, democratization is not a fundamental property of media (take network TV for instance). There could, in fact, be a future of a Internet that’s closed and more tightly controlled by corporate interests. Let’s hope not (but learn app development just in case).

    • Hey Dave, thanks for the comment. :)

      Web development was once a scarcity, but as it became more accessible to the everyman, having your own web presence became a standard.

      App development, I think, is on the same path. We’re still in the early stages, but given enough time, I think most businesses will have their own custom apps. (Look at how Apple is changing eBook publishing for authors.) When that time comes — when we have a WordPress or Drupal for building apps — we’ll have reached the tipping point.

      Unfortunately, I also believe that this app-driven future of the mainstream web will most certainly be controlled by corporate interests.

      I say “mainstream” because I am convinced that there will *always* be ways to install applications without going through a marketplace. This is especially true for open source platforms like Android and (more recently) WebOS.

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