The seven ordeals of the web application developer – Part 2

Developers who seek their fortune in the web business applications market must face and survive seven ordeals and success will only favour those who come prepared.

1. The First Ordeal: User experience

2. The Second Ordeal: Compatibility

Cloud Computing is nebulous!  In the “cloud”, data is distributed across a vast network and stored on assorted platforms.  Processes are also distributed and are mostly asynchronous in nature.  Increasingly, web services are becoming indispensable in web applications.  What holds this intricate yet fragile web together and prevents it from unravelling is a set of community-developed standards such as TCP/IP, HTML, XML, CSS and JavaScript.  This fragile hold is constantly threatened by the incompatibilities of the browsers.  The legitimacy of the browser as the platform is also under constant attack by business interests trying to reduce it to a mere container for their proprietary offerings.

The users are in the driver seat and control the time, the space and the device and expect a consistent experience across the board.  The developer is the only line of defence for the unsuspecting users, who are increasingly dependent on the web for their daily lives.  It is the web developer who must relentlessly find workarounds for the incompatibilities and shield the users from their potentially adverse effects.

Development tool makers who seek to profit from helping developers must deliver features that help solve the problem not add to it.  In doing so they must offer solutions that use existing open standards and refrain from forcing the developer into the use of proprietary plug-in architecture which merely replaces incompatibilities in the implementation of the standards with the incompatibility with the standard itself!

To be continued …

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