Editorial Rss

Is the Browser an OS Yet?

As time progresses I find that more applications I write end up on the web than anything else. Either as a web application or hosting a REST interface for other application resources. With HTML 5 the browser has become much more of a power house for rich user experiences.

This prompts me to ask the question once again, has the browser matured enough to become the operating system for applications? Here are some reasons I bring up the topic:

We already have multiple options of full featured office applications we can use which are hosted on the web rather than installed on a workstation. These tools work in browsers on multiple genres of devices, even as small as a smart phone.
We can now develop user experiences rivaling that of the thick client of yesterday.

Users are learning and adopting distributed technologies. Drop Box is a great example of distributed storage. Individuals are using drop box to make things available to themselves on their own multiple devices. Others use these kinds of services in order to share with others.

Complete, low cost, systems can be purchased such as Chrome Books. 

It seems like the major issue with a web only operating system is the application eco system where apps require a specific operating system such as Apple, Android, Linux or Windows. Since software development is usually targeted to the largest audience likely to purchase your app, is it reasonable to assume that as consumers move more to online hosted software, these kinds of apps will continue to grow? Is the time to jump today? There are tools to write apps to work in multiple operating systems. Will those work in browser based apps as well?

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