According to recent study done see here -> source we are now spending more time on mobile applications than on the web. While I don’t claim that this is a definitive study, it does show what I believe is a trend that will only continue to grow. We like our data in nice neat, “app” size, packages. Has anyone ever really enjoyed the alternative: searching through ad filled pages, with different and often irritating ways of presenting their information to you?
However some are pointing to this as a sign that “the web is dying or dead”. Wired magazine did a good piece on this web is dead article and I think they highlight some very good points. However I feel that web is far from dead.
A large majority of these apps that we use, are powered, at least to some extent, by web services/apis (application, program interface). Many point to these as not being indexable and so not helpful to the web because the data can’t be linked to. This is true, to a certain extent. However, if you are anything like me, some of the apps that I use most, I use to discover links being shared with me in a social context. I can safely say, that I have visited and discovered more websites and articles of actual worth via these service consuming apps than through any other medium, and yes that includes google. The web evolves quickly, maybe more quickly than any other medium, and we as its consumers, creators and curators, are constantly try to gain the most from it.
I would also point out, that there is no reason why if we use the RESTful model more on REST in building web services, that these Apis/ services can’t be used for front end consumption as well as empowering 3rd party apps. Putting it in a simple way, when I use the GET method why not let the default be to render a HTML version of the content, but if I add a parameter to that GET request of ?type=json , then it renders the content as a json document for consumption by apps and so on.
So perhaps the web has pivoted and has become a web service provider, but I would argue it was never anything more than that . The browser after all is a data consuming app. And along as we hold dear the http protocol in order to help us share our data, the web will remain our most important invention.
No, it is not the native apps that pose any threat to the web, but there is a monster out there lurking and parading a being a part of the web, but keeping everything behind locked doors. I am of course talking about Facebook. It makes me immensely sad when I see a link in a tweet etc pertaining to something that I may find very interesting, only to find that when I follow the link, I am met with a Facebook login page. It is my hope that we will find ways to liberate this information and replace Facebook, with a more open and web friendly alternative.