I had a read of Adewale’s blog about Cargo cults and progressive web apps stores. While reading it, I thought this is perfect for the Mozfest space we are crurating this year. The tale of two cities: dilemmas in connected spaces.
What Ade is tackling is the notion that app stores or the walled gardens are bad and more native fuctionality is heading out on to the web. He ponders if this is a good thing or not?
I know the recent Web USB draft certainly got a few peoples noses out of joint; for good reason to be honest, especialy on security grounds. However I’m personally not convinced by the legacy background Adewale mentions.
It’s easy to forget that app stores emerged as a response to the difficulties of dealing with carriers to get your content ‘on deck’, getting your apps preinstalled and the extremely closed nature of that ecosystem.
Yes that was then and this is now. I clearly remember the pain of installing apps on my PocketPC devices. It was painful and clearly early adopter like myself were the only ones who would put up with it. However legacy isn’t a good reason to back an closed garden model? Its a call card for the open web right? I mean Adewale’s reasoning is good…
- give an obvious place to find apps that have particular functionality (try searching for “games that don’t need wifi” in the Play Store)
- give developers an obvious place to find large numbers of users.
- give developers a structured mechanism for exposing the features of their app so that users can filter the set of available apps for apps that have those features.
- give users an obvious place to review apps.
- give developers an obvious place to accrue reputation for their apps.
- give platform vendors a place to assert policies that drive developer behaviour.
- give every app on a platform a canonical URL ( for example here are iOS and Android URLs for the same game).
But its merly a step in the right direction, and to be fair most these features are just merely cracks in a flaw model of the walled garden or the garden trying to emulate the web? However I do also think there are lessons which can be learned from them.
Instead of ‘cargo culting‘ the app stores we should be asking what web-centric solutions to the problem would look like. For me that means lots of competing and opinionated PWA directories rather than one central PWA Store or even a popular search engine.
This is the start of not only a good workshop at Mozfest, but also the start of a good exhibit/experience/dilemma. He (or someone) really needs to submit a proposal for Mozfest before August 1st.