Wednesday, 11 August 2010

deviantArt Munro

There are people in the world who doubt the usefulness of the Internet and the World Wide Web. These same people are the people who are currently talking down the transition from the desktop computing model to the "cloud" model. They are also the same people who stand to lose the most from this transition.

I've read articles in the past that talk about the security concerns related to "cloud computing" or "fog computing". There's a lot of scaremongering going on in the industry and in popular media. And disasters like Microsoft's Sidekick disaster are routinely trotted out to add weight to the claims being made. All of those articles however ignore one simple fact. We already live in the "cloud". As I've said in various forums in the past, cloud computing is simply a return to the client server model where applications are hosted by a server and interacted with via a client. The server does the heavy lifting. The client provides the interface. This is how the web works. It's how it's always worked.

So why all the fuss? Well traditionally web applications have always been limited to the capabilities of the web browser. Primarily Microsoft's Internet Explorer which has been a ball and chain shackled to the ankles of the Internet since Microsoft forced it upon it's customers in Windows 95. But that has changed. Microsoft no longer dominates the web in a meaningful way. It's market share is falling continuously. New versions of IE cannibalise market share from older versions of IE while the over all market share for IE falls. Microsoft's competitors are stealing the march on the web. Apple, Google, Opera and Mozilla have all released HTML5 aware web browsers. And it's HTML5 that will set the web free.

HTML5 is what powers Munro from deviantArt. Munro it's self is nothing special. It's a painting application that allows you to publish directly to your deviantArt account. What is important is how Munro is delivered. It's free to use and is delivered to the user via the deviantArt web site. There's no plug-ins required. No installation required. No configuration required. No lengthy serial number to input for activation. It is essentially the ultimate plug 'n' play application. The only thing the user is required to do is figure out how to use it. Which isn't hard.

Munro isn't the first HTML5 application to pop up. There are quite a few out there now. Discreetly integrated into web sites. Users simply take them for granted without even noticing how painless the whole experience was. Because it was painless. This is how the web was meant to be. Free and easy to use. Simple and transparent. Accessible to all.