I kinda get the complaints (e.g. https://andregarzia.com/2020/03/private-client-side-only-pwas-are-hard-but-now-apple-made-them-impossible.html) about Apple killing PWAs but I don't feel strongly about it, largely because I've stopped caring about the web as an application platform.
We've been trying this web apps thing for over a decade, and a few things should be abundantly clear by now:
- Web apps will always have worse UX than nice native apps. The barrier to entry may be low, but so is the ceiling on what you can build
- The web fundamentally assumes a client-server paradigm no matter what you tack onto it, making it a bad fit if you care about privacy
- Anything we add to browsers can and will be used for adtech/surveillance
The web is great for static information pages and low-fi UI prototyping, but for everything else just use the native toolkit.
Conclusion: Fuck web apps, native GTK rules. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.
P.S: If you're using an OS where the only way to get native apps is through a megacorp you don't trust, then PWAs are probably not your biggest problem...
@tbernard Its not even about the app distribution, there doesn't exist a commercial OS that isn't from a megacorp apart from Elementary OS
Like you could get android with fdroid or windows with 3rd party installers but do you trust the OS itself?
@tbernard 1000% agree, and found myself saying similar things yesterday!
I tend to find myself opposing PWAs, arguing that off you want to run arbitrary (peer-to-peer/clientside) cross-platform apps you should design a new suite of standards that is actually feasable to reimplement & secure! But I'd rather you use open standards to let me find or develop a nice app specifically for me & my choice of OS.
@tbernard If your target audience is people running a GNOME-based distro, then yeah!
I'm in this tiny niche and I am happy to get beautiful gtk apps. I hadn't realized there was much of crowd building gnu/linux-only apps on top of web views but what do I know.
On the other hand I am pretty sure the majority production software doing this web app thing end up there because they need to deliver it to as many users as they can with limited engineering resources.
@tbernard I've been toying with the idea of using WordPress as a base for libre GPL web apps via plugins. The reason is because as much as I agree the desktop UX is better, the one part of web UX that is better is the ability to seamlessly access from any device on any OS.
A third of the web is WP because pretty much anyone is able to install it on cheap hosting, so it's accessible. It's also GPL so its libre. It has a REST api. Supports federation. Could be a way to get libre to more people.
@tbernard I think I somewhat agree, but with one caveat: webapps have made it way easier to do important things online.
I like being able to manage my bank accounts without going to a branch. My bank has a web interface and Android/iOS apps.
My bank will probably never make a native GTK app to manage my accounts. Neither will my local DMV for managing my vehicle registration and driver's license. The fact that I can access these things on the web and not use the major platforms is a big plus.
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