I realize that Web 2.0 and running everything including the kitchen sink from within a browser is all the rage but for the life of me I just don’t get it. I don’t care if it is from a so-called productivity angle or whether the idea is being hailed as a savior of resource usage – which it isn’t – the whole idea of running all your day to day applications within a single threaded multi-tabbed resource hog doesn’t make sense at all.
As uncov pointed out in his post on Zoho – you know that supposedly killer spreadsheet/email/database AJAX Office web application suite :
The idea that having a single browser with enough open tabs to build a Wall of China is considered a productive working environment is enough to give me a headache. So having a Ajaxified wordprocessor, an Ajaxified email program (take yer pick), a browser based IM application, some web based RSS reader of one sort of another, a whole slew of open web pages and all open in separate tabs in a browser is the newest form of productivity.
How that hell is that being productive?
To get anything done; or to keep on top of all your little presence type stuff like IM or Twitter or Facebook you are constantly switching between tabs and probably at a speed that you had better have a bottle of Gravol handy for that motion sickness that is right around the corner or in the next tab you switch to.
This doesn’t even take into account the drain on resources the longer those browsers windows remain open. I can run Outlook (a pig in itself), my two different IM programs, an IRC program, TwitBox for Twitter, Explorer, FeedDemon for RSS feeds, Grabit for newsgroups, WinAmp and I could probably throw in VB.NET Express and I would be using less resources that either Firefox or IE7; with three or four tabs open, after they have been running for a couple of hours. Not to mention that properly placed I can easily see and access any one of those programs.
The fact is that either of those two browsers with a minimum number of open tabs can after four or five hours be using in excess of 200+ Meg of RAM and will continue to eat it up if allowed to; and this is on a machine with 2Gig of RAM so it is no slouch. Pile on a few more tabs and watch your RAM go for a long walk off of a short pier.
So again – some-one please explain to me the advantage of using browser apps over desktop applications that are generally designed to make best use of the available system and have a richer workflow experience. Because for me it still makes no sense.