Thursday, February 3, 2011

Back to the drawing board

Basecamp is an exceptional online collaboration tool that I've been using for some years now to communicate with clients and co-workers. It's clean, simple and does exactly what you want and no more. The good people behind this most excellent product have launched a new mobile version this week for use on smartphones, tablets and the likes. It's written in HTML5 and it's quite astonishing.

I've been a little bit underwhelmed by HTML5 up to now. There are lots of pretty demos out there, for sure, but I didn't really see anything transformative until I called up the new Basecamp mobile site. The thing about it is, it's a website that doesn't behave like a website. It has all the features, look and feel, and convenience of a conventional mobile app, but it's all implemented in the browser and is compatible with all (HTML5-compliant) devices. It's light-years ahead of the effects you can realise with AJAX and the likes.

This, to me, feels huge. Not Basecamp itself, worthy as it is, but the potential it displays. It means we developers can create applications on the web that mirror or better the user experiences we offer on desktop applications, and we don't have to rewrite them for Android, or iOS, or desktop browsers. We're not beholden to the likes of Apple's piratical 30% cut of everything, and we can reach the widest possible group of users without compromising our interfaces and user experiences.

Time to get studying.

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