Monthly Archives: February 2008

Mobile applications, RIP

Michael Mace has posted a thoughtful piece which seems to capture well the state of play with mobile application development. I think he’s right that there doesn’t seem to be much success to be had there as an ISV.

I thought it was interesting that he claims the forming web platform has beaten the native platform for mobiles (with graphs that suggest such a platform exists), while also claiming that there is no native platform. He’s right that there are, in practice, around twenty or so. His analysis seems to be that the OS vendors in the mobile space were wrong – no native platform is needed for mobiles, when the web will do. Surely he’s missing that the web for mobiles is a mobile specific platform. Even the latest browsers work best when your mobile web app is designed with a small screen and patchy coverage in mind. Take a look at the crop that target the iPhone. Most are very simple when viewed on a desktop, and many tout offline usage features.

So whilst I agree with his conclusion – native app development on mobile is a dead end right now – I disagree with the technical analysis (no platform was needed) behind it.

My workbench goes online

Shunter Cameo I was recently re-introduced to model railways, and decided I’d spent enough time (20 years?) procrastinating about building a layout. The trains run much better on a firm base, and look much nicer with some scenery around them. Inspired by friends and some good websites, I’ve spent the last few weeks building a little shunting layout. In order to blog about it in gory detail, I’ve created a new blog. You’re welcome to follow along there!

This blog now supports OpenID

A second small victory (They just keep coming!) today. This blog now supports OpenID for comments and other login chores. This is mostly a benefit to me (one less password to remember), but will form the basis for more features here on over time.

 As a bonus for commenters, all OpenID vouched comments are automatically approved. I will revoke this (and moderate them once again), when spammers add OpenID to their arsenal.

 If you’re not sure if you have an OpenID, you probably do (or can get one) if you use AOL, Livejournal, Yahoo or Flickr… 

Note that an OpenID is optional for comments. 

A small victory with wordpress and Apache

Today I managed a trick I’ve long wanted. I’ve abolished www from all URLs, without breaking the ‘pretty’ URLs I use for wordpress blogs. The trick was to have multiple .htaccess files, and actually spend some time understanding what mod_rewrite can do for me. There should be no public impact (other than you don’t need to type www. anymore on this site) – all the old www based URLs will redirect to their new homes.  Any breakage, let me know!