Its not every day I get a post out of linkedin, but the service notified me of some really interesting career moves today – one of which could have significant implications for the entire mobile web app business.
In a post this week Mark Cathcart wrote about the FT’s new iPad app, which is actually a web application. I myself wrote about why publishers are trying this approach in The iPad: Nice Piece of Glass! Here comes HTML5. But Mark focuses on the discoverability and app store issues raised by HTML5 apps. Which of course chimes rather nicely with the idea walmart.com is going to invest in web apps. Of course it could be that Ben and Dion will just be helping Walmart with its shopping at walmart-led mobile site, but that seems – ahem- unlikely. Walmart is a retailer, after all, and sells a ton of books and music. It surely wants into the digital retail game. It can’t cede too much ground to Amazon and Apple. So we have to assume walmart.com mobile is about digital distribution. Could walmart be gearing up for a major play as an HTML5 application publisher? Doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility. And walmart- at least in the physical world, sets standards that entire supply chains follow. [I previusly wrote about Dion and Ben here]
What else did linkedin tell us? Only that Canonical’s CTO Matt Zimmerman is leaving to join a startup called Singly, which looks very interesting indeed. Singly is about “lockers”. What is a locker?
“A Locker pulls together all of my personal data – my tweets, my photos, my contacts and all my social relationships. It holds things like my email, call logs, and purchase history. It does a bunch of complicated things for me, so that developers don’t have to. It puts me at the center of the web, and allows me to choose where, when and with whom I share copies of my data.”
Sounds kindasorta like dropbox – that is, a Synchronised Web application. The technology stack however is deeply webby and cool. Its peer to peer and distributed however, rather than relying on a central data center as so many of the current crop of web successes do. With great centralisation comes great power, but not always great responsibility. single plans to bring together the TeleHash wire protocol (JSON over UDP) with The Locker Project, singly’s open source node.js-based attempt to wrest back control from what I call the Permission-based Web. We should be the ones giving permission to access things, not Apple or Facebook or whoever. Stephen explains why the node.js serverside Java interpreter here. It enables cool stuff like this instagram real time update demo…