WordPress Desktop App And The Supposed Death Of The Web

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The last few updates on this blog have actually been done using the WordPress desktop app. I guess it’s just been another step in the computing world’s conversion from web to app, but personally I’ve felt different forces pulling in both directions.

It was maybe a few years ago that I first heard the words “the web is dead.” It might have been a Time Magazine cover or something. Ever since it was decided apps are better to use on phones than websites for accessing things like news and social media, it seems everything has been shifting away from visiting websites towards just using locally-installed software. The question right now is whether or how much that will carry over to desktop and laptop computers.

I guess Windows 8 and 10 have been trying hard to accelerate the process. Personally I think the biggest obstacle to that transition on desktops is how much the Windows app store selection still sucks. Most of the stuff I do and use on my phone or really on this computer just aren’t available on the Windows store. I don’t use Mac so I don’t know what’s going on over there.

In any case, the WordPress desktop app… basically feels like the mobile app. Well, the interface feels like the latest web interface but the overall experience feels like it’s trying to do the same thing as the mobile app. That is, involve the user in the ecosystem and community of WordPress as if it’s its own social network. Because it starts with the reader instead of the editor I actually find myself noticing and responding to subscribed blogs more often like I would on my phone. The only downside I see so far is that I lose some of the conveniences I took for granted on web browsers like Chrome, but not many. Really just things like having tabs open, and spellcheck.

That does bring me to Chrome though. On my Windows 7 system I actually rely on Chrome for a lot. Google seems to have been one of the main forces pushing against locally-stored apps on desktops by making its web browser feel more and more like an operating system. On Windows 7 when I want to bring up YouTube, Netflix, my RSS feeds, or Twitter, I do so with the Chrome Apps launcher. One thing I can tell you is the Chrome App ecosystem probably has more useful software for me on it right now than the Windows Store.

I’m not quite sure which way I would go if more of the things I do I ended up in the form of locally-installed desktop apps. On the one hand I’d like the desktop experience to remain the desktop experience — I skipped Windows 8 for that reason. On the other hand I don’t like relying on internet connections as much as some developers would like us to today.

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