January 6, 2012
Have you ever wanted a fun and beautiful way to publish videos on your own site like the new 60 Minutes or RedBull.tv apps from the Chrome Web Store? I’m excited to announce the release of The Video Player Sample! The Video Player Sample is an open source video player web app built using the same architecture as the 60 Minutes and RedBull.tv apps. It can be customized, extended, or just used out of the box and populated with your own content.
When a user opens the Video Player Sample web app, they can choose to watch a single video or create a playlist of videos/episodes from a list that they have uploaded and populated to the app. The Video Player Sample is configured and information about the videos is stored in JSON files (config.json and data.json respectively), both of which are located in the data directory.
In addition to working as an app that can be installed through the Chrome Web Store, the Video Player Web App has been tested and works in all of the modern browsers.
You can grab the code from Google Code.
November 30, 2011
November 17, 2011
Everyone wants “apps” these days, on their phone, their tablets, Apple, has the App Store to sell apps for the Mac. The demand is coming from all over the place, including consumers who have no idea what apps are, to people who are seeing this as a new revenue opportunity (which, it is)! I even heard from one developer who said that his boss came to him all panicked because he got a call from the company’s chairman of the board, wanting to know what their app strategy was. So far, most of the focus has been on apps for mobile devices, tablets, but thankfully it’s really starting to take off on the web, and we’re seeing more web apps appearing.
One piece of the puzzle that hasn’t really solidified yet is what defines a web app, and how does it differ from a web site? Are app like experiences on the web part of a website, or are they web apps? What about web sites that provide the same functionality as an app, but looks like a web site?
TripIt is a great example, it’s concept is absolutely an app, it helps me to coordinate my travel plans into a single place where I can easily organize my trips into a single online experience. Here’s where it gets confusing, compare their web application to their tablet application. I can do exactly the same sets of things, but one looks like an application, and one looks like a website. They both let me do the same tasks, but they provide very different experiences to complete those tasks. So what is the TripIt web app, is it a site or an app?
Many people have suggested different ways to define web apps in a single test or definition. I enjoy reading AppStorm, I think they do a great job of highlighting awesome web apps, but a while ago, they tried to define web apps, and provided one of my favorite non-answers:
A web application is an application utilizing web and [web] browser technologies to accomplish one or more tasks over a network, typically through a [web] browser.
That answer is almost as good as saying “because it’s not orange” to the question why is the sky blue.
Single criteria definitions don’t work for me either. Can we say something is an app because of a single property? For example, creation vs. consumption, or architecture. Add the diversity of web apps to the mix, and I think we hit a wall when it comes to defining web apps with a single criterion.
The diversity of apps makes it impossible to have a single go/no-go checklist that we can use to define apps. A criterion for one app may be completely inappropriate for another app. Instead, I think we need to judge apps based on reaching a particular bar of ‘app-y-ness’.
Now, let’s look at TripIt’s web “app” vs. their tablet app:
|Web “app”||Tablet app|
|Encourage interaction, engagement & task completion||Yes||Yes|
|Beautiful & rich user experience||Maybe||Yes|
|Action oriented with native design paradigms||No||Yes|
|Traditional website elements hidden?||No||Yes|
|Client side architecture||No||Yes|
By this criteria, even though their web site is super functional, I can get the things done that I want and has some of the qualities of an app, it clearly could be more app-y. Could TripIt build the same experience as a web app? Absolutely! Heck, it might even be less work because then they could reuse a lot of their design and UI components across the web and tablet versions.
I do! With more and more people demanding apps, I think we’re missing a huge opportunity to provide our users with web applications that are better, faster, and more fun to use than their mobile or native counterparts. People will pay for mobile and native applications, but we have given them very few web apps that are worth their money. We need to step up and change that, let’s build a more app-y web.
November 16, 2011
By popular request - a few little additions to the HTML5 Guy!
November 4, 2011