Why I've Ditched Web Apps / by Damon Lavrinc

In the past few days I’ve managed to replace every web app on my desktop with a native Mac app. Why? Me like pretty.

For more years than I care to remember, I’ve been accessing GMail, Google Reader, Twitter, Remember the Milk, GChat/AIM and others through the browser. But like their mobile counterparts, they’re just not as sexy, slick or intuitive as the apps now on offer. GMail has been replaced by Sparrow. I’ve ditched Google Reader for Reeder. I’m back to Adium for IM. And Twitter’s Mac app was the catalyst for it all.

I’m not a developer. And if we’re honest, the majority of devs couldn’t care less about UI design. Most are about functionality over form, which explains the unwieldy number of Terminal-to-Whatever scripts littering productivity forums.

But what’s odd about my transition – and probably the most telling – is that nothing is being stored locally on my MacBook Pro. Everything is still “in the cloud” allowing me to access anything and everything from one of my phones, my wife’s iMac, a friend’s desktop or my (just recently stolen) iPad. It’s all very… iOS-like. I’ve got all the benefits of living in the cloud, with none of the ugly drawbacks. And while there’s some functionality I miss (I’ve yet to find a solid RTM client), my desktop finally looks like an appealing place to be.

That’s not to say I’m shunning web apps forever. There will be times when something on the web (aside from the CMS I work in) is the better solution, but John Gruber of Daring Fireball fame put it best in a recent post:

…my interest lies in having the best possible user experience — the best-looking UIs, the lowest-latency responses, the smoothest animation, the most elegant designs.

Naturally, he was speaking about iOS apps and the recent iCloud kerfuffle, but that sentiment can be applied to any platform, any screen size and any web-based service. And with the Mac App Store gaining some traction, the desktop options are getting better each week. Enough so that a dyed-in-the-wool Web-head can make the switch for less than $30 and actually look forward to opening up his laptop in the morning.