Of course the central premise behind the opportunity to “write once (and then) deploy anywhere” is an appealing proposition for both developers and users alike.
Initially championed by Sun Microsystems as a slogan to illustrate the cross-platform advantages of the Java programming language and platform, write once run anywhere (WORA) … or even write once run everywhere (WORE) … has since moved onward to be championed by big and small(er) software application development focused entities alike from Google to Qt and everywhere in between.
So we now have multiple platforms, multiple devices and consequently multiple Software Development Kits (SDKs) for programmers to use to drive application builds in various directions.
This is great news, but…
While the devices themselves have become equally functional, have we the users managed to catch up?
Like a lot of people I use Mac OS X in its desktop and tablet iOS versions. But I also use Windows — versions 7 and 8 and Windows Phone 8 in fact.
Then there’s my BlackBerry and even the PlayBook, which although not so popular has very impressive graphics and some other worthwhile functions.
Then of course there is Android and desktop Linux in the form of Ubuntu, which I come into contact with quite regularly.
Did I miss one?
The iPod doesn’t really count does it?
How about the microwave, the television, the toaster and the doorbell come to think of it.
If we can get past the central desktop experience with many of these now famously cross-platform devices we “mostly” find that the applications themselves do function in a relatively consistent way.
But, as strong as efforts are in this regard, let’s just take Skype as an example… run it on Windows 8, Mac OS X, Ubuntu and Android (as I do) and try and it’s easy enough, but not as intuitive and driving a car i.e. the steering wheel is pretty much ALWAYS right in front of you and the big clear glass thing that you look through at the front can almost certainly be guaranteed to be there.
This is not a rant; this is probably quite the opposite in fact as I revel in the joy of being able to play with some many different devices.
But this diversity could spell trouble on the road ahead if we don’t reign ourselves in with a little cross-platform control in future.