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HardwareTablet PCCreating an Inkernet for the Tablet

Creating an Inkernet for the Tablet

For those that may not have been following my blog, I’ve been exploring different ways to leverage ink on the web. Coming from a Tablet developer like myself you might be surprised. Great user experiences can come from rich client applications. However, there’s a problem here. When I look around at my neighbors and friends, I see that they spend the majority of their time in the browser and browser-based applications. There are lots of practical reasons for this.

The problem just isn’t what users are doing today though. It’s where the growth is.

Stop and think about all the Web 2.0 growth. Where’s the ink story? Does GMail support ink directly? Yahoo Calendar? WikiCalc? Or AjaxSketch? Outside of using the TIP, there’s no browser ink support. In fact, let’s say that half of all apps are browser based (does anyone know what the number is and what the growth actually is?) and let’s say none of them support ink. That sounds like instant lock out. Well, yes, users can use the TIP and the Tablet’s form-factor is nice, but I mean what if you wanted to draw a path in a Google map, could you? Or annotate a picture in Flickr? There isn’t any good ink story.


There’s lots of potential here.

Loren Heiny (1961 - 2010) was a software developer and author of several computer language textbooks. He graduated from Arizona State University in computer science. His first love was robotics.

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  1. It’s a fad. Remember terminal emulators? First they were text, then they went ANSI, then they started cramming in client features like auto ZModem downloading, then RIPScript, then ultimately became client/server architectures like AOL, then fat clients like VB talking to a database.

    Then it started going back the other way when web server technology got big in the late 90s. Then it came back again with clients like Napster and Media Player. Now it’s moving back again because of a new interest in web server stuff.

    But the move back to client is already starting. Ajax, Flash, etc are all CLIENT technologies. They’re fattening the client again until it can’t be satisfied with a browser anymore and we’ll be back to using client applications. Just in time for WPF if you ask me.

  2. Rich client apps experience the same technological and social undulations.

    In fact, the pendulum effect you are describing is quite common with technology. Bryan, a friend of mine describes it as a spiral that grows in height. Technology implementations swing back and forth, but they don’t quite go back to the way they were before after each cycle. Instead, there’s a gain in knowledge (as well as changes in terms of what the technology needs to do), which adds a third dimension to the pendulum or circular effect.