We are entering unchartered territory when it comes to surveillance because of information broadcast from our smartphones even when they're off. Right now, it's the NSA collecting this data, but as computing power gets ever cheaper, it could be your local police or even the store you just entered.
Coding in the cloud
If development is being democratized, then there needs to be a change in the way we access and use development tools.
The last decade has seen the web become a richer, more dynamic place. HTML 5 tools and techniques have given us complex user interfaces and large scale business applications. Tools like Google Docs and Microsoft’s Office Web Apps have shown we can use the web for productivity. So why not use the same technologies to deliver a development environment?
Web-based development tools have been around a long time – as long as there have been forms with text boxes. Some, like Yahoo! Pipes, have been visual programming environments that graphically show connections between web APIs, with tools for adding scripts to transform input and output, while others, like Salesforce’s development tooling, have allowed you to add scripts to existing web services, letting you customize them to fit in with your business processes.
Now, the two trends have met. There’s a new generation of web-based and hosted development tools that give you the rich design, editing, and testing experience of a desktop IDE, while running in a modern browser – for free, or for a low-cost subscription. If you want to build a quick web app to solve a pressing business need, all you need is a browser – and possibly a credit card.
There’s a base free service, designed for public application development, and a $12/month service that lets you work privately. Apps can be deployed to cloud platforms like Azure and Heroku, and you can link projects to source code management tools like git.
It turns out that most IT departments no longer want to buy, install, and run software on their own servers, and the ancillary benefits of the cloud -- like easier mobile access for workforces that combine full-time employees and contractors -- seal the deal.
Adding to a string of announcements aimed at making its service more appealing to businesses, Dropbox this morning said that Dell will start selling the service to its customers.
The battle over which platform delivers the best location and context services to mobile users is already underway with Google in the lead, but Apple's purchase of mapping startups and social analytics firm Topsy, combined with its Bluetooth-based iBeacons could give Apple a strong chance.
Box is experiencing some good times these days with new features, new funding and a high profile CEO, but Box has to be careful as it grows to say true to its root and not fall into the trap becoming just another enterprise software company.