So I am not the only one who feels that web-based apps like webmail can sometimes be "better" than my regular email apps like Outlook and Entourage, despite the web's shortcomings. Or why I use an Xbox and Xbox Live (to start playing, turn on) to game, when a souped-up PC (to start gaming, boot up, launch game, fight off viruses, install drivers, etc) will give me better graphics and cheaper games ($5 OEM, ahem, PC games vs $70 Xbox originals).
Sometimes, high quality may not always mean it will become popular. Sometimes, good enough can be good enough to make a product popular with the masses, as long as it is simple to use.
I completely saw the potential of the Web as a publishing medium, but I just didn’t see how the Web was ever going to serve as a high-quality application development environment. The way I saw it, Microsoft killed Netscape not because it was a threat to Windows, but simply because they (Microsoft) wanted control over this new publishing medium.
I simply couldn’t have been more wrong. The conventional wisdom was in fact correct — the web has turned into a popular application development environment. Where I’d gone wrong was in getting hung up on the idea of it needing to be high-quality before it could become popular...
Exhibit A: web-based email apps. In terms of features, especially comfort features such as a polished UI, drag-and-drop, and a rich set of keyboard shortcuts, web-based email clients just can’t compare to desktop email clients.
With web-based email, you can get your email from any browser on any computer on the Internet. “Installation” consists of typing a URL into the browser’s location field. The location field is the new command line.