Disclaimer- This post is largely off-topic for now since I am talking about computer, not iPhone, web applications. However, with the upcoming release of the 2.0 firmware I am hoping it becomes very much ON TOPIC. Let me explain… Web apps (web-based applications like Gmail) have become increasingly central to my daily computing life. I […]
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The Killer Feature For Web Applications Is….

Disclaimer- This post is largely off-topic for now since I am talking about computer, not iPhone, web applications. However, with the upcoming release of the 2.0 firmware I am hoping it becomes very much ON TOPIC. Let me explain…

Web apps (web-based applications like Gmail) have become increasingly central to my daily computing life. I use Backpack, Evernote, SugarSync and most recently Skitch on a daily basis.

Simple small business software, collaboration, CRM_ 37signals-2.jpg

Remember everything. | Evernote Corporation-2.jpg

File and Media Sync, Web Backup and Mobile Access - SugarSync.jpg

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All are powerful. All integrate with email beautifully. All work great on the go. Each serves a different but important function. And all share the same killer feature.

This killer feature is, perhaps surprisingly for a web-based application, the ability to take it, and all its power, off-line.

Google started this trend with Google Gears but (thankfully) others have quickly followed suit. The result is awesome.

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A key component of Evernote’s next generation software is its tight desktop integration with both macs and pcs. The interface is clean, easy to use and immediately familiar.

Evernote-1.jpg

All Notebooks - 14 notes.jpg

Best of all, as soon as the desktop program is launched it automatically syncs with the web version, ensuring that the information on the web is exactly the same as that stored locally and vice versa.

Similarly, Skitch allows you to save images locally, on the net or both so that stored images are always available.

Snapz Pro XScreenSnapz227.jpg

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And while 37signals only offers a web version of Backpack, I just discovered and purchased PackRat from infiniteNIL.com yesterday.

All I can say is- “Wow!”

PackRat it takes Backpack to a whole new level by creating a local copy of all your Backpack pages and then keeping them in sync with the version on the web. Make a change in PackRat and it appears in Backpack. Make a change in Backpack and it syncs down to PackRat.

PackRat.jpg

Why is this important? Because while an internet connection of some sort is increasingly ubiquitous we ain’t there yet! These locally resident versions of key web apps ensure that we aren’t fully dependent on the web.

For example- I began this post at home, used PackRat to sync it to my MacBook Air and then finished it when I had a few minutes free later in the day. The key point here being- “When I was free” rather than “When I was free and had an internet connection“.

It means that both information and the power of these applications are available ALL THE TIME!

Ace on Tech  iPhone 2.0.jpgSo what does this have to do with the iPhone? Everything. The iPhone is amazing and powerful– but only so long as it has an internet connection.

With an internet connection you can add and access data. As I recently noted, with a few tweaks Backpack becomes as powerful on an iPhone as it is on a desktop or notebook.

If the data connection is slow, however, things grind to a crawl.Did You Know?_ Why are traffic lights Red, Yellow and Green?.jpg

And if no data connection is available at all you are plain out of luck.
Without a connection the iPhone becomes a mediocre cell phone with an integrated iPod. Nice, but not the reason we love our iPhones.

Yes, you can email Backpack or Evernote pages to yourself in advance and have access to them later, but that isn’t the point. The point it– without a date connection these powerful applications are all but worthless if your only available device is an iPhone.

And that is where June comes in. Backpack, Evernote, Skitch and the like all become exponentially more powerful when they suddenly have the potential to include some sort of off-line access/syncronization to the iPhone. Just imagine having any or all of your Backpack or Evernote files/pages with you at all times. Now that’s mobile computing at its finest.

Then we’ll just need an iPhone with gobs of storage…

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