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Google, I know what you're up to, and why Apple doesn't like it.



TL; DR: Google wants a way to separate from Java, and stop the mad lawsuits that it has been haunted over the years. They know that by pushing JavaScript, they could slowly phase out the programming language while taking advantage from their cloud services they’ve started providing (Firebase).  Apple does not like that, because it could affect one of its most precious revenue streams, the Apple Store. Microsoft supports this, as they have Azure and is already allowing Web Apps to be part of their store.


                I know many of you are not web developers. And some of you who are, may or may not have heard about a recent term called Progressive Web Apps (PWA). Progressive Web Apps is a term Google coined back at 2015 (I’ve lost the video which I saw it). In short, it’s a web application (website) that can do the following:

-          Instant Loading

-          “Add to Home Screen”. Yup, you can add your web site to the Android home screen page.

-          Push Notifications

-          Fast

-          HTTPS

-          Responsive.




More here.

                There is something that started to smell fishy a week ago. Last week, Google had its Progressive Web App Summit (which was rebranded a couple of months ago from Google Developer Summit). In there, they started evangelizing the concept of Progressive Web Apps. They started unleashing a myriad of information and facts: from “how to build it” to how much “conversion rate users had” when using a PWA. They even presented an application from Konga, Nigeria (African Country) that showcased all these improvements. The questions are… Why Konga? Why now? Why not before?




We publicly saw most of the browser vendors assisting to the event… except one, Safari (Apple). Although they are famous for not attending any conferences, the reason behind it makes me wonder a lot. After giving it some thought and remembering a couple of online posts, it became clear. The reason why Apple does not like to go to web events and the reason why Google is pushing PWA is the following:

Google has been having serious problem with Android. Or to be more precise, with Java. They are really tired of the legal disputes they’ve been having with Oracle all this time. Fortunately, they managed to evade the near $9 billion dollars in damage that Java’s parent was trying to advocate. There has been rumors of Google trying to use Swift, now that it has become open source, as an alternative to Java.  This would save Google billions in lawsuits and headaches. Nonetheless, such change could create anarchy in the development community (Android purists). Therefore, what could be an alternative to Google to phase out Java?




 That’s right. The language of the metamorphosis, the almighty JavaScript. With the recent surge of NodeJS (2009+) and the humongous popularity that it’s been taking over the years, Google has acknowledged that people are investing more in this programming language (JS) because of its ability to play along with both Client and Server. They’ve seen how people use Native Script and React Native to build native Android and iOS apps using pure JavaScript. The evolution of TypeScript, Babel, and ES2015+ allows developers to write much more efficient and modular code than ever before.

Seeing this humongous advantage, more people would be adept to build their apps for the web. Seeing how chrome is pushing hardware APIs to JS, and how Push Notifications have arrived, there will be little reason in the future for people to build natively.




However, there’s a small but very important detail with this approach, and this is where Apple comes in. Over the last 5 – 6 years, web sites have started to become more powerful. They are very close to mimic a native application in terms of power and capabilities.  Now, with the possibility of installing an app into your home screen, this makes the native-web gap smaller. This could potentially allow many developers/companies to overcome the revenue stream of the Application Stores (70-30) and opt-in to make a full-fledge web app to save money and time.


Google has never made big money with it (more apps are free, anyways). In fact, Apple, seeing less downloads than its competitor, has a higher revenue stream. Google has started to make money from their cloud services, especially Firebase, after being integrated into a unified platform, it makes it more attractive for developers to use it. Microsoft, is in the same wagon. It was the first to allow true Web Applications into its store. They have the whole Azure infrastructure that even native iOS and Android applications use anyways for RESTful services.




On the other hand, Apple’s $6 Billion revenue could be jeopardized by this approach. They don’t have any specialized cloud services as Google or Microsoft have, and allowing people to install a full-fledge application could mean lost revenue.


In conclusion, the main reason why Google is pushing PWA is to phase out Java, and the way they’re doing it is by beefing up JavaScript to new capabilities. People are used to the programming language, and NodeJS has reiterated its purpose. Apple does not want to see this happening, because this would mean that more and more people would start building Web Applications instead. Hence, they would be losing revenue stream from their App Store. Microsoft, does not care, since they have Azure which mobile apps use anyways.



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+Biscuits Brown

Not sure I'm following you here. How do you create an OS in JavaScript? 

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6 hours ago, Zag L. said:

Not sure I'm following you here. How do you create an OS in JavaScript? 

I think the point of the theory is that the language of the OS doesn't matter as long as it can run web apps. The curiosity is how Google would create an ecosystem out of it.

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OP is reading too much into this. Google is a polyglot organisation when it comes to programming languages and frameworks. They have a large number of projects, some of which even compete in the same space. Some groups inside of Google might use Angular while others might use Polymer or GWT. Google have released both Material Design Lite and Angular Material. They wouldn't have this sort of duplication of effort if they wanted to push everybody to use The One True Technology. To understand Google, you must understand that at the end of the day the company is made of people who belong in different groups. These groups have their own preferences when it comes to technology and they build and release things that they enjoy working on.


There's certainly no overarching plan to take over the world with JavaScript. Google isn't phasing out Java in favour of JavaScript. If there is a language that is gaining traction inside of Google where traditionally Java might have been used, that language is Go. See their new projects e.g. Kubernetes.


As for mobile web apps vs native, I find that the people who are pushing web technologies heavily on mobile are unsurprisingly web developers. It's often a case of "I know this tech, so I must use it". My advice is to use the right tool for the job, even if that means learning how to use new tools. I'm currently building a responsive SPA using ES2015/Flow/React/Redux/Material Design. Having also built native iOS and native Android apps in the past, I'm under no illusion that the end result will be as great as it could have been if I were building a native app. However, in this case the application is primarily a desktop web app that aims to be usable on mobile. So sure, why not. As long as we understand the tradeoffs and aren't blinkered by personal investment in some tech.


Apple isn't worried about people wanting to use mobile web apps over native apps. They let you add a shortcut to a web application directly to your iOS home screen and have for a long time. When the iPhone first came out they only allowed developers to build web applications for iOS. Everybody of course wanted native apps and Apple eventually released a native SDK.

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I have chosen many times not to reply to this topic due to the complexity of a multitude of development technologies and how they interact with the control of money making markets.


So I might limit myself right now to just a few jot note type comments.


The Major Players/Influencers


#1. Google is essentially an "Advertising Agency" - it makes almost all it's money by advertising. Followed distantly by Android License Sales, and Cloud (#3 in the Cloud bizz)


#2. Apple is a "Cell Phone Manufacturer" - it makes almost all its money by selling iPhones. Followed distantly by Computer Sales, and iTunes music and app sales.


#3. Amazon is an "Online Retailer" - Possible also a Cloud Provider is significant - They are #1 in Cloud.


#4. Facebook is an "Advertising Retailer" - it makes almost all it's money by advertising.


#5. Microsoft is a "Multifaceted Technology Company" with revenues split in many major ways - Windows O/S used by 95% of people on Earth is about 30% of sales. Microsoft Office is around 40%, Microsoft Azure (#2 in Cloud), Xbox, Surface, Enterprise Software



So there is an area of contact between these various companies where they compete and where they cooperate.("Frenimies")


1. Microsoft's bailout of Apple created a cross-license agreement that pretty much gives each company a right to copy whatever they want from each other forever. Apple might have sued every company on Earth, but not Microsoft.


2. Google does not exist without advertising. Therefore in the end everything they plan will will be advertising related or spaghetti they throw at the wall to see what sticks.  Google promoting browser based everything is not new at all - it is the core of the company.


3.  Google largest enemy was Microsoft since Microsoft controlled the gateway to using a browser on the world's computers. This is no longer such a big deal since accessing the internet through a browser is now less than 50%


4. Always remember that none of us or any of the zillion tech bloggers with more opinions than data have access to the huge Telemetry Data that the large companies use to make decisions that often seem very mysterious to the rest of us.



Then there is the present and then there is the future.


1. Apple's iPhone sales are running into a brick wall due to no fault of theirs but simple market saturation. This is why despite pleas from Wall Street, they just sat on hoards of CASH. This means they could pivot into completely unexpected areas and do any wacky idea for many years so they will be very hard to read.


2. Apples huge investment in CPU design and silicon chip fabrication is being overlooked by people.


3. The shift to Mobile has caused Google and Facebook to figure out how to transition advertising. This is why for example Google does not want to see Paid Apps in its store. They want Free Apps with Google Advertising in them.


4. Javascript Apps are NEVER going to run well on Mobile. As mobile devices penetrate every corner of Earth they are getting less powerful, NOT more powerful.  The movement to encourage their usage is simply a hypocritical attempt to control the mind-space of the largest "developer" population and keep the old retro desktop browser alive as long as possible to maximize advertising revenue.



well, it's a start. more later.








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