stupid tangent: why can't web browsers to more?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by jvaska, May 6, 2002.

  1. jvaska macrumors 6502

    Feb 18, 2002
    i'm thinking...

    why can't a web browser do be used to do word processing or spreadsheets or even photoshop images?

    it seems that it could become like a shell application that would modify itself so other apps could open up right inside of it...

    and could just work on things remotely via the web...of course, if you had some great bandwidth...

    i know, i know...people have been working on this...

    but i'm curious to know what others know...or might even hate...about this...

  2. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Mar 2, 2002
    Well, here is what I think about such an all-in-one app.

    Let's say that there is an application that can do everything mentioned and more: work in spreadsheets, databases, drawings, text, presentations, incorporate other files from other applications, and still browse the web.

    The main issues I see holding back such an application from becoming more effecient would be memory and memory in regard to speed.

    Let's say that this application runs natively in OS X and OS 9, so that users of either platform can use that one simple application. To do all of these objectives, such as word processing, web browsing, file incorporation, it would take up a ridiculous amount of memory. One possibility of how much can be estimated from the memory current applications use:

    (a) Appleworks 6 takes up between 12 and 20MB.
    (b) A regular internet browser would take up 20 to 50MB, depending on how many windows are open, or on how much data is being saved to the Cache.
    (c) Support for Carbon would take up some more space.

    That means you are looking at between 50 and 70MB, maybe more, of RAM this application would take up.

    And let's say that you had very little memory on your computer, maybe, 160, 256, or only 320MB of memory. Considering how much memory is needed to run OS 9 (and OS X especially) you may eventually run out of memory, or you will run low, resulting in a possible computer crash.

    Finally, in regard to memory, let's say that you use the internet often with this application, but all you wanted to do was a spreadsheet. You are still using up plenty of memory just so an application opens up to do a simple tasks. This is because ALL of the information about the application and its current usage has to be carried to the RAM, so that the Hard Disk does not have to do a lot of the work.

    And as for memory in regard to speed, with all of the instructions needed to write the application these have to be carried to the RAM. And that takes a long time. Even on the fastest Mac it may take 10 seconds to load this application, maybe more.

    A few other issues would be switching back and forth from web navigator to a word processor, but I would not worry too much about that.

    I just do not see this application becoming a standard anytime soon. If somehow all of this memory could be compressed into a 30MB application, while being able to transfer all the instructions and data back and forth from within the RAM then I would approve. And based on these possible estimates it doesn't seem likely that this application would become any easier to make.

    Any time is a great time for iPod.
  3. Choppaface macrumors 65816

    Jan 22, 2002
    webrowser integrated into the OS? didn't somebody get sued for that....? :D :D
  4. chmorley macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2002
    Denver, CO

    For the last several years, there seem to be two competing camps. In one, they want software to be written specifically for a particular purpose, claiming that this is the only way that it will keep from getting ridiculously bloated. OmniGroup is an excellent example of this camp. These folks also prefer hardware that is specific to a single purpose (e.g., iPod (roughly)) vs. one that is supposed to do everything (e.g., cell phone/pda/camera/mp3 player/computer/etc.) because the former do things better.

    In the other camp, they want one piece of sofware (or hardware) that does everything. Their argument being that this is somehow easier or better. While I generally disagree with this notion, Apple subscribed to one not all that different not all that long ago. While their idea that software developers could simply make "parts" that could be combined to create "do it all" apps was revolutionary, it didn't take. Still, Cyberdog represents a pretty successful outcome of this (even though Cybie is long dead).

    So what do people think of the whole OpenDoc thing and why it failed?

  5. Beej macrumors 68020


    Jan 6, 2002
    Buffy's bedroom
    Choppaface - LOL :D

    Cobra - do you know what you are talking about???

    All - A few points on this topic:
    • As great as Photoshop is, other apps are still frequently needed to get graphics work done. One would assume, unless this all-in-one app is some kind of "all-encompassing, brilliant at everything, supports every format and standard, and is just plain old whiz-bang super-app" you're still going to need to use other apps to get the job done, thus defeating th purpose in the first place.
    • Who has the resources to make such as "super-app"? Well, I can answer that -- no one. M$ could probably buy all the companies needed, but even then, this would be the hugest software project ever taken on... that is, if you wanted to do it right, and this is M$ we're talking about, so... ;)
    • Further to the point above, do you really think M$ is capable of making a "all-encompassing, brilliant at everything, supports every format and standard, and is just plain old whiz-bang super-app"? No? Nor do I.
    • What's so bad about clicking an icon in the Dock to open a specialised app? It's never worried me before...
    • This would be a huge app! I'm talking several CDs. Office v.X is a full CD, and it's only a word processor, spread sheet, PIM and presentation suite. The super-app would have to do much more than this.
    • Who would buy this app? Why fork out money for this super-app when you won't use half of it? Why not just buy the individual bits you will actually use?

    ...and I'm spent.
  6. britboy macrumors 68030


    Nov 4, 2001
    Kent, UK
    Good points Beej.

    I would add that i actually like having my apps sepperate. It means i get a different interface for different jobs, a new 'scenery' which reminds me that what i'm doing now in photoshop (for the sake or argument) is not the same as what i was doing in word earlier.

    By all means, have apps closely intergrated (like photoshop and imageready), but keep them apart. You're going to get a way too cluttered work area otherwise.
  7. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    If anyone has tried it they know, you can generate webpages with MS Word, which if you look at it is almost a all in one app. But when you look at the code generated its a disaster!

    That's one of the problems with having one app do to many things. I'm sure M$ would love to have one, but in virtue of the fact that the M$ Office Suite is several apps should tell you that its just not a good thing. Apple Works is another halfway decent all in one- word, drawing package, I don't know if it does html though, I've not really played with it too much.

    I'm all for multiple apps, one of my main software packages, Lightwave is actually two programs (well 3 if you consider the Hub), one for modelling and another for rendering and animation. I really like the separation of tasks, it makes for cleaner work flow.
  8. kansaigaijin macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2002
    the great ether
    browser universe

    this is why M$ was so afraid of Netscape, the browser could do anything. It would always be running, and you would load up modules to do tasks, just like web pages. The memory is not the problem, remember when this started ram was $300 for 4 megs . . .
  9. chmorley macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2002
    Denver, CO

    Anyone have any opinions on why it failed?

    Was it too ambitious (i.e., not possible), a bad idea (because of problems M$ might have with an Apple module tied to their software), or poorly marketed?

    It certainly would have changed computing.

  10. jvaska thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 18, 2002
    Kans is on the same mindset as i am...

    i a designer...and a superb organizer or stuff...i see it as a great challenge...

    why can't apps use LESS memory? why can't one mother app be created that would provide the basic functionality for ALL apps (yes, i know, that's what an OS actually is)...

    and then i start to think about how it could possibly be presented and used...if we got less memory...wouldn't it be theoretically much more likely to have true background multitasking? (or whatever it's called...i always get the terminology messed up)...

    but i'm not a, i have no idea how to execute these things...

    and YES...m$ did try to make this claim...and's only one of the reasons they are in court...but i still think their argumentation was based more upon killing netscape than the TRUE potential of this concept...they are so ****ed up over there...

    all in's just something i was thinking about...i know it's been thought of before...

    thanks for all the guys are really quite brilliant...jv
  11. jelloshotsrule macrumors G3


    Feb 7, 2002
    that's interesting, because the one or 2 times i tried to use lightwave briefly the various apps confused the hell out of me, and scared me away for good..... i guess i could give it a shot now, but since i'm learning maya (generally considered the best) i figure i may as well stick with it.

    though of course the best 3D folks can use all of them and even on the worst/simplest 3D app can create great things... hmm
  12. mc68k macrumors 68000


    Apr 16, 2002
    Unix Philosiphy

    And it's a great philosophy. Have a bunch of small tools at your disposal that do one thing, and do it well. By themselves, the small apps are rather unpowerful, but when utilized in conjunction with other apps/commands they are VERY powerful. That's why hackers LOVE Unix. They can do whatever they want. All the tools are at their disposal.

    Giant-apps suck. They may look like they're more powerful, but you're being ripped off from true power.

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