Ok, I’ve resisted for as long as I could before posting this: Looks like Microsoft isn’t the only large organisation that suffers from technology failures during their presentations. I often criticise Microsoft, particularly here in Australia, of not being thorough enough in their rehearsals for keynotes, leading to demos not working. This time it was Steve Jobs who looked like an idiot on stage when he could access a website on Safari due to a network failure. Clearly there was a major oversight here when it came to making sure there was a backup network in the case of something going wrong.
I guess what made me smile was that this demo strengthens my argument against all those web developers out there that believe the answer to the world’s problems is another mobile website, or worse a RIA application. Current RIA thoughts, be they Ajax or Silverlight, just don’t get mobility and what it means to build an offline capable application. Having built for mobile on a number of platforms for countless year I believe that for your mobile application to be awesome, it must be offline capable. Yes, this means either packaging data with your application, or better, syncing with a server somewhere.
Unfortunately, do you think that Microsoft gets this – not a chance. Actually there are several teams within Microsoft that do understand this (eg Sync Services, Sql Compact, Merge replication and even Live Mesh). However, it appears none of them are currently able to influence the decisions to release Windows Phone 7 without either database or sync support.
Back to the demo failure at WWDC: Clearly they were going to show the rich capabilities of Safari…. My point is that if you are building a “rich” mobile website you’ve messed up your architecture somewhere along the line. Build rich applications using a rich technology designed for the platform. If you want reach, then build a mobile website that is light, fast, easy to navigate and gives the user what they want without chewing through their data plan. Yes, this means NO flash and NO silverlight on the page (not that either of these will render in Safari on iPhone/iPad/iPods)