Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Case Against "New and Improved"

My email provider has recently switched their webmail interface from a straight HTML version to an Adobe Flash based version. I don't really use this version a lot since I use Thunderbird as an email client, but it has some nice new features that I guess are helpful if you use the web interface a lot.

I was recently on vacation bouncing between four different hotels without a laptop. I came to appreciate the straight HTML interface more as I moved from place to place. All of the hotels I visited had "business centers" or public computers that you could access (some free, some not). I ran into two major problems with these computers; you can't install an updated version of Flash on a computer where you are only a guest, and Flash operates really slow over satellite connections.

I felt a bit of deja vu as I remembered the transition from Client/Server based programs to three-tier architectures in the earlier part of the decade. Here we are again with a thick version specific client. The more things change, the more they stay the same.