Saturday, September 17, 2011

Web Intents

Last week, I was listening to an interesting talk from Boris Smus. He talked about things that are coming to Chrome next year.Web Intents was most interesting among them. Google is looking to borrow techniques from Android to Chrome/the web.Intents are an important part of the Android application framework.It allows a great reuse among apps.
For example if you are in a Chat application and you want to set your profile picture. When you press the button to change your pic in the chat application, then all the apps that are registered for this intent would be listed, you can choose the appropriate app to browse for your photos. You can either choose the phones gallery app or choose picasa to browse the pic's from the web. After you select your profile pic, the Intent returns to the app that originally called it, returning the requested results, In this case returning the selected pic.
If this wasn't possible, then your chat application had to provide ways to browse your gallery or browse your picasa albums. Small developers cannot provide all these functions into their app. This could be a kill for their apps.
Web apps are becoming increasingly popular and could replace Desktops soon. Intents in web app will be of great use. Google is working hard on standardizing this technology with an open approach. Mozilla engineers are also working close with Google in bringing up these standards. You can expect this feature to come in one of the next versions of chrome.
The simplicity of Intents over other API's is that, you can actually call a Intent is a couple of lines of code. When your intent completes, you can get back the results of your intent from a callback in your app. Using API's provided by each app could be complex and unmanageable to handle when there are multiple apps in the web that the user can use.
With all these new advances coming to chrome and chrome OS, chromebooks are likely to replace desktops.   These apps will let you do all the stuff you can do with your desktop. Google is having a head start with the cloud based chrome OS, It could become a monopoly in OS market.