You can only come to my cloud party if…..

I lost count of the number of times I heard or read that intro during 2010,

You can only be Cloud if you’re a pure play SaaS application. You can only be Cloud if you run multitenant. You can only be Cloud if you run public cloud. You can only be Cloud if you’re application independent. You can only be Cloud if you run in a web browser. You can only be Cloud if you don’t use smart clients. You can only be Cloud if you aggregate data. You can only be Cloud if… you get the picture

During the holidays, I had a couple of conversations on the difference between “sell side” and “buy side” perspectives from industry players. Now, if I asked the question, which side are the above statements coming from? The answer is easy; they are all sell side statements originating from SaaS vendors. How many customers would ask for any of this stuff?

So, I went in search of a more balanced view and picked up a tweet pointing me at this post on the hidden value from SaaS deployments from Ray Wang

Here Ray talks about the traction of SaaS and discusses seven characteristics of SaaS applications and I’d like to pick out just one for this post… the user experience:

Richer user experience – SaaS apps bring Web 2.0 usability to the enterprise world through rich internet applications using Adobe Air, HTML 5, Microsoft Silverlight, and other tools.

This struck a chord as it highlights a buy side customer need for Rich Internet Applications (RIA). It also begged the question, “could a technology, such as Adobe Air or Silverlight that requires a download to the customer’s device be classed as SaaS?”

Around the same time I read this entartaining post from Martjin Linssen who suggests that having to download Silverlight to use the Cloud was a big no no in SaaS terms.

I had a brief follow up twitter conversation with Ray, but we didn’t reach a conclusion…

Coincidentally, just before Christmas I’d been having another twitter conversation, this time with Gary Turner on whether a smart client, in this case a particular RIA that is found in the on-line game World of Warcraft (hence the picture) could be classed as a SaaS application? Despite a hefty initial download WoW runs in a web browser and connects millions of users (12 million to be precise) to a farm of servers (some of the most powerful machines in the world) in the Cloud?

Our conversation went along the lines of:

If it wasn’t desktop software and it wasn’t cloud software, then what was it… again, we didn’t reach a conclusion…

At the end of the day to the 12 million players of WoW, you might ask does it really matter? as long as the experience they get makes the gameplay enjoyable… and the more entranced in the game they are, the happier the vendor (Blizzard Entertainment) $$$ kerching.

Now that’s an example of where buy side and sell side are completely aligned…

At long last #Flash support for the #iPad

A few weeks back I wrote this post on how my Ipad would never replace my laptop. One of my main gripes was the lack of Flash support, I wrote:

The lack of flash support is a massive drawback, 50% of the sites I try to visit use flash and I can’t use the iPad to get to them.

So you can imagine my joy this week when a friend of mine tweeted this:

So off I rushed to acquire the Skyfire browser for the iPad for the modest sum of £2.99…

It does indeed allow you to play flash movies on the iPad, but how it does it, whilst innovative, is not quite seamless, e.g.

  • When you load up a page that contains flash Skyfire doesn’t automatically detect this… you have to press the ‘video’ button at the bottom left of the browser.
  • Skyfire then analyses the page for a flash tag and if it finds one a small window pops up informing you that some background processing is going on.
  • Behind the scenes the flash movie is copied and converted to HTML5 on a Skyfire server and then streamed to the small popup window.
  • Thereafter the movie plays pretty well…

Now all of this takes time and even 30 seconds of background processing seems like an eternity and it somewhat spoils the experience.

All in all, whilst it may not be the most elegant experience, Skyfire does what it says on the tin and allows you to watch Flash videos. In the grand scale of things, it’s better than having no Flash support at all, but until such times that Apple bury the hatchet with Adobe, this is all we can expect.