Summary: the Smart Dumb Terminal

Of course, there are always going to be some gotchas when you’re working in web apps. The issue of trust keeps coming back: unless you have complete control over your data (in other words, unless it’s on a disk you’re in charge of), you cannot assume that the data is going to be safe—not even if you’re paying for a web service. Even paid-for services can break, and you can’t always trust the supplier of that service to have kept reliable, usable, up-to-date backups.

Note

I think the likelihood that a company like Google could lose all your stuff is very slim indeed. But that shouldn’t stop you from keeping backups of everything you entrust to them.

It follows that anything you do in web apps needs to be backed up in a manner you’ve got confidence in. Consequently, a web app is never going to be as super-convenient as its creators might claim; simply by placing your data in the hands of someone else, you’re introducing the need for you to perform independent data backups.

However, that doesn’t mean that web apps are troublesome, time-consuming, or a waste of time. Quite the reverse: in many hours of exploration and discovery while researching this PDF, I’ve been consistently astonished and impressed at the quality of work on display almost everywhere I looked. Even more amazing is that most of these services are either completely free or offer basic free services with paid upgrades and add-ons.

The humble browser, descendent of NCSA Mosaic, is now central ...

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