On Platform Independence

As I explore running on Windows, I've been thinking about the apps and tools that I use. I went through a similar exercise when I dove into Android.

I definitely felt that one's enjoyment of a platform might come to how much you're willing to embrace that company's entire ecosystem. Using all Apple products for close to 10 years now had meant that moving from device to device was relatively effortless. Many of the recent features like unlocking my MacBook with my watch or having a universal clipboard are pretty handy.

The moment multiple platforms come into play, all this convenience starts to disappear.

As a result, I've started being more conscientious about where I want stuff to live. For example, do I store all my files in iCloud? That doesn't help me on Windows or Android. Then there's music. And photos. And so on.

This also goes for the apps that I choose to use. Even something as simple as a to-do app has been a frustration of mine as I seek to find something that not only meets my needs but can do so on all platforms. Not easy to do. (groan)

As a developer, it makes me think about the experiences I want to create and how I could reach the largest audience but also how I can create a great experience over all those platforms.

The web, of course, is a natural fit. There's a web browser on every platform. I do like standalone apps and I like the experience that native apps can provide. Sometimes those things are subtle. Performance, rendering, scroll or mouse events, and so many other things can often make me feel like I'm in an uncanny valley of applications.

The last version of iTunes, for example, would do this weird thing where it would reset the scroll position every time I selected an item. It ruined iTunes for me. Making a playlist was excruciating.

I'm hoping that Progressive Web Apps will fill this need. With local storage, service workers, notifications, and access to other native resources, we'll be able to build cross platform applications more easily. (Not that testing those applications will be easier, but that's another story.)

On Windows

For to-do apps, Wunderlist and Todoist seem to be the best of the bunch but both frustrate me in different ways.

For things like Twitter and Facebook Messenger, I've just gone with the web. They seem to provide the best experience right now. And Edge has worked just fine. Although I switch over to Chrome to do a few things. (And the lack of 1Password integration in Edge is a bit frustrating.)

Having 1Password available on all platforms has been a huge timesaver. The implementation on Windows, in general, is a bit behind but there have been and continue to be regular updates to improve the integration.

For photos, I've been using Lightroom. I like the mobile implementation but the need to store all the photos locally on desktop is a bit of a frustration. I like having my photos in the cloud and just pulling them down to edit them.

For all my other files, I think I'm going with Dropbox. I already have it and its cross-platform availability works for me. It also has integrations with a number of apps that other platforms don't have.


So, Dave Rupert had #davegoeswindows and now Dan Mall has #dangoeswindows. Do I need to have my own hashtag? I didn't realize this was a thing. I guess I might as well do #snookgoeswindows. (Up next: dev environment!)

Published November 08, 2016
Categorized as Other
Short URL: https://snook.ca/s/1096