Thursday, February 28, 2013

The appeal of a platform from the programmer's perspective

I'm sure that many of you have seen the spate of announcements and articles for Firefox OS.

Will it succeed or won't it?  That's the question of the day and the same could be said for ChromeOS, Windows RT, Backberry, etc.

To the extent that programmers can influence the success of a platform, I'd like to offer this advice...  There are two questions whose answers attract most programmers to a platform:

  1. Is the platform really cool?
  2. Can I make a lot of money writing code for that platform?
Number two is much more important than number one over the long run - COBOL ceased to be cool before I was born, but lots of folks still make their likelihoods writing COBOL.

So to the well meaning folks at Firefox OS I just have to ask:
Can I make a lot of money writing code for Firefox OS?
Your answer is a bit of a diversion...
Write your apps with HTML 5
Apps that run on Firefox OS will run on any HTML 5 device, so you'll make a lot of money because your apps will run on lots of devices just as soon as lots of devices start running HTML 5 efficiently.

I do hope that the HTML 5 runs well on lots of devices day comes soon... but for today the answer to the "Can I make a lot of money writing code for Firefox OS?" question is still in doubt.  Eventually maybe - Maybe even probably - but that ability to make money has nothing to do with Firefox OS.

Firefox OS better be really cool.
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