About 9 months ago we got our first 3D printer in the lab, the MakerBot Replicator Dual. We would describe our relationship with the printer as complicated. Some days it’s working perfectly and printing non-stop, other days, it just sits there and stubbornly doesn’t work. We’ve had amazing experiences with the customer support at MakerBot, but somethings just require learning by doing.
It’s not just the tools that have matured. So have the communities surrounding various web technologies. Take Ruby on Rails, for example. Like Twitter, Branch uses Rails as its primary development framework. Both the technology itself and the community that surrounds it have evolved dramatically in the last few years as it’s become more widely adopted across the web.
Word eventually got out that I had an inventory system for bookstores, and others wanted to use it. That's why I chose to move the Linux server from under the counter to a data center: so that other stores could use the system. I rationalized that I could run secure connections between the servers and desktop web browsers, so why have the server in-store? My previous experience with enterprise software further strengthened my belief that software as a service would be easier to maintain than shipped code. But one obstacle remained.
The OS makers are losing their grip and Facebook is poised to attack. The company believes that owning three crucial buckets of data—messages, contacts, and photos—is they key to hijacking user activity into one centralized place without needing to build a phone themselves. Whether or not the strategy flies will depend on tectonic changes in cloud architecture, storage, operating systems, and user tastes. Here's everything app makers need to know about the coming war for our most precious digital stuff.