Software Sharecropping

By Deane Barker on July 14, 2003

Don’t Be a Sharecropper: An enlightening essay by Tim Bray on software development:

Are You a Sharecropper? If you’re developing software for the Windows platform, yes. Or for the Apple platform, or the Oracle platform, or the SAP platform, or, well, any platform that is owned and operated by a company. They own the ground you’re building on, and if they decide they don’t like you, or they can do something better with the ground, you’re toast. They can ship their own product and give it away till you go bust, then start charging for it; and use secret APIs you can’t see; and they can break the published APIs you use. All of these things have historically been done by platform vendors.

I also like something he says further down the page about using the browser interface for content creation (typing a long article in a textbox, for instance):

The browser makes a lousy funnel through which to pour your soul into a computer, and I don’t see any reason to expect that to change.

More and more, I’m finding myself using traditional, client-based software for editing content.