Little More Rumination on WWDC

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Little More Rumination on WWDC

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The POTUS was in the hood today. My girlfriend and I made an innocent trip to Trader Joe‘s and Von‘s and upon departure from the latter, the street we came in on was closed. In my attempt to get around, we were stopped on the ramp right when the motorcade was coming through. Few hours later, I decided I would try another episode of Marc Maron‘s podcast. As I was going through my app, I saw that Farhad and his buddy concluded that there were no surprises at WWDC. Reminded me of the scene at the end of Herzog‘s Kaspar Hauser film where he tries to explain perspective‘s dependence upon experience. Pundits seriously make carpet salesmen look like particle physicists. My head exploded when I read that in part, because I had spent a LOT of time digesting the massive carcass and still felt like I was nowhere near done. Please, just STFU if your analysis consists of licking a finger and sticking it in the wind.

Was going to wait until I got to the end of ingesting/digesting, before exegesis-ing. But here I am. Having decide instead that a few interim observations are in order.

Way back in 2009 or something Amazon was selling for $45 and when people were asking me what stocks I liked that and Apple were my only response. I remember the usual reaction was like ‘Amazon? the online store? didn‘t that pop a long time ago?‘ Well, after their last quarter‘s first unveiling of cloud profits, the stock shot up to $450. This week I had to move one of my sites to S3. The path was so full of witless debris and stubbly-ingrown puss pockets it was ridiculous. Wait, this is the Golden Horde that‘s going to pick everyone up? Really?

Meanwhile, I happened to watch the What‘s new in CloudKit session from WWDC, and slowly, a simple idea started to grow: don‘t count apple out. Then at a few points, I started to realize that this seedling was intersecting a couple other rant vectors that have been growing for some time: pricing and greed. I am pretty sure I have ranted about pricing on here before. The most ingenious part of the Apple presentation was the main thrust of it was this: ‘you‘re a developer: you make an app, we give you 10 gigs, you pay nothing until you have users, once you have them, some of what they do comes out of their quota, some out of yours, if you achieve a blend, you could scale to 5M users and never end up paying a cent.‘ Genius.

Where the first foray into cloud was naive and bumbling, Apple‘s second round looks really bloody smart. The other CloudKit presentation started with a dude basically saying the difference between a great app and a profoundly broken one is in error handling. This was both great to hear and painful, since in genus one, the errors were often useless and sometimes nonexistent. But it also shows that somebody has digested the wrong way and is back to make sure the path to the right way is clearly illuminated. The other thing that was pretty awesome was the fact that Swift 2 brings greater safety to entity/store mapping. Combine this with the other tooling improvements: better tests and automation, and Apple‘s CloudKit could be the Trojan Horse no one saw coming. The other kind of quiet thunderclap that no one seemed to notice was that you can now access it from web apps. A year ago, I ruled it out as a backend possibility. This year, I tried hard to make an argument for not using it and could not.

Which gets me to my next point: ok Toyota apparently can‘t do Lean, but for the rest of us out here, let me make an argument that perhaps will sound facile at first but might grow on you. Amazon is like the Hadoop of the cloud now: a big fat blubbering offering that is so vast that every time you have to do anything with it, you feel like Ralph Kamden facing another Civil Service test. That‘s a great strategy in the buildout phase of a technological epoch. It‘s a disastrous one if and when competitors arrive. Everyone knows that the Amazon Free Tier, which is the dealer/junky salvo of yore, is useless. You can‘t put anything worthwhile on a micro instance. You sure as hell can‘t do any analysis. Meanwhile, consider the Lean argument: you are making an app. You start with iOS. Reaching the next shelf in the cupboard, to get your data into a shared realm is seamless. I thought Google was going to get to this first. I tried their embedded Cloud functionality in Android Studio over and over again. I finally did get it to work. But when you look at what you have to do to use App Engine, seriously, it looks like it‘s a few nostril hairs past where WebObjects was when NeXT first made it 2 decades ago. Simple bean mapping built on following conventions and not having much control over the rest. Consider also, it‘s still using pre-8 Java. So no lambdas, the old time/date junk, no Optionals.

The takeaway from this side is the unknowing money guys are all thinking Amazon‘s the big bet for the cloud because they already have the Customers. Um, Customers can move providers pretty easily. We are for sure living in the age of the hermit crab in tech. When you start considering virtualization at the container level, it‘s laughable to think that motel occupancy is justification for a P/E of 2000 (or whatever Amazon is now). Ok it‘s only 1100.

On our way to lunch the other day, somehow the subject turned to Git. I was making the point that though it swept through tech at a rate that made even the worst plagues look like rashes, it didn‘t really advance the main business of source control: conflict arbitration and resolution. It made it much less stressful, and gave you greater power in engaging it, but the state of the art of knowing how to merge files was not change in any way by Git. This is where I think Apple has another huge trump card. As the Hadoop disaster has illustrated, moving things around and doing work on them, is complicated and consumes a lot of the energy. In the Tips and Tricks session, they show an example of a Party with Attendees and they show how complicated it is to handle two mobile users saying they will attend the event. This makes me think Apple has woken up just in time, and they are focused on the right things. Let Amazon have the decaying, necrotic ‘enterprise‘ market (Larry Ellison was apparently gloating about how much Oracle stood to make on the cloud since commissions are only paid from the first of 10 years this week). They are trying to turn the cloud into everything we hate about the Telcos. While they are doing that, Apple can round up the apps of the future. When their opposition wakes up to the fact that they are all running on iCloud it will be too late. And revising their pricing chart won‘t stop them from sinking.

apple, cloudkit, wwdc

Published at DZone with permission of Rob Williams , DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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