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> ... but when compared to the big disadvantage of having to maintain two codebases ...

It's about your users, not your developers. Of course it costs more to provide a better product, which was the original reasoning behind providing native desktop applications.

What they're doing now has more to do with politics and skillsets amongst traditionally web-focused engineering management and teams, than it does with actually creating a great product. Spotify has a ridiculously hard time hiring outside their management's core competency of web-focused development, including both for mobile and desktop. That has more to do with their management than the job market, though.

As an aside, I can't say I understand why web developers find it so impossible to migrate to mobile/desktop. Time and time again we work with organizations who have built a large server-side web-focused team and somehow simply cannot manage to support the mobile/desktop. What kinds of engineers are they hiring that they can't learn a new platform?




What kinds of engineers are they hiring that they can't learn a new platform?

Speaking as a web developer, I can tell you that I am perfectly able to transition to making desktop apps, I just have no incentive to. There are fewer and fewer desktop apps out there, so it's not a great use of my time to learn those skills.

Back to the Spotify player, the web client makes far more sense than a desktop one to me. All the music is stored in the cloud, so why do I have to download a desktop client on every machine I use to access it? It seems horribly backward to me.

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> Speaking as a web developer, I can tell you that I am perfectly able to transition to making desktop apps, I just have no incentive to. There are fewer and fewer desktop apps out there, so it's not a great use of my time to learn those skills.

Funny that you speak of it as a dead market, when A) The skill cross-over between desktop and mobile is direct, B) There's a huge amount of unfulfilled demand for mobile developers, and C) There's an enormously underserved desktop market (see also: Spotify, Netflix, HBO Go).

> Back to the Spotify player, the web client makes far more sense than a desktop one to me. All the music is stored in the cloud, so why do I have to download a desktop client on every machine I use to access it? It seems horribly backward to me.

Running a full fledged browser, with the resulting poor application UX, for a lightweight task as music streaming, seems horribly backwards to me.

All I want when music is streaming is a miniplayer, not a web browser. It should work with the play/pause/skip buttons on my keyboard/headphones, support airplay streaming, be able to integrate with my music library, and otherwise fit in nicely to my desktop/mobile experience.

If I worked for Spotify, Hulu, Netflix, or HBO (Go) (which I wouldn't, because they're myopically web-focused), I'd be beating the war drums to provide better, more engaging user experiences via native applications for not just mobile, but desktop too.

Unfortunately, it winds up being a catch 22. They build technological monocultures (web-focused), can't hire for alternative platforms, contract out the mobile development, and then the web developers use their political positioning to try to turn everything into a bad shell around a web rendering view. The users lose.

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Perhaps a better way to look at it is this- when I have a great job doing web development and see job listings all over the place for other rewarding web roles, where is my incentive to do desktop development- even if it's close to the (much more booming) mobile app space? The web is in no danger of dying or getting less popular any time too soon.

Running a full fledged browser, with the resulting poor application UX, for a lightweight task as music streaming, seems horribly backwards to me.

But that isn't why I'm running it. I have a web browser open every minute I'm using my computer, so it's already there. The browser is a multitasking application itself, so using it for music streaming fits in great. I haven't used the Spotify web player, but Rdio has been web-based from the start, and has been great.

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> Perhaps a better way to look at it is this- when I have a great job doing web development and see job listings all over the place for other rewarding web roles, where is my incentive to do desktop development- even if it's close to the (much more booming) mobile app space? The web is in no danger of dying or getting less popular any time too soon.

Because it would provide a better product for your users, which is the whole point.

It also shouldn't be hard to do. A senior engineer that can't easily jump on new technology stacks is not a senior engineer.

> But that isn't why I'm running it. I have a web browser open every minute I'm using my computer, so it's already there. The browser is a multitasking application itself, so using it for music streaming fits in great. I haven't used the Spotify web player, but Rdio has been web-based from the start, and has been great.

An arbitrarily resizable browser window/tab that looks like every other browser window on my desktop, which can't share state between multiple windows, and can't interact with my desktop in any meaningful way, doesn't use native components, goes wonky if I reload, and goes away if I have to restart my browser.

That doesn't make sense. This makes sense: http://www.pandabarapp.com/

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I like how you're talking about good user experiences and then use that as an example.

Furthermore, that wouldn't as easily transfer to Windows since taskbar notification icons are routinely hidden.

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> I like how you're talking about good user experiences and then use that as an example.

What's your point?

> Furthermore, that wouldn't as easily transfer to Windows since taskbar notification icons are routinely hidden.

Mac OS X isn't Windows. Part of writing native applications is working with established platform conventions and user expectations, not trying to rubber stamp the same thing everywhere.

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> What's your point?

It's ugly. It doesn't look nice in the slightest. It doesn't scream to me "Boy, this looks like an awesome user experience. I better try it out!"

> Mac OS X isn't Windows. Part of writing native applications is working with established platform conventions and user expectations, not trying to rubber stamp the same thing everywhere.

Then there is no good user experience for Windows. There goes your UX angle.

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> It's ugly. It doesn't look nice in the slightest. It doesn't scream to me "Boy, this looks like an awesome user experience. I better try it out!"

Why is it ugly? What, specifically is wrong with the UX?

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The UI is non-standard:

- The buttons aren't styled like Cocoa buttons

- The gradient is non-standard

- Why is there so much lime green?

- Why is there a lime green border?

- The images don't look like they scale well, they look blurry and not very well defined, even in the screenshots

It's supposed to be a Mac app but it doesn't use any of the guidelines published by Apple on conformity in the UI. That makes for a horrible user experience, especially when your app is made for the platform which embraces uniformity across its apps. It is not using any UI elements which the user is accustomed to, instead opting for custom-styled everything.

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These are all aesthetic complaints, not UX complaints. The UX is standard.

Now, I actually happen to agree that it's not the prettiest app. But it is a very usable app, in ways that a web browser music player is not.

I also get the impression that you're just being willfully contrary and not particularly genuine.

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