My goal with this blog

I write about relevant changes in the way that people use the web and how startups are built to provide services and products for this ever changing wonderful thing we still know as "the web." As a former entrepreneur turned early-stage investor, my greatest hope is for this to be useful to other folks that are like me in the hopes that they can avoid some of the mistakes I've made.

Where is the HTML5 app IDE?

I am beyond shocked that Adobe managed to pull off a $1 billion quarter not because I buy the exaggerated rumors of Flash's demise, but because their tools are so lousy. Despite the fanfare around the release of CS5, CS-CS4 were a study in shipping progressively buggier authoring suites for creative professionals that seemed to rely on nothing more than the power of muscle memory and Stockholm syndrome to keep the license renewal cash machine running. And despite their recent claims to the contrary, it is very rare these days that I run into any web developers who are still using anything outside of Photoshop, much less any of their nascent HTML 5 projects.

Imagine then, the pleasant surprise in seeing Apple ship a creative tool for producing iAds that is likely two configuration options away from being a full blown IDE for HTML 5 web applications. Having spent all of 15 minutes playing with it, I felt completely convinced that this interface model is what iWeb and Dashcode should have been, and quite likely what Vermeer FrontPage and Macromedia Dreamweaver would have been had Microsoft and Adobe not interceded with the buckets of acquisition dollars and ensuing strategy taxes that slowly turned each of the products into pigs made of bits.

Which is to say, I think there is a market opportunity right now for someone to build a kickass HTML5 authoring environment. In my mind, this would mean a native app* due to the fact that doing authoring apps in the browser is still too janky, built on the site tree UI metaphor (like iAds Producer), taking full advantage of device specific templates (PC browser, pad, smartphone), and engineered with a proper roundtrip process for advanced editing of HTML, Javascript, and CSS should a developer want to "go further."

The startup that does this right could find itself with a nice tools business and a pretty strategic asset once folks wake up from this AppStore/native app induced fever and remember what it was that we liked about the web in the first place.

* And at this point a company could get away with shipping a Mac/Cocoa version only, perhaps to leverage the forthcoming Mac AppStore.