Thursday, September 07, 2006

The case for browser-based kiosk software

James Kruper, President of Kioware, has put up a nice opinion piece on the case for browser-based kiosk applications over at Normally I wouldn't plug a competitor's perspective too much (it's a bad habit :), but to be honest WireSpring doesn't often compete against Kioware directly, and more importantly, we do take a very browser-based approach to kiosk software, so the more perspectives, the better.

While Kruper focuses on the ability to re-purpose applications and use plug-ins to give kiosks the ability to place Word, Excel, etc. documents into a browser, I think I'd take it one step further: a well designed Internet-based web application should really be just a few style sheets away from being an excellent kiosk application. Usually, if somebody has put the work into making their Internet-based app functional and easy-to-use, it should only be a matter of optimizing the front-end interface to work in a self-service environment. While that might have been tough in 1996, with today's CSS and XHTML standards, a well-formed app should easily be up to the challenge.

What's more, the state of browser interactivity has advanced an enormous amount in just the past 18-24 months, to the point where JavaScript and DHTML have become powerful enough to enable just about every self-service application that I've seen. As I've said before, building applications based on standards-compliant technologies can only be a good thing. The only people to suffer from standards compliance are those plugging their own proprietary application development platforms, and I certainly don't see a need to help them in their cause.

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