Home The Future of the Web: Mobile, Data Rich Apps Built by Everyday People?

The Future of the Web: Mobile, Data Rich Apps Built by Everyday People?

Reid Hoffman, CEO of LinkedIn, told audiences today at the Web 2.0 Summit that the next stage of the Web will be building apps and mobile UIs on top of our collective data. Some people believe that a big part of that could come in the form of technology platforms that anyone can use to create those apps and UIs.

Cross-platform mobile Web apps may be poised to become a big part of the future of the Web, but they just aren’t as powerful as native apps yet. Cabana, a do-it-yourself mobile Web app creation platform first seen at the Launch conference in February, announced a big new step today that will make mobile Web apps far more feature-rich as well. It’s called the Cabana Exchange, and it’s an API marketplace that allows app builders to incorporate some powerful 3rd party data and functionality.

I’m not sure what to think of HTML5 mobile Web app authoring tools in general. I love the creative possibilities they open, but there are some annoying user experience elements they introduce. However, these new capabilities offered by the Cabana Exchange sound really interesting. I just might have to switch to Cabana for my DIY HTML5 mobile Web app creation needs. (Seriously.)

The first partners in the Cabana exchange are location platform SimpleGeo and API service Mashery (disclosure: Mashery is a ReadWriteWeb sponsor). Through Mashery, the exchange will include APIs from Klout, Qwerly, FanFeeder, Rotten Tomatoes and WhitePages.com.

Each of those is a good chunk of functionality to bring to the crowded market of DIY mobile app creation tools. That’s social ranking (Klout), cross-network profile discovery (Qwerly), sports stats (FanFeeder), movie ratings (Rotten Tomatoes) and contact info look-up (WhitePages.com). On a little mobile Web app! Plus SimpleGeo location data. Impressive.

There are a number of drag and drop, DIY mobile Web app creation services and most of the others offer cross-platform native app creation too, for a fee. Cabana does not yet. Either way, the possibilities become fairly nuts when you combine Web content into a mobile app you can create in a day.

Here’s a description of how I made an awesome mobile Web app with competing service Genwi. Give me a marketplace of APIs to incorporate into those apps, and that’s pretty exciting. I haven’t tested Cabana yet, I gotta confess, so I don’t know about its performance, optimization or stability (in my experience, it’s much about caching content) but this new functionality is very interesting.

Not everyone thinks this is the best way to do it, of course. Sravish Sridhar is the CEO of Kinvey, a Boston-based startup that provides mobile back-end functionality as a service in the cloud. About Cabana, Sridhar says, “Cabana places emphasis on the device connecting to various services. In essence, the device becomes the platform. It’s opposite to what companies like Amazon are saying with Silk, where the cloud is the platform. Both are valid ways to do it and the market will decide.”

Hopefully we’ll see a big battle between startups working to make the creation of new mobile apps as easy, cheap, powerful and feature-rich as possible – whether natively or on the mobile Web.

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