5 reasons Lebron is the future, or why the Norch Search Engine will rock

The Lebron stack

Last week, I saw the future. Wohaa, that’s always a great feeling. I’ve seen it in earlier weeks also, but now it was even brighter than before. For me, it’s still called the Lebron Stack as Max Ogden explains it and consists of LevelDB, Browserify and npm. All this is mostly happening in JavaScript. Before I’m knocked to the ground: I wasn’t the first to either make the prediction or say it out loud. I’m way behind, and it’s not a very novel or extreme idea, just a really good one. But when something is predicted, it may take a long time before it happens, if it happens at all. I think it’s happening now-ish.

So this blog post is about why I think that time is now. Disclaimer for the .Net and Java heads And all you .Net- and Java-heads will surely find some stuff that will be done better within your part of the world, but hear me out! I know the list of “This already exists in OS [W] or [X]” or “You can do that with software [X], [Y] or [Z]”. I have these thoughts my self, and I’ve been wondering why I still think that Lebron and JavaScript still will be so much more important. I’m not saying that .Net and Java stuff will go away, it will just be less important (it already is) and most of the cool and stuff closer to the user will happen in the JavaScript world.

Webrebels conference. Opening slide on stage.
The future is bright at the Webrebels conference in Oslo, May – 2014.

Here are the reasons I found so far

  • Most stuff happens in the browser Selling anything, you want to be where the people are. For regular people that’s on their smartphone using a web app or just a native app, which in most cases is a web app wrapped as a native app. Emerging markets makes this shift towards the browser happen even faster. The Firefox OS may fail as an OS, but still succeed creating a standard smartphone API for web applications, the WebAPI. This will make it even easier to create web apps for all of the world’s smartphones, which leads me on to my next point.
  • Easier for startups and developers Competing with the big ones is never easy. Amazon Web Services, AWS, and similar services made it a little easier to scale hardware use dynamically, and from that, the cost of hardware. With the browser as a VM and single page applications a lot of the web application rendering and logic is moved from the servers to the clients. So for a small company the choice is easy. Why do all the heavy lifting on your own servers when the users can do most of the application rendering and logic on their smartphones? The irony in the old “thin vs. thick client” debate is that the clients actually got a lot thinner, and in the same go started doing more of the heavy lifting. While a Google data center is impressive, I also got a feeling it’s a sign of something gone terribly wrong.
  • Collaboration, modularity and minimum effort npm is great stuff. It takes away a lot of dependency pain in the JavaScript world. Combined with people that are very good at writing small modular programs and lots of stuff under the MIT license we have a winner. We now have tools for collaboration that actually works. People build their killer apps with very little effort on top of others’ greatness. No more reinventing the text editor.
  • Cheaper hardware for regular users Okay, most people access the Internet through their phone, but the Chromebook explains this point very well. Why have a full OS, with all the hardware costs to run it fairly fast, when all you do is fire up a browser? The browser is the OS more and more each day. Last time my desktop at home broke down, I bought a new one. The new one was state of the art and it was a miscalculation buying it. Almost every time I boot it (running Ubuntu), I’m asked to upgrade to the newest version. That means every half year or so. The laptop I have, I actually use a little, but much less than my pad/tablet and phone.
  • Everything fun is online Not a real argument, but hey… Isn’t it true?

But what about the Norch search engine you say?

So, what does these reasons for Lebron/JavaScript’s future success have to do with the Norch search engine? First of all, it’s written in JavaScript and needs very little hardware to run properly. You install it with npm, and that takes care of all the dependencies, like LevelDB, where the data is actually stored. Hopefully it will run in the browser in near future using Browserify and make testing, installing and maintaining search software so much easier and more accessible. It also opens up a lot of new interesting use cases for search. My guess is that it won’t compete with the bigger search engines, but that it will open up the possibility for better and cheaper search functionality for small scale solutions.

This is also posted on Comperiosearch / Search nuggets.

Anything you want to add to or subtract from the list?

Disagree, have a comment or want to pitch in? Youre thoughts are more than welcome =)

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