Simple Applications

A discussion about simple interfaces with Brian Anderson and Tyler Bell got me thinking. So I jumped on Editorially and started typing this post. Editorially is an example of a new breed of software where the interface isn’t in-your-face (see what I did there?). It’s designed to let your content be the focus while providing a refined set of features, available when you need them, instead of the usual heap of icons lumped in ribbons and tabs. This philosophy is also evident in IA Writer, Ghost, and Medium. Sure, you can’t use these to mail-merge, but when you want to write, they let you. Simplicity is a beautiful thing.

Then I thought about more complex tasks. Do we lose the efficiency which these narrow focused tools provide when you end up having to use four simple tools to replace one broad one? Of course I don’t want one tool that does everything. The thought of a Pages-Photoshop-Espresso-CodeKit-Terminal-Chrome mutant makes me seasick. So what’s the optimal balance? Can we hope for a future of few, focused apps or will we cycle back toward the comfort of bloated suites?

Now I will publish this using Wordpress, an example of software that does too much, except when you need that one extra feature.

UPDATE: 2/19/14 - I moved this blog from wordpress to Jekyll, an example of a simple web platform.