Bring Your Own Client, Geoffrey Litt

It seems like local-first software is a good foundation for promoting Bring Your Own Client more broadly. What would it look like to have a thriving ecosystem of third-party clients for Google Docs style word processing, which can all interoperate with each other, even supporting realtime collaboration?

local vs cloud isn’t the only factor here—even in local software, collaborators are often forced to converge on a single proprietary client (Microsoft Office, Adobe suite); conversely, a cloud service can support a third-party client ecosystem with the right APIs and attitude. Still, cloud apps exacerbate the problem. With local files, there’s some default openness built in; even proprietary file formats can be reverse-engineered. With cloud apps, the default is a single official client, unless the service actively exposes an API (and doesn’t shut it down—looking at you, Twitter).

(emphasis mine)

Some successful existing examples of client ecosystems built around open standards:

  • text editors / IDE
  • RSS readers
  • email clients
  • web browsers

Litt abbreviates this as BYOC, which I think is closely coupled to #ownyourdata

1 Like