I have almost no control over the data that apps store for me. I’m talking about the data that apps explicitly advertise themselves for: like the workout data I record in a fitness app, or the todo items I put in a todo app, or the tweets I put on twitter.
The only way I can access this data is via the specific app that stores it, and I can only do things that the product designers had the forethought to include. Generally speaking, I can’t do anything with my data that the app doesn’t explicitly allow, and apps usually don’t expicitly allow much.
Why don’t apps allow much? Because every feature requires a developer to implement it, and developer time is limited and expensive. Implementing some random visualization that I want just isn’t economical if only I (or some small number of people) want it.
Where Solid falls short is its lack of pragmatism. Its technology is too different from what developers already know, and so will have a problem in gaining developer adoption, which is a prerequisite for gaining traction among anyone else. The fact that developers need to “get familiar with Linked Data vocabularies” before they can even create an app means that Solid is too expensive to adopt for 99% of profit-driven apps. Why learn a new method of storing data, when you already know how to use postgres?
So while I am in alignment with the goals and intent of the Solid project, I personally think we need a solution that “just works” for all the developers and companies out there who don’t have time to learn a whole new technology.
I think Urbit tries to address this problem too, but I’m not too familiar with the project. From what I can tell though, they seem to want to reinvent every single wheel they come across as they approach the problem. In other words, if Solid doesn’t seem quite pragmatic enough, Urbit doesn’t seem to even want to be pragmatic.
Lots of good stuff here, and obviously we agree with most of it. Even suggests ways of payment, which is what we’ve been thinking about (helping developers get paid for their apps, even / especially open source apps, and revenue share from user data payments as one of the ways to get paid).