Title text: But still, my scheme for creating and saving user config files and data locally to preserve them across reinstalls might be useful for--wait, that's cookies.
This comic refers to the kind of "inventions" which seem new from the point of view of a smartphone (handheld computer) user, but have already been around for a long time on desktop or laptop/notebook computers.
Cueball has a clever idea to skip the downloading and installing of applications on mobile phones: he would host the applications online instead, and provide links to the servers. The apps wouldn't stay on the phone all the time; instead the phone would download each app again every time the user wanted to run it.
The page usually isn't saved long-term on the user's computer; instead the browser downloads it again when needed. HTML5 does however offer the option of caching web application files locally so it can remain operational when there is no network connection.
In the title text, Cueball's idea for local application storage already exists in the HTTP protocol as cookies. The more flexible web storage was originally part of the HTML5 specification, but it's now in a separate specification.
Native phone applications and web applications are not completely interchangeable. The web browser that is needed to run web applications on a mobile phone doesn't allow access to several of the phone's resources, like notifications and sensors. The Firefox OS project is trying to standardize access to these resources so that the entire user interface can be a web application, while projects like Apache Cordova make these resources available to web applications by creating a native application wrapper for the web application.
A comic with a similar point of view is 1174: App: Want to visit an incomplete version of our website where you can't zoom? Download our app!
- [Cueball and Megan are standing next to each other.]
- Cueball: Installing things has gotten so fast and painless.
- Cueball: Why not skip it entirely, and make a phone that has every app "installed" already and just downloads and runs them on the fly?
- I felt pretty clever until I realized I'd invented webpages.