Yes, his post is about Apple’s iOS, but I’m unfortunately rather confident that the results would be similar if someone were to do a similar analysis with a proxy server on apps on Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7, WebOS and any other mobile platform.
These are application design problems.
As programmers, we all take “short cuts” from time to time… I’m as guilty of that as anyone… but sometimes those shortcuts have grave consequences.
Mobile developers need to read Troy’s piece… and then look at their own apps and see how they can change. Actions like:
Securing the transport of login credentials! (DUH!!!)
Not stuffing giant images down onto mobile devices when those images are going to be restyled in HTML to be tiny.
Being wary about what info is gathered by apps – and also disclosing that to customers (and perhaps offering a way to opt out).
The list can go on… Troy’s article has other ideas in it, too… but the point is that in the rush to get a mobile app out there, some of these security and privacy issues (and bandwidth costs!) really do need some attention!
For those of us of a certain age, “The C Programming Language“, written by Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie, was our “bible” as we learned to program in those very early days. Our copies of “K&R“, as many of us referred to it, got quite dog-eared and marked up as we used it to figure out this whole new world of “C”. It was an exciting time and a critical book to have.
Many of us, in fact, probably still have that book… the image accompanying this post is my copy that I pulled off of a bookshelf a few moments ago.
While many of us stopped programming in C years ago (although many still do), it was the language that got many of us started in “serious” work… and also that formed the background of UNIX as well.
On that note, I had quite honestly forgotten over the years Dennis Ritchie’s role in the creation of UNIX, but as has been noted in many articles today it was he and Ken Thompson that started it all. Here’s a great video from the Bell Labs days showing both Thompson and Ritchie:
Remember perl? The “scripting language” that was the one of the first that many of us used on UNIX to automate system administration tasks? And then was later used in the 1990s for a ton of web CGI programming and so much more? And that we could have so much fun with created “obfuscated” programs that looked like gobbledegook but actually did something useful?
The slide set from Jesse Vincent embedded in the RWW article is interesting in that it does show the good amount of work being done by the perl faithful to bring more stability and progress to the perl language.
I commend them all for the work… it looks like really good things are happening. Is it enough to make me personally return to working with perl? Probably not, to be honest… but for the sake of all those people who still work with perl… and for people looking for a great multi-purpose programming language with deep roots and a huge base of documentation and usage… it’s good to see the language evolving again!