Dave Winer has released a new, general-purpose app backend called nodeStorage. I'm very bullish on this model.
Dave's stated goal is support for browser-based applications, something near and dear to my heart. nodeStorage provides three important things that every app needs: In Dave's words:
nodeStorage builds on three technologies: Node.js for the runtime, Twitter for identity and Amazon S3 for storage.
This makes it easy to build applications by handling three big things that developers would otherwise have to worry about.
This idea is similar to my Personal Cloud Application Architecture (PCAA). The biggest difference is that PCAA isn't just solving the backend problem for developers, but proposing that the right way to do it is by using the application user's backend. Not only don't developers have to build the backend, they don't have to run it either! And the user gets to keep their data in their own space. Traditional apps do this:
A PCAA app separates the app from the backend like so:
nodeStorage does this too. The only question is who runs the application data cloud. As far as I can see, there's nothing in Dave's proposal that would keep nodeStorage to be used with something like a Freedom Box, Johannes Ernst's UBOS linux distro, or any other indieweb project to so that users can run their own backend for apps.
Dave's solving developer pain and is taking an important step down the path toward solving some user pain. Sounds like a strategy for adoption.