Wow, a friend of mine sent me an email yesterday that echoes my sentiments exactly, and he doesn't hold anything back. With his permission, I'm sharing it here:
Man, I'd rather die than create another friggin' web app. I mean, who really gives a crap about web apps? What the **** are these apps doing for the real good of the world? Who cares if you can order a pizza online, or share photos easier than we did 10 years ago? I just don't want to look back on my life and think that I spent it creating friggin' web apps.
Just imagine if all these smart minds were working in the science and engineering fields instead of chasing the almighty dollar. We need medical advances a million times more than another effin' web app. Think about that time you saw your aunt at the funeral, and she had no idea who you were b/c she had Alzheimers. You shoveled that lady's driveway every winter for what, at least five years? And you see her 10 years after college, and she has no idea who you are? That sucks.
The world needs more scientists, engineers, and just plain inventors. This web **** pales so much in comparison to the things we need to build. Think of just the aerospace industry, global warming, and energy fields. And all these really smart minds are being wasted building friggin' web apps??? Argh...
God, that kills me. What a waste of all this talent.
I don't disagree that there are a lot of lame web apps out there. However, we can't all be scientists, engineers, and inventors. There are extremely important ideas to pursue out there. You mention aerospace, which some might disagree with as truly important, at least anymore. You have to remember that the race to space fueled amazing advances in science and technology, many of which are important in our everyday lives today. Who is to say that the "Web App Industry", and the interest it generates, wont fuel more amazing advances in technology, or better yet, society in general.
I think we can agree, however, that we would all be better off without Farmville and Mafia Wars. :)
Thanks for your comments. You're right, there are a lot of good things coming from the web development world. Things like Ruby on Rails, CakePHP, Drupal, many social applications, growing more experienced programmers in the world, and solving scalability problems are all things that come to mind immediately. And all of this pushes the need for ubiquitous WiFi, and who knows where that will lead.
I know my personal problem with this was a little burnout, plus an interest in algorithms, science, and engineering, and not much interest in database-driven web apps, but that's a personal thing. Plus, some times you have to do what you have to do to make some money.
I have a PhD in computer science. I wrote papers for awhile. At least someone uses your stupid web apps. Research papers are worthless, and a waste of really bright people's time.
How about a web app for little old ladies so they can more easily keep in touch with their grand kids, or someone to shovel their drive. It would have to so bullet proof even a grandma could easily use it. The look on her face when she can see her kids would cover all your angst.