3 min

Web vs Native apps in 2013 and beyond

The debate will continue for years. Both have their roles. I prefer the Web on all devices. So for me, my favorite all-time native app is the Web browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, Links).

Native apps vs Web apps depends upon the the website, the company, internal programming talent, user-base, maintenance costs, etc. It's silly to promote only one type over the other for all situations, but I think the Web is the better choice if limited to one method.

I wonder if many users simply expect a website or service to offer a downloadable native app. And they have this expectation for no other reason than it makes the site or service appear more legit or professional because they provide something for users to download and install. If the native app dramatically increases the user experience, then the native app is fine.

Maybe users don't take a Web service seriously on mobile if the site does not provide a downloadable app even if their slick responsive-design site works well on mobile.

The info below may be a little over-the-top, but I agree in principle, at least for the coming years if not currently.

October 2013 - Medium.com - Native Mobile Apps are the New Flash - A great stopgap measure while the web caught up

The vast majority of web apps no longer need a native counterpart.

Native mobile apps are a temporary solution. We’re just over 4 years into the Appstore era and this has already become apparent. Open web technologies are catching up to the point that the vast majority of web apps no longer need a native counterpart.

Don’t try to tell me native apps are faster or allude to them having a “better experience.” That simply is no longer true. Sencha proved this last year. For a more detailed look just how far mobile web capabilities have come, see Benjamin De Cock’s excellent Building iOS Web Apps in 2013.

As it stands now, there is little reason most mobile apps to exist. Content-based sites do not need downloadable apps. I’m talking about NYTimes, WSJ, Wikipedia, Buzzfeed, TMZ, etc. These native apps add literally nothing of value to their web-based user experience. Even many more complex apps do not need native functionality. Many RSS readers, GTD apps, eCommerce apps and search apps add little more than a homescreen button.

As Thomas Baekdal points out, mobile apps are stuck in 2004. Much of the functionality that has become standard on the web — automatic updates, social sharing, scrolling — has been completely stripped out and ignored.

Today, there are only two pieces of functionality that necessitate a native app: camera access and push notifications.

I originally published this on my site February 15, 2013. Back then people thought I was insane.

Feb 2013 post titled Unique Features in iPad Apps is Like The Web in 2004

Feb 2013 - Building iOS Web Apps in 2013

JavaScript is remarkable in the way it lets novice developers build, quickly and easily, real, interactive stuff. The problem is that it's so easy to get started that most people tend to not put too much effort in writing efficient JavaScript. It often leads to unresponsive and clunky web apps and to the conclusion that the technology is just not ready yet. Just like with any other language, writing bad code obviously results in bad apps.

Writing decent JavaScript, however, can definitely result in native-like performance and smoothness. I'd even argue that when done right, a web app can be better than a native app as your users will always be running an up-to-date version of your app without any effort.

Dec 2013 - The Making of Fastbook: An HTML5 Love Story

Medium.com - Why you suck, not the mobile web. - The botching of the mobile web experience isn’t the phone broswer, it’s the web developer.

#design - #mobile - #apps - #web - #html5 - #css3 - #javascript - #blog_jr

By JR - 656 words
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