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The application of web and native apps…

11 Feb Posted by in News | Comments Off on The application of web and native apps…
The application of web and native apps…

The application of web and native apps…

It’s unbelievable to think that just 5-years ago Apple launched its first app store. Yet apps have become an intrinsic and fundamental part of our everyday lives. Copied by countless businesses, millions have been made and lost, but yet we’re continuing to become more and more reliant on apps for navigating our daily lives.

From finding a phone number, ordering a takeaway, to booking a taxi; an app’s purpose is to achieve a specific task.

From humble beginnings…

Before the app store era truly developed, the word ‘applications’ referred generally to a website which provided an advanced user interaction, previously only available through installable software.

Pre-Apple days, the earliest examples of web applications included Webmail, Google Maps and Google Docs. Compared to the classic web, i.e. blogs and news sites, web apps provided a richer user experience and access to advanced browser capabilities.

Nowadays, single-page websites are still referred to as web apps, but they are increasingly becoming task-focused as opposed to being about the importance of the technology itself.

So, what’s the difference…

In brief, a native app lives on your device. It is accessed via an icon on your device’s home screen. A native app is installed onto your device via an application store – for example, Apple’s app store. A native app is developed exclusively with one platform in mind. And it takes full advantage of the entire features on your device, such as your contact list, camera and sat nav.

A web app isn’t actually an app. In fact, it’s a website. But a web app looks, feels and works just like a native app. What’s more, you would access a web app in exactly the same way you would a website: navigate to the URL, install onto your device’s home screen and bookmark to the relevant page. But the installation is where the differences start to appear. A web app is run by a browser and is written in HTML5, which means the same functionality as a native app.

… And what’s best?

Christian Heilmann at Mozilla described the comparison between a web app and a native app as being “much the same as comparing a tailored suit with one bought in a shop”. A native app works perfectly for the purpose and device for which it is intended; however, take it out of its comfort zone and that’s it! Whereas a web app is flexible and independent. It can run autonomously in any environment, display or technology.

He sums up the argument perfectly by quoting, “Native applications need to be written for every single device and every new platform from scratch, whereas an HTML5 app allows you to support mobiles, tablets and desktops with the same product. Instead of having fixed dimensions and functionality, an HTML5 app can test what is supported and improve the experience for people on faster and newer devices whilst not locking out others that cannot buy yet another phone”.

Despite HTML5’s reputation having taken a bit of a battering, when Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, broadcast his “biggest strategic mistake” had been working with HTML5 instead of native apps; there is an increasing number of mobile developers targeting web apps.

So, in conclusion, web apps are our choice over native apps. There certainly is further HTML5 development to come. However, when it comes to ease of use and functionality, it’s a web app every time.

To find out more about web app design and build from the DigitalIssue team, call today on 01978 722900 or click build a web app to send us an email.


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