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Mobile Native App or Web App

July 9, 2010

While there is every one associated with Web App development and Native App development, discusses about this, it is my turn to give my views.

Advantages of Mobile Web App development:

1. The Mobile Web Applications can reach a broader audience on multiple devices and platforms and the cost involved to reach to such a huge audience across all platforms by developing Native Apps for all of them would be very huge to hold for an organization. Their strength is ‘Build once, deploy anywhere’.

2. And the time an native Application reaches the market(customers through App store) is never determined by us, but by the Platform owners. And Web is completely open.

3. Another advantage would be faster speed of development and much reduced maintenance overhead in Web Apps. In case of Native Apps, each Platform’s feature updates would be a nightmare to handle for all the Apps we have developed, in terms of cost . We need developers catered to all platforms and they have to be updated with each update to SDK.

But on the downside to Web App development, at least for now we have the following:

Advantages of Native App development:

1. Native platforms allow the application running on it to use the the phone’s features (Address book) hardware features(Camera). And as user every one find native app to be more appealing.

2. And another advantage native apps have over web apps is performance. But the scenario is changing in favor of web apps with the HTML5. But lets see, how HTML5 changes the scenario.

3. If you have site that entertains (a Game)user and you wanted to make it available for Mobiles, then the ultimate winner is Native Apps.

4. Real time alerts and Notifications works in advantage of Native Applications and this can make a big difference in user experience. This is where Web Apps completely fail. But this too is going to change with W3C’s formation of WebNotification Group.

But once the Data access is ubiquitous, as is now the case with the Desktops, and along with the HTML5 rise, the advantage of Native Apps would erode .

Finally it all depends on the nature of the Application and Audience you target.

  1. Hi Krishnan,

    What are your thoughts on web app frameworks like Sencha Touch that seek to give a native app feel to the app?

    – Sriram

    • Sencha Touch , JQTouch are mainly aimed towards iOS, Android web kit browsers. The learning curve for Sencha could be bit higher because of the it being based not-so-much used EXT-JS frameowrk. At lease I have not used it.

      The developer support my friends had with Sencha was terrible , but back then Sencha was in beta and that is something which happens with any new platform.

      JQuery Mobile seems to be gaining more attention from developers and People involved in it are planning to support mostly all the Mobiles which is not being the case with Sencha and JQTouch.

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