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Friday, July 18, 2008

Great article on Web vs. Native mobile apps

I'd heartily recommend reading this post by David Wood (of Symbian, so not exactly unbiased, but very even-handed on this topic). It looks at the very hot topic of whether mobile app development will avoid the headaches of fragmentation and operator lock-downs, and just migrate to the Web and cool AJAX-type tools instead.

My view is similar to David's - for many applications, Mobile Web will be the way to go, for ease of development, cross-platform support, rapid update and so on.

But for some the most important and demanding applications, there will still be a need for native development, even if it comes with a dose of pain.

The same is true on the PC - most things work fine in the browser. But for Skype or anti-virus or serious corporate applications, there's advantages to being able to write the most efficient, powerful, complex code to the native platform if you're capable of doing so.

I'm sure the balance between outright optimisation and convenience will shift over time, and across different application categories and networks. But there isn't "one answer", and developers and service providers will need to work out ways to blend the two paradigms.


CEO said...

Thanks for the pointer...

"Mobile Web will be the way to go, for ease of development, cross-platform support, rapid update and so on."

Yes, definitely; those are the benefits of SaaS, for mobile, desktop and other...


Unknown said...

I tried to help designers and business people figure out which way to go in a presentation last year: Going Mobile: How to Choose Target Devices and Platforms

mac said...

I think that Mobile Web as a solution to avoid fragmentation issues is a fallacy. Actually, you will have to deal with a large number of web runtimes and browsers and versions of them. You will change the OS mess for the web runtime mess.

Think about the current mobile browser space. It is almost impossible to render a web page in two different browsers with the same result. Wouldn't it be the same with web runtimes?

Think about Java for mobile devices. The fallacy of "write once run everywhere", everything based on standards. At the end you have to develop a version of a Java program for each mobile device.