Native Mobile vs Web Applications

I know that there has been a lot of discussion about this very thing, and a lot of people have strong opinions. Personally, I think it’s a matter of usability – if you can create a web app that performs just as well as a native app, then why not? It saves you the time of having to recreate it for every mobile OS.

There are obviously circumstances where developing the app natively is the way to go – for example, if you’re creating a game, or something else that’s heavy on resources, there is no point in having that extra layer. This is not to say that the JavaScript rendering engine on your mobile OS isn’t powerful enough (webkit in most cases), but it’s not quite as fast as going native (yet).

So how’s the future looking? Well, in my opinion, we’re moving into an age where we’ll be able to create web applications using HTML5/JavaScript to do pretty much anything that a stand-alone app used to do. I mean, look at Google – they have an arsenal of amazing web apps, and their goal is to replace the need for stand alone applications. Why install Microsoft Word when you can just use an online version of it which does the same thing – all powered using HTML5/JavaScript and the beauty of AJAX.

This is exactly the same direction that mobile is moving. There will be a point where phones will be fast enough, and webkit will be efficient enough to process resource heavy web apps and not even hick-up. Have you heard of the new WebGL? Well, it’s pretty much a stripped down version of OpenGL, which will be utilized by HTML5/JavaScript. Once that’s fully integrated in the modern browsers and mobile browsers alike, that will open the doors for creating web based games which can be rendered/played on mobile devices – pretty sweet eh?

Well that’s my rant for the day.

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