Why should you bother?
So here’s the real deal: Native Apps have straight access to the Operational System. Web Apps talk to the browser which then talks to the O.S. As simple as this sounds, this makes a world of difference. This can make everything slower, so at least in the Performance realm, there’s no arguing: you’re better off using a Native App.
But you already knew that, didn’t you? So we’re to talk about other important considerations. Although Developers and Engineers will always love speed, business wise there are other things that need to be taken care of. You know, small little things like costs.
What to take into consideration?
- 01. Performance
- 02. Costs
- 03. Human Resources
- 04. Development Speed
- 05. Maintenance
Web Apps have their place
Well, first and foremost, a Web App will obviously run in whichever platform the user has. That’s a huge plus. You might prevent the need for an extra co-founder in your business if you do all the programming using Web Technologies.
You could also do that if you’re planning on programming exclusively for the iOS platform. And ignore over 80% of the SmartPhone market.
You could also do that if you’re planning on having an extensive knowledge in both iOS and Android. And ignoring friends, family and basic human needs for the rest of your life. (I’m kidding. Maybe.)
Web Apps for Prototyping
Lean Startup and Agile Design are all the rage nowadays. The idea is not to “throw money at a problem”. Build an MVP, Measure its success and acceptance, (Watch it fail or partially succeed), Learn from it and repeat the process continuously.
Build. Measure. Learn.
Web Apps can beautifully be used to do that. Granted, you can also do that within the somewhat limited world of iPhone users as well. We’re not saying Web Apps are the only option, we’re just saying they might be a good option for many companies.
Think about it: you’ll need a website, it can be either a company website or a web application in and of itself. Then you will need to do the iOS App Development and the Android App Development. Why not have one technology stack doing everything?
Web Apps versus Native Apps
Native Apps are faster and have many other advantages, even business wise.
For starters, consider that a Native App will have its own place in the App Store. And if the user likes your software enough, you will get a permanent place in their screen. Talk about Branding…
Native Apps also have access to the Smartphone’s Contacts and Calendars, besides having secure Offline storage.
Oh, and yes, the system wide Notifications are only available to native apps…
The tradeoff, as aforementioned, is that you need very specific knowledge. Not the only programming languages but also frameworks and libraries that comes with many capabilities.
Eventually, when the business grows, you might not have an option and move to a Native solution. But to keep thing simple in the beginning, Web Apps might be an interesting choice, specially if you already have the expertise within your team and not a lot of budget.
The final decision should come with the user’s behavior. Are they willing to dedicate a slot on their smartphone for your app’s icon? If so, go native.