“Native applications are catching up to Web applications”

This quote and excellent observation, comes from Aral Balkan and is from the new Smashing Book #3 (Which I also had the pleasure of reviewing).

I’m not going to go into a lengthy blog post about web vs. native, Aral does a good enough job at that, but this is an interesting way of seeing the current situation from another perspective: Native applications are now getting features like deeplinking, automatic app updates and can in many ways be built to behave more like the web. While on the other side, the web strives to behave more like native by getting more access to the device.

If we disregard Angry Birds, the most used app in the world is Facebook. And it’s a hybrid app. Clear evidence that picking the best of both worlds is the way to go? In many ways, it’s a compromise, but hey, isn’t everything we do a compromise?

Published by

Anders M. Andersen

Digital Project Manager and Front End Developer.

  • http://twitter.com/jonocosa José ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    I agree those two world are coming together, but i still think that webapps lake performance especially for 3d stuff.

  • http://twitter.com/subcide Steve Dennis

    “Clear evidence that picking the best of both worlds is the way to go?” Not exactly clear evidence. It’s a design problem and for Facebook’s particular use case, a hybrid approach was the best solution for flexibility, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for every app.

  • http://seanboone.net Sean Boone

    True dat. Running in circles lately deciding to do mobile specific sites or Native apps. Pros & cons for both, but a merge is inevitable. I believe Native apps have a handicap of being available and promoted in a centralized Store or Market. Mobile specific sites are going through growing pains of multiple mobile browser compatibility all the while you’ve got to open your browser and type in a URL to access the site/app you want. If websites built for mobile acted more like Apps that you can place in a dock that would be a huge win. Now that I think of it… maybe it’s Browsers that need to change the way they handle content.

  • http://amobil.se Anders M. Andersen

    Agree… There is only one thing that is clear really: There is not one solution for everyone… Facebook picked bits and pieces from both worlds. AngryBirds (worlds most popular app) also use both web and native, but in a completely different way (web for promotion and not as part of the main experience). I think it’s clear that we need both, and it’s going to be exiting to see how this stuff will be in a few years from now.

  • Bill_barnwell

    I envision the day when phone consist of just a dialer and a web browser. Html 5 and CSS3 will make it happen. Mark my words.

  • Greg

    But you can, go to any site and click add to home screen. The one thing that I think would be great is to be able to submit a responsive site to the app store and have it open without the browser. Most sites can do everything that a native app can do (take for example listing news posts, etc) and there is no need to develop a native app.

  • http://roadha.us/ haliphax

    WebGL is getting there…

  • http://amobil.se Anders M. Andersen

    On iOS you can define a website as “webapp” and open it without browser chrome, just the web view. http://developer.apple.com/library/ios/#DOCUMENTATION/AppleApplications/Reference/SafariWebContent/ConfiguringWebApplications/ConfiguringWebApplications.html

    There also exist web app stores, but not much official stuff yet, but maybe Chrome for Android will get an webapp store like they have on desktop?

  • http://amobil.se Anders M. Andersen

    On iOS you can define a website as “webapp” and open it without browser chrome, just the web view. http://developer.apple.com/library/ios/#DOCUMENTATION/AppleApplications/Reference/SafariWebContent/ConfiguringWebApplications/ConfiguringWebApplications.html

    There also exist web app stores, but not much official stuff yet, but maybe Chrome for Android will get an webapp store like they have on desktop?