History Repeating: Native vs. Web on Mobile

The web vs native on mobile is still a thing. John Gruber of Daring Fireball writes in response to an article in Wired quoting VC Marc Andreessen:

Andreessen does have a solid point in the fact that app stores are in some ways a pain in the ass — particularly Apple’s App Store, with its deliberative and at times opaque approval process. But app stores are mostly only a pain in the ass for developers, not users. Installing and especially updating apps through app stores is obvious and easy for all of the modern mobile platforms. And even for developers, there are aspects that are superior. With paid apps, for example, the apps store model is a win. The user taps a “Buy” button and enters their password, and boom, they’ve bought the app. Web apps can’t do that. (Paid apps are not of much interest to venture capitalists such as Andreessen.)

Indeed, paying for web apps today is not as easy as paying for apps in an app store. Perhaps Google or Mozilla will change this in the future, perhaps “free” is just the way to go. However, let’s not pretend that App Stores are perfect for users.

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Mobile Web Browsers Wars: iOS vs. Android

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iOS 5 will be featuring a few new features that enable a better user-experience for web applications. Great news for those rooting for mobile web apps. Matteo Spinelli (creator of iScroll) even claims that web apps are now completely ready to replace native apps on iOS:

The real revolution might be iOS5. In the first beta they revealed overflow:scroll and position:fixed, while the second beta seems to unleash the devastatingly cool -webkit-overflow-scrolling:touch CSS property.

With -webkit-overflow-scrolling:touch you can finally have native scrollview inside your web app and together with webGL there’s no reason on Earth to go Object-C (I’m over-exaggerating, don’t flame).

As it is already happening for Mac Apps you may decide to publish your future iOS apps on the Apple Store, or release them on your website, or take advantage of the two worlds and follow both paths.

I envision a future where 90% of the native apps are just webview wrappers (as it is already happening thanks to Phonegap). Continue Reading

Are Web Apps An Insult To Users?

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Web apps vs. native apps for mobile — this appears to be what everybody is talking about these days.

I think native apps currently provide the best user experience, don’t you? As a user, given the choice between a web app and native app, which one would you pick? Unless you signed your life away to the web browser, it’s likely going to be the native one. Continue Reading