Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Just How Mobile?

I'm sure you're familiar with the Native App vs. HTML5 debate. There's a lot to be said in that one. As a developer, I would much rather make a single HTML5 web app instead of native apps for both iOS and Android.

However, I know that such a course of action would very likely be a bad idea. Don't get me wrong, I love HTML5. But I've seen very few cases where an HTML5 solution is on par with a native app solution. There are some exceptions, and it very much depends on what your particular app is doing.

But HTML5 is getting better. I fully except that someday mobile apps will do things in mobile browsers that are quite impressive. That day is not today.

One place in particular that shows the mobile web's shortcomings is in games. There are many examples of good HTML5 games that are playable on the desktop browsers, but I have trouble finding good ones that play well on mobile browsers. Even very simple games just get awkward on mobile devices.

So if you decide to go native, you'll have to make apps for both iOS and Android. But what if you decide that your particular app is simple enough that you can do it in HTML5? You might want to consider making two web apps, one for desktop and one for mobile. Oh, "that's silly" you say. Everyone knows that you just use responsive design and make one web app.

Or do you?

I read this article, in which the author makes the case that your mobile use cases might be so different from your desktop use cases that it makes more sense to make a second web application just for mobile users. I'm certainly a big fan of understanding your requirements (and use cases) well before developing your software.

Here's the article. Give it a read.

Is responsive design killing mobile?

Think about it.

Amphibian.com comic for August 13, 2014