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Mobile Applications: Web or Native App?

Ed Trembicki-Guy

Joined: Mar 19, 2003
Posts: 7
I have no experience developing applications for mobile devices, and I would like to know what criteria about an application or its target audience favor development as a web-based application in a mobile browser, vs. development as a native app or vice versa?
I'm imagining either multiple development environments for native apps (andriod, iPhone, etc.) vs. javascript with lots of case statements for the different platforms and mobile browsers.

The things I did not know at first I learned by doing twice. -Billy Joel
Eric Pascarello

Joined: Nov 08, 2001
Posts: 15385
What it comes down to in reality is performance. You will get better performance with a native app than you will with an HTML5 application.

For HTML app between mobile devices, it is not that bad, just have the usual browser quirks that a lot of the mobile frameworks help to avoid.

Phil Dutson

Joined: Mar 31, 2013
Posts: 9
Hi Ed,

Honestly it depends a lot on what you want to accomplish and how you plan on handling it. As Eric mentioned performance matters, a lot. If you application is 3D intensive you will probably want to stick with native development and include support for OpenGL or frameworks like Unity.

If you have a fairly simple web application that is mostly passing data back and forth (news aggregation, database management, etc.) then using a framework such as jQuery Mobile, Sencha, or even some cross-over frameworks such as PhoneGap/Cordoba or Titanium Accelerator may be what you are looking for. LinkedIn prides itself on it's web-based application.

While I haven't played with iOS in a while, I can tell you that Android will let you add support for passing methods back and forth in WebViews (triggering native bits of code from JavaScript on a page).

This is a fairly hot topic in the enterprise world. IBM is currently working WorkLight, which is an application platform that helps you build hybrid mobile applications. You can download and play with it for free (I think you have to register to get the download, but it is still probably worth playing with, especially if you like the Dojo JavaScript framework).

Hope my two-cents help.

[My LiveLessons]
Ed Trembicki-Guy

Joined: Mar 19, 2003
Posts: 7
Thanks Phil, this is most helpful.

I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Mobile Applications: Web or Native App?
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