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Web Apps or Native Apps?

Web Apps or Native Apps?

Webmonkey recently published a nice article that compares native apps and web apps. What are your thoughts? If you had to pick one, which would you choose?

The IssuesNative AppsWeb Apps
Internet accessNot requiredRequired, except for rare apps with offline capability
Installation/updatesMust be deployed or downloadedHit refresh
User interfaceNative apps are responsive and functionalBrowsers can be clunky, but new advancements in JavaScript like jQuery Mobile are catching up fast
Device compatibilityPlatform-dependent, hardware-dependentPlatform-agnostic, content can be reformatted with CSS to suit any device
Animation/GraphicsFast and responsiveWeb apps are getting closer, but will probably always lag
Streaming mediaFew problems with audio and video. Flash works, but only if the device supports itFlash works where supported. Browser-based audio and video are getting there, but still beset by compatibility headaches. Give it a year or two
FontsTight control over typefaces, layoutAlmost on par, thanks to advancements in web standards. Give it six months
Is my content searchable?Not on the webBy default
Sharable/Tweetable?Only if you build it inWeb links are shared freely. Social APIs and widgets allow easy one-click posting
Discussion and collaborationOnly if you build it, and it’s more difficult if data is disparateDiscussion is easy, all data is stored on a server
Access to hardware sensorsYes, all of them: camera, gyroscope, microphone, compass, accelerometer, GPSAccess through the browser is limited, though geolocation is common
DevelopmentSpecific tools required for some platforms (like Apple’s). You have to build a new app for each target platformWrite once, publish once, view it anywhere. Multiple tools and libraries to choose from
Can I sell it?Charge whatever you want. Most app distributors take a slice, up to 30%Advertising is tolerated, subscriptions and paywalls less so. No distribution costs beyond server fees
DistributionMost app stores require approval. And you gotta waitNo such hassle
Outside access to your contentNo, the reader must download your appYep, just click a link
AdvertisingControl over design (though limited in iAds) and rateMore choices for design, plus access to web analytics. Rates vary widely

Chris Delvizis
National Instruments
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Re: Web Apps or Native Apps?

The native if you need more resources and the web on other cases.

Luiz Carlos Maia Junior
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