One of the recurrent topics on which I have been getting a lot of questions recently is the opposition (or perceived opposition) between native applications and Web applications — particularly on mobile phones where applications stores have gathered so much attention.
I participated last month in a barcamp where we tried to explore the various differences between the development of an installable application based on the a “native” programming language, and an application that lives in the Web browser.
A white paper from a GIA analyst shows some of the reasons why some service and content providers choose native applications in preference to Web applications, according to a survey they made:
(the survey has plenty of other interesting results, e.g. on the higher retention rate of Web applications)
The top two reasons given are:
- Ability to build a superior user interface,
- Access to device hardware capabilities (e.g. accelerometer).
With the ongoing work in the HTML, CSS and SVG Working Groups, the Web is going to catch up quickly with the ability to build a superior user interface — and maybe even going to take the lead given the broad number of experimentations and sharing that the Web enables.
Native apps: bring it on!