HTML5 vs Native Apps
Today we see Smartphones and Tablets everywhere in impressive numbers. IOS and Android based devices now exceed ‘x’ billion installs. Each one boasts an app ecosystem supporting over ‘y’ million apps. Their rapid growth as platforms and the apps ecosystem has led to questions about the Web and its relevance. Fear not, the web is here to stay. The mobile web is growing too, less rapidly but still quite impressively.
But is it a fair comparison. The role of HTML5 is to improve upon the existing markup for the web and extend its capabilities. The web is an open platform on which you can do anything you like. The smartphone or tablet are just another viewport looking into entities built on top of the web.
The role of Native Apps is to extend the capabilities of the platform on which they exist, be it IOS or Android or even Windows. They are platform centric and deeply integrated with their base platform. This makes them fast, rich and comprehensive. HTML5 cannot match them and should not. With HTML5, you are looking through your device at a device neutral 2nd platform.
It’s not versus, it’s together
See how the models best complement and use accordingly. Same situation as the desktop + web paradigm earlier, now its desktop + web + mobile paradigm. Notice the web’s central location, it is the one that strides all.
How together ?
HTML5 – Make your web presence smartphone friendly. Use as a marketing channel for your web properties across devices. Use as an entry point for searchers to your apps, content, offers, transactions.
Native Apps – customize user experience as per the platform … look at rich user experiences, look at monetization.
HTML in general and HTML5 in particular is the largest platform available. Desktop platforms extend into the web through the browsers, mobile extends into the web through mobile browsers. The web is the glue that holds all together.
HTML5 need not be a replacement or competitor to native apps. The native apps serve a different purpose and yet app developers need to face the issue of fragmentation and development overhead.
What is needed is a seamless transition between Apps and the mobile web for users. Apps fill a gap that HTML5 need not close. But both need to embrace each other.
One Fundamental Difference
The App ecosystem is not limited by the number of apps or ideas but by your phone’s limitations. The web ecosystem is also not limited by the number of web properties but is also free of your phone’s limitations.