What should you be using to Build your Apps?
With the rise of mobile comes the increased need for mobile apps and with the rise of mobile apps comes the debate on how to build them. Right now the battle is between HTML5 and Native apps. There are many benefits and downfalls to both, but it looks like it will depend on timing.
Many different people have weighed in on this conversation trying to steer people one way or the other, but I feel that one will simply replace the other. As of right now building Native apps is the only way to go based on just a few main points – User experience / Monetization / Accessibility.
- User experience is one of the most important aspects of building an app and right now Native apps are winning this battle. When building a native app you allow yourself to be able to build a better customized experience for your user base. Yes, you have to build individual apps for various operating systems, but you are also not limited to restrictions set by lesser mobile operating systems.
- Monetization is also one of the top important aspects when building an app so that app developers can actually create an operating business with a revenue flow. With Native apps you easily able to add, and change prices on apps as well as add advertising. Most people are also now comfortable with these two revenue approaches.
- Finally, your app needs to be able to be accessed very easily by the general public. With the current app stores people can just search for you application right on their phone. People have been "trained" to access their individual app stores for the latest apps.
Now this is not to say that HTML5 doesn't have any benefits or chance in the future...because it does! Even right now HTML5 has some benefits that elude Native apps – Cost Efficiency / Developer Time / Setting up for the Future.
- When it comes to building apps it can get really expensive, especially if you have to build multiple apps (which most people have to do). Each app has to be built differently depending on which OS you are building it for. This is not the case for HTML5. With HTML5 you build one app and it works across all mobile platforms and current web browsers which saves you a ton of money.
- Not only does it save you money, but only having to build one app saves a ton of time for the developers. This means in the time it takes you to just build one of your apps, the HTML5 developer would have his app accessible to all mobile platforms. Not only would this free up a lot of development time, but also saves time when making updates and bug fixes.
- Plus, the way the current web browsers are moving it seems that HTML5 will win out soon on the web and will become more common method for building for mobile apps. This means that at some point you will want to switch over your Native apps into HTML5. If you just build in HTML5 then you are setting yourself up for the future on a platform that will only increase its functionality and features.
So for me it is just a matter of timing. Right now the best is Native, but we will slowly see a shift over the upcoming year or so to HTML5. I believe that it is best to provide your user base with the best and that right now is Native apps. Some may disagree as they have already started building in HTML5, but this debate is far from over and I can't wait to see all the twist and turns ahead.
Zagat Mobile Apps image courtesy of Robert Scoble, Flickr.