Web applications

 

When considering the development of a mobile application for your business, it is critical to contemplate the differences between native applications and web based applications.

The average mobile application consumes about 20MB of space, typically requires an internet connection in order to function, and requires several updates during its lifetime that can squander data.  What is interesting, is that many of these apps often have accompanying web applications that have the exact same functionality but require only 1/20th of the space.  Why then, are companies gravitating toward the production of of native applications?

 

When you purchase your mobile phone, many of the native applications come pre-installed, and it can be exceedingly difficult to remove them from your device.  Some of them, such as calculators, alarm clocks and sound recorders, have a singular and trivial function, but still have large file sizes and connection requirements.

 

While there are certainly some native applications that are engaging and entertaining, they often come with drawbacks.  From the development perspective, native applications are difficult to develop and are often challenging to get onto a mobile marketplace.  For the end user, these applications can be difficult to install because of bandwidth limitations, large file sizes and frequent, data heavy updates.

 

The solution to the issue of native applications is to simply house them on the internet.  All applications require an internet connection to work properly, so why not simply store them there and utilize the browser as the primary mechanism for functionality?  This is precisely what a web app does.  A web app relies exclusively on the capabilities of the browser in order to drive the functionality of the application, whereas a native mobile application relies on the capacities of the device.

 

The web app solves many of the native application problems that were articulated previously.  From the development perspective, web applications are much easier to build and many can be constructed utilizing only HTML, CSS and/or Javascript.  The web app also solves the problem of having to download the application from a marketplace.  Web apps reside in the browser, meaning that your end user can access them simply by going to the URL associated with your web application.  Since the web applications are not downloaded to the device, the end user will save space that can be utilized for other actions.   The fact that you need only a URL to access the app also makes the application easy to distribute and market.