Mattias Rost

Researcher and Coder

How to choose between web and native

Posted on 2011-09-29

Forbes has an article on how to choose between mobile web and native apps. It has a simple overview of pros and cons of the two, and what intermediate versions there are. Their claim is that it is more complicated than two ends of a spectrum, but you can choose in between. Most interestingly is what they name a dedicated web app

Dedicated web app, which is a mobile web site tailored to a specific platform or form factor, like the LinkedIn web app which was designed for Android and iOS, but not for other smartphones or feature phones.

as opposed to a generic mobile app "which are mobile web sites designed to match every web-enabled phone, like the Wikipedia mobile page.". I have definitely gone for the dedicated web app more times than the generic mobile web app.

I agree in principle with their end points, which state that you should build whatever solution you decide on, on the data. Create an API for the data, and build the app to use the API. This is really just good development style, but can definitely help when building mobile (web) apps if you need to try different solutions later on. As some people advocate "web first, native second" (e.g. this guy), having the API and data in place, you have laid the ground work.