Why The War Between Native And Web Apps Is A Myth

Want to develop for mobile? Conventional wisdom holds that you have two basic choices: a native app (works well but needs lots of resources) and web apps (work everywhere but can’t use platform features). The reality is less elegant.

Lifehacker’s coverage of Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit 2014 is presented by the Microsoft Cloud, providing flexible enterprise cloud solutions for business.

At last week’s Gartner PCC conference, analyst Gene Phifer highlighted that the choice of how to develop a mobile app isn’t an absolute: it varies depending on what you need to do. “For certain types of apps, native is not appropriate. If I’m writing a game, I’m going to write native.” In some cases, a hybrid approach mixing HTML5 with native code will work best.

Gartner suggests that by 2015, this is the likely proportion of apps using each approach:

  Native Hybrid Web
Consumer 40% 40% 20%
Enterprise 10% 60% 30%

The point here is that no one solution works for everyone — and that standards are rarely going to be the answer in the short term. “The fact that the web standards lag tells me there’s going to be something else there to close that gap, and hybrid right now is a great way to do it,” Phifer said.

Mobile apps picture from Shutterstock

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