HTML and CSS Reference
Choosing Web Apps Over Native Apps
For any developer with dreams of creating a new app, one of the first considerations that must be taken is the choice
of platform: should this app be web-based with mobile considerations or should it be iPhone-only? Is there an
audience to support a BlackBerry version of the app, or will most people use this app only on their laptops?
This chapter aims to cover some of the factors that you should consider when answering the “web or native
app?” question. We'll then answer this question in the context of the question-and-answer app that will be built
throughout the rest of this topic.
Why Does It Matter?
At first glance, it might seem as if this decision is a trivial one that doesn't merit a lot of thought. This decision,
however, will impact everything from how your app is coded (obviously) to how you monetize the app (less
obviously), to how maintenance is handled.
Over the following pages, we'll explore the pros and cons of both web and native apps and then we'll apply the
good and bad of both within the context of the app we're going to build, which should help us make an intelligent
decision about which path is best for our situation.
■ Every app is different, and most ideas have more than one effective method of execution. The decisions and
opinions in this chapter are the result of the authors' cumulative experience, biases, and preferences, and—while they
may not be exactly in line with your own ideas—are one way to create a simple and effective application.
Factors to Consider
Depending on what you are building, there will be a number of factors you'll need to consider when deciding whether
your application should use native or web technologies. However, some factors can be applied generically to all
applications. We'll cover some of those here.