Will Apps Be Replaced by High Quality HTML5 Websites?

January 9, 2019 by Mobile Beat

Is the age of the native app / dedicated software coming to a close? Will all software be simply available to use just via Chrome or Firefox some day? If you use Serato, Traktor Pro 3, or even Traktor DJ on your iPhone, you might think “that’s impossible.” However, if you take a look at some of the advanced web apps available through the browser these days in other industries, such as Canva, you might in fact change your opinion – that anything could be possible.

With the advent of HTML5, developers have been blessed with greater access to input and output hardware devices, such as through the Web Audio API. What does this mean? Well, it means that web apps can do (almost) anything dedicated software can do.

How do people use their apps?

You have your apps that you always use, reliable ones that you need often: Gmail, Uber, Snapchat, WhatsApp… and then you have those apps that fall away and either sit idle or get uninstalled. In fact, 80% of mobile apps become unused within 3 months. That must be a hard pill to swallow for app creators, especially if they’ve poured plenty of funds and time into development. The same goes with desktop apps. If it’s not a great product that you need on a semi-regular basis, it’ll go forgotten and unloved.

However, the browser? People are always going to use the browser. The technology is already sitting there, and companies don’t even need to convince you to download anything to use a web app – it’s good to go as is.

Apps on mobile vs. desktop

There are big differences between apps on mobile vs apps on desktop. Desktop applications can be far more powerful, with access to plenty of resources, supported by a complex operating system environment. Even though we’re up to iOS12 and the A12 Bionic processor with no less than 6 CPUs and 4 GPUs on the iPhone XS, you’ll have to remember that all mobile technology is still far less powerful than most mid-range computers or laptops – it has to fit in your palm, after all.

What this means is that apps on mobile can’t be anywhere near as powerful as an app (software) downloaded on your computer.

Just as mobile technologies and operating systems advance, so too do the desktop versions. And like this evolution of technology, the apps built for each take advantage of the latest advancements in each. A well-built, regularly updated software for desktop will (for the foreseeable future) outperform a well-built, regularly updated app for mobile – simply because of the technology it relies on.

Web apps via the browser on mobile vs. desktop

There are a number of differences between accessing the browser-based web apps on desktop versus accessing them on a phone:

  • Screen size – larger screen size for desktop, small for mobile
  • Orientation – default for desktop is landscape, default for mobile is portrait
  • Input – default for desktop is fine mouse and keyboard, default for mobile is larger fingertip and slow typing
  • Processor speed – client-side is fast for desktop, slow for mobile

The main difference to remember with accessing web apps on the browser is the processor speed. Whereas you can assign tasks to be processed client-side on desktop and expect them to be completed quickly, the same isn’t necessarily true on mobile devices.

Responsive web app design (or developing 2 web apps – one for desktop and one for mobile) will need to be practiced to build a browser-based app both for desktop and mobile. Web apps specifically designed for desktop use don’t just work as you’d expect on mobile.

App store hoops to jump through

If we’re talking about mobile apps, then they need to be put through the rigours of App Store acceptance before they even have a chance to reach the end user.

With browser-based HTML5 apps, no such hoops exist – the app is simply released on the web and people can use it if they wish. Take, for instance, casino apps. Casino apps are difficult to release because of differences in rules for the App Store across different regions. Applying and conforming across different regions can be a nightmare.

Instead, the makers of such games developed an easier solution. All of these no deposit casinos are HTML5 based website and do not bother with the task of building and maintaining an app.

The browser and security

Building apps means building in security measures so that data cannot be easily stolen and the apps can’t get easily hacked. This is often a hard task to do – which must be done for App Store compliance in many cases, plus the app makers risk their reputation being ruined if they don’t configure the app right.

While security needs to be built into web apps, too, browser-based security is mature, so more easily configured if developers use the right tools and techniques. This can lead to greater risk reduction for web app development for HTML5.

Cross-platform compatibility

In terms of cross-platform development for the browser versus native development of apps, this is a no brainer. HTML5 via the browser simply works across all devices. With app or software development, different versions of the software may need to be developed for different platforms (Android, Windows, iOS, OSX, Linux).

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This is the general editors account for Mobile Beat Magazine and Website. Who reads Mobile Beat online and in print and attends Mobile Beat events? DJs, VJs and KJs to start with, especially those who own and operate mobile entertainment services. They provide music, video, lighting and a myriad other entertainment choices for corporate events, wedding receptions, dances and innumerable other gatherings.

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