Web apps and Mobile apps? What’s better?

 Photo by Julian O’hayon on Unsplash

Author: Kaitlyn hogg 

For a few years now there has been a great deal of back and forth between apps from the app store aka native apps and web apps, this is undoubtedly forced by tech giants and trends in the industry but as we all shift more and more over to cloud-based solutions, web apps are becoming more and more accepted, interactive and in high demand.

Why? Don’t they do the same thing?

It is a common misconception that both native apps and web apps are doing the same things, this couldn’t be further from the truth!!

OK, let’s break them down…

Straightforwardly, a web app is a website from your internet browser that is designed to respond to being viewed on a smartphone or any other device. They function like mobile apps but without the huge price tag and all from the comfort of any device browser, as they do not need to be downloaded or installed and are given the same branding guidelines to native apps, so they look similar. 

Web apps are interactive computer programmes, built with web technologies (HTML, CSS, JS), which stores (Database, Files) and manipulates data (CRUD), and is used by a team or single user to perform tasks over the internet.

Wep apps update automatically, which is most advantageous for several reasons:

  1. Saves time to allow you to be more productive
  2. Provides a friendly and familiar interface
  3. Provides flexibility as you can access anywhere and at any time
  4. Can provide built-in chatbots, help and support 
  5. Can save money not only in the app store but also on hardware
  6. Mobile Web Apps can also work Offline and use much of the functionality of a device e.g. camera or sound.

What is a mobile app? 

A mobile app (commonly known as apps within the Playstore and Istore) are applications that are designed to be used on mobile-type devices (including smartwatches and tablets) – they usually provide the same functionality when used when accessed by PCs or laptops. However, mobile apps are downloaded and installed through an app store, being given access to system resources, such as the camera function and location services, it can be said that mobile apps live and function from the device itself.

Native mobile apps are built using specific languages and Integrated Development Environments (IDE), depending on the intended platform. Apple devices run on the iOS native operating system, so Apple apps are built using either Objective-C or Swift, and the Xcode IDE. Native apps for Android are written in Java and are commonly built using the Android Studio or Eclipse IDE.

So, what’s the differences, benefits and disadvantages between them?

The benefits and disadvantages of a web application

Benefits:

  • Do not need to be downloaded or installed
  • Easy to maintain as they have a common codebase
  • Update themselves
  • Quicker/easier and cheaper to build than mobile applications
  • They can fold in change, agility and innovation instantly
  • They do not have the same long timeline for development and upgrades
  • Saves time to allow you to be more productive
  • Provides a friendly and familiar interface
  • Provides flexibility as you can access anywhere and at any time
  • Can provide built-in chatbots, help and support 
  • Can save money not only in the app store but also on hardware

Disadvantages:

  • Many companies do not realise this option is available

The benefits and disadvantages of mobile applications 

Benefits:

  • Possible additional functionality (due to access to system resources)
  • Can work offline but often don’t
  • Safe/secure (they have to be approved by app stores)

Disadvantages:

  • More expensive to build 
  • Compatibility with different platforms (i.e. Android and IOS)  means designing and building the app from scratch to accommodate both platforms 
  • Expensive to maintain and update

OB’s conclusion

Increased usage of internet platforms between individuals and organisations has impacted the way of business significantly over the past few years. The use of web apps have shifted companies from traditional websites to cloud-based models, giving them the ability to streamline operations, increase productivity and efficiency, as well as reduce costs (much like Openbrolly!

At Openbrolly, we’ve always been firm supporters of web apps, the freedom they provide, along with the ease and simplicity of access. It doesn’t matter if we are working from home, on the train or in a remote location, our infrastructure remains robust and accessible.

Fun facts

You can bookmark a web app/website and save it to the home screen on any device which will give the impression of an app. Web browsers develop all the time with new functionality, in an app you may have to pay for the same development or get left behind. According to Google, starting with the latest Chrome beta, Progressive Web Apps will now appear in the app drawer section of the launcher and in Android Settings, and will be able to interact with other installed apps through intents – a way to deep link directly to a specific part of a web app. Moreover long presses on notifications for Progressive Web Apps will also reveal the normal Android notification management controls rather than the notification management controls for Chrome.

You are more likely to forget a username and your password then an email address and password. Studies have shown that using a string that people are more likely to remember, like an email address, reduces the chance of the user forgetting their login details even further. The convention for a web site’s username to take the form of an email address nominated by the user is becoming more and more established. Don’t forget no matter the device you’re on you can “remember me” or “save my password” for a webapp, saving you time and hassle remembering.

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