In defence of web-apps

This is an interesting perspective on development of apps:

I replaced my native iOS app with a cross platform web app and no-one noticed | by Chris Nielsen | May, 2022 | Medium

The variety and maturity of development tools for web apps has also increased. Now we have React and Typescript. The IDEs and Chrome debugger are light years ahead of the native equivalents. There are innovative design patterns and open source libraries for every conceivable purpose. The world of JavaScript is simply far more vibrant and alive than the worlds of Swift or Kotlin.

I can testify to it – my first application on BlackBerry 10 was “browser-based”. I had specifically chosen it because BlackBerry had a compelling implementation of WebKit (that “powers” Safari). Chrome (and Firefox) were leap years BEHIND. As such, I focused on the “speed” of its launch, its responsive design, and the ability to push updates to content in no-time. The content did not need refactoring or course through the App Store. However, BlackBerry 10 then announced its end-of-life, and I couldn’t find any other developer who shared my ideas around having browser based implementation.

Fast forward to 2022, and I get to see “progressive-web-applications”, which is another wording for the applications running in the web browser itself and utilising its core components to push notifications or other browser events. It saves time- you can add any specific website on the home screen and devices have become capable enough to handle these changes. Apple, is holding back “browser-innovation” because then it will hurt it’s App Store business. For all others, it is instructive to focus on the PWA route alone. I’d rather spend more on UI/UX and improve design templates to garner better usability than spend time (and effort) to deal with the opaque App Store policies (which can change anytime).

Here’s more:

The cost/benefit tradeoff for cross platform web apps has always been about trading worse performance in exchange for less development time. In 2014 for most apps, that was a bad tradeoff. But in the past 8 years, a lot has changed. Browser performance has steadily increased:

There’s benefit in efficiency.

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