While the native versus mobile web apps debate continues to rage, one thing is for sure: mobile browsers are going to get a lot more capable, and that means there will be more development of mobile web apps.
Developers of mobile web apps will face numerous challenges, from performance to monetization. But one challenge stands out perhaps more than the rest: building an app that functions and looks good across multiple devices.
Flash might not be dead, but Adobe is acting like it knows it's past its prime.
Case in point: the company ditched Flash for mobile late last year, and is increasingly hedging its bets with investments in standards-based web technologies like HTML5.
Native mobile apps may still be the best way to deliver mobile applications that provide rich, enjoyable experiences, but there is a place for the mobile web, and in many cases, it is increasingly promising.
Technically, however, many challenges remain. The number of mobile devices and platforms grows by the day, and capabilities often differ significantly.
Last week, Adobe announced that it is abandoning Flash for mobiles and Flash for televisions.
It was a significant announcement that raised a lot of eyebrows, and led
some to question whether the end of Flash is near. One of Apple's
biggest fanboys even went so far as to declare the company's retreat
from mobile Steve Jobs' last triumph.
Adobe is expected to cease development of Flash Player for browsers on mobiles devices.
A blog post from the company outlined plans to focus on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all major app stores.
If designers thought they had it bad having to deal with multiple browsers, the past several years have made it clear: IE6 is a walk in the park.
Today, thanks to the rise of smart phones and tablets, designers are tasked with designing across a wide range of devices, many with different form factors, platform capabilities and hardware profiles.
The future is mobile, so not surprisingly, when it comes to building sites designed for mobile and tablet devices, many companies think of their web experience and mobile/tablet experience as separate entities.
That can be painful and costly, but a result of this could be that companies gain insights that allow them to improve the experiences they create for their users and customers.
HTML5 is coming. For some, it won't come soon enough; for others, there's still skepticism about HTML5's importance.
For front-end developers and designers who are tasked with building websites, HTML5 will eventually almost certainly have a significant impact on the process of turning ideas and designs into functional web pages.
I can’t wait until
2023. The HTML5 specification will finally be complete and all browser-makers
will know precisely what it is and it can be uniformly implemented.
Until then, things are going to be a little… rocky.
The noughties have been a good to the world of the web. Open standards and a philosophy of interoperability have led to widespread adoption of several languages which offer power without proprietary limits.
When it comes to tablets, traditional publishers have a dilemma: the numbers make it clear that the money is currently in native apps, but for publishers struggling to survive, giving up 30% of revenue to Apple, along with valuable subscriber data, is a tough pill to swallow.
So many publishers are trying to have their cake and eat it too. How? By building web apps that look and feel like native apps.