Web technology in native apps

November 20, 2011

When discussing mobile apps, we’re often asked, “native or HTML5”? For some products it really makes sense to build a mobile web site, for others a 100% native app is the best approach. What often surprises people is when we recommend some of each. Once you’ve made the call to distribute using the App Store, you have both technologies at your disposal and should build each part of your app using the best tool.

Buzz Andersen, a longtime Objective-C developer, has a good example in  his post about dogmatic Native vs. Web arguments:

To me, one of the textbook examples of something the web is made for but is practically rocket science on iOS is text rendering. While users are accustomed to thinking of iOS apps as exceptionally beautiful and visually sophisticated, UIKit’s text rendering capabilities turn out to be frustratingly primitive, making it quite a challenge for even expert iOS developers to match the advanced page layout and text formatting capabilities of web browsers.

The point is that although ignoring the great strengths of native code can lead to an inferior app, ignoring the great strengths of Webkit can also lead to an inferior app. Dogma doesn’t help build wonderful products - choosing the right tools does.

© Allen Pike. See also Twitter and Steamclock.