HTML5 Or Native Mobile Apps: Which is the way to go?

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Today, MG Siegler ranted about as to why native mobile app development is better than developing HTML5 web apps. I strongly disagree with his point of view. Besides technical reasons, the question if to develop a native (say iOS) or HTML5 app is much more about culture, speed and agility of development. Sure, native apps will provide a richer experience at the first glimpse but there isn’t really all that much you can’t do with HTML5 nowadays.

The really important point, however is that in the long run native apps mean PC client development (admittedly a little more beautiful though …) all over again. One of the reasons why web development was so tremendously successful since the mid-nineties is that you didn’t have to develop and ship for various platforms anymore. The browser basically was the only platform left and you suddenly could constantly ship new versions of your applications that were instantly available for each user.

App store approval processes, especially the more restrictive ones implemented by Apple keep you from sticking to agile development practices (release early, release often …).

So, while there certainly is quite some benefit in native mobile apps, they’re by no means a one-size-fits-all solution.

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