Different types of applications provide different experiences for the user, through different UIs and content delivery. However, as mobile continues to be the flavor of the month, businesses of all sizes must determine what works best for them. Does the flexibility that HTML 5 web-based applications offer through the comfort of adaptable mobile browsers provide the required levels of richness in the user experience? Or do business users prefer the fidelity and security of using a native application that can optimize the way content is presented, depending on the device?
What’s becoming increasingly clear is that many businesses aren’t sure which method can provide users with the best experience until they are already developing their applications. Some will make the decision to go with an HTML 5-based application, based on factors such as cost and time, only to realize further down the line that a native application will suit their business needs much better.
Perhaps the best answer to this developer dilemma is to ensure a ‘faster time to value’ for developers by allowing them to create applications and test them on their own individual merits in a way that is platform and device agnostic. By embracing platforms that allow them to write the application once, but run anywhere, developers can also concentrate more on end-user benefits. This will also allow greater emphasis on more qualitative aspects of the development process, allowing developers more bandwidth to iron out any tweaks or bugs, instead having to worry about the distraction of how the application will be coded for different platforms. As a direct result, we’ll not only see better business applications, but also increased reliability and greater end-user satisfaction.
Clearly, native, device-ecosystem specific APIs will always provide the highest possible fidelity for users. However, perhaps the question of whether they are more effective than web-based applications misses the point. Instead of weighing the cost of fragmented, highly specialized skills that could lock them into a specific vendor platform, developers might take a step back and look for a broader solution. The ability to offer applications across multiple platforms, and only write it once should not be treated as the lowest common denominator, and could hold the key to enhancing the application experience for developers and end-users alike.