When a programmer starts looking at mobile application development, one of the first questions that comes to mind is whether to go native versus Web technology.
"I don’t think there is going to be a clear winner in the native versus Web debate, but different workloads will trend toward one technology or the other," Jeffrey Hammond, the principal author of the Forrester report, told eWEEK. "For example, I still see most customer-facing apps written in native code, but I’m also seeing a lot of B2E business-to-employee apps written with a hybrid style or on top of middleware. Likewise, device-centric workloads tend toward native code, while multichannel services (e.g. social networking, content) are moving toward Web and a hybrid style."
Plus, it’s easier to find developers skilled in Web technologies rather than in native code. And the Web-standard technologies tend to be less of an intellectual property risk, potentially limiting exposure to lawsuits, the Forrester report said.
Perhaps the most recent example of a major player pushing Web technology as the way to go for mobile development is Mozilla, which on Feb. 23 announced that the Mozilla Marketplace would open for developers to submit Web apps at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. By building on open-Web technologies like HTML5 and Mozilla-proposed APIs, the Mozilla Marketplace will enable developers to write one app that runs across devices and platforms. As part of its mission to keep the Web open and put people in control of their Web experience, Mozilla is enabling users to buy apps once and use them on any HTML5-enabled device.
"We are enabling the Web to be the marketplace, giving developers the opportunity to play on the biggest playing field imaginable," said Todd Simpson, Mozilla’s chief of innovation, in a statement. "By building the missing pieces, Mozilla is now unlocking the potential of the Web to be the platform for creating and consuming content everywhere."
However, regarding Mozilla’s plans, Forrester’s Hammond said, "They are competing for airtime in a very busy market; I’m not sure how successful they will be in getting it."
Yet, "With Mozilla’s mobile OS moving forward, it reaffirms that the best option for developers is to have a vast array of choice, from purely native to hybrid Web/native to pure Web solutions," SitePen’s Schiemann said. "With this variety, developers will need to sort through those choices and decide what will help them most effectively deliver high-quality apps and sites for their users that will be manageable now and sustainable over time."
To read the original eWeek article, click here: Mobile App Development: Web or Native, That Is the Question