When we started to design and develop the IR.Social app, among many other tough decisions we came across was deciding between native or the web-based apps. The only thing we had clear in our minds is that we wanted to have our app present in as many devices as possible and this meant being in as many platforms and stores as possible.
Both native and web-based methods would let us achieve this primary goal. But there were still a lot of pros and cons to consider.
In terms of going the HTML5 way, the biggest pro was that we were only going to need to maintain one single code base. Any changes we make wouldn’t require much, if any, rework for Android and iOS.
In exchange there was a big con. HTML5 limited the use of the device features that we could use like memory and storage.
On the other hand, going the Native way would mean a lot more work coding. We would have to make different code bases from the start and maintenance would take longer.
But, we would get complete access to device features. Users would get smoother transitions. And the UI would be native to each platform resulting in a superior user experience.
We decided to go native. The IR.Social apps are all made using native languages and frameworks.
Each platform has its own look and feel and their own Human Interface Guide to maintain the experience. And we would be able to take advantage of all the great features provided by devices on each platform.
On Wednesday there was some news that supported our decision with facts. One of the most avid supporters of HTML5, LinkedIn, who created one of the best HTML5 apps available went native. They dropped their HTML5 framework.
They gave three reasons:
- Users were spending a lot of time in the app, which in turn made the app run out of memory.
- They wanted to get the overall flow smoother.
- Developers are developing libraries and tools for Native languages and not so many for HTML5.
Due to the nature of our app; these three errors would have also become problems for our app. Although it was more time and effort to go the native way, we are sure we made the right decision and we are sure our users would benefit from the better usability and user experience a native development achieves.