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Do you really need a native app?

Web is not enough and app is not for everyone. A war of web and app continues.

Native vs web, not a war actually. Both have pros and cons of using and believe me they do not have any sort of competition in many ways. Native apps are now becoming popular since Android and iOS devices are more common in hands. After reading, "Web vs native : let's concede defeat", I decided to go through it and kicked a blog post.

Apps power is awesome

Most of us got those giant devices in our hands, swiping to infinite loops, screen covered with icons. Its because native experience is too much addicted that 85% mobile user go for apps. You can find online photo editors on web, not like Photoshop. You can find text editor on web, not like Word. You can use Facebook messenger on web, but never like we do in mobile. It is because apps uses OS and device native functions, features and have access on basic stuff like camera, contact and flash etc.

Apps are just simply awesome in them selves. But seriously if there are enough awesome, then why a cold war among developers' is going on about Web vs native. Benedict Evans also wrote about the web and the native and he describes the best way to judge yourself about have an app.
Do people want to put your icon on their home screen? 
A Mozilla Developer, James wrote about why native apps are better. Believe me he convinced me in many ways but I do not totally agree with it (discussed in post later).

Web is necessary

Let talk about why web is necessary for a user. Think of a user wanting to know about a dinner menu of nearest restaurant. He do not have app of that restaurant and just wanted to have a look. If you are that user, will you download the app? Well no. Web become necessary for the conditions that are likely to be solved with ease or in shorter time. Mostly websites helps when user website doesn't provide a functional experience to a user.

Lets talk about blogger apps. Do you really need an app for your blog? I would say no. Blog generates feeds which is easily readable in RSS readers. Application for that purpose never helps because I got more than 100 blogs to read daily, so I can't download 100 apps for each of them and opening one by one to check new articles, that will never help anyway. So in short having a web presence never mean to have app always.

If I wanted to travel to China and wanted to know currency rate then I would not download any app for currency conversion instead I will do it on web. To know about current oil prices no one download app. To know about contact number of pizza point no one download app. So just for many reasons apps are not a solution.

Why not apps on web

Okay this one for lagging websites which try to change their web into a app. Web is web and app is app, web can never become a good app. Good means smoother one.John Bristowe got a correct description of hybrid apps. The example of hybrid app is Instagram. Actually hybrid apps are easy to code for a web developer because it uses same technology as web like HTML, CSS and Javascript. HTML5 brings a new approach to hybrid apps.But you know what they are still apps.

Well, we see hybrid apps are still called apps and used as apps. Applications that are build on web never success because web is never directly connected to OS, browser is the agent to take the DOM in screen. Frameworks, plugins, JS files, CSS files and tons of more files are required for a web app which is I think is not good because according to a post of David Walsh, 1 in 500 user find problem to load script. This probability increases with the size of DOM.

Beside that, when we add frameworks, plugins and other external sources, then we need to deal with all of their bugs, browser support and API. This create a chaos between browser and the DOM. Finally results in browser crashes and while we never know about what browser a user is using therefore there are a lot chances of app crashing.

Java applets and Flash embeds are even worst ideas because they both require browser plugins to work and I am sure many of users do not have in their browsers. The one with flash on their site even shifted to HTML5 solutions like Youtube and Google. Safari doesn't support flash so ultimately you loose too many users there.

When we try to change the custom look of the web with plugins, frameworks and hacks then we are actually destroying the web with lots of browser issues. Many countries are still racing for better internet connection for their people and even Facebook launched its lite app for people with low internet connection have size less than 1MB.

When you really need an app?

What Benedit Evans said:

"Too many companies present the potential customer with a website that says 'screw you, install our app', and then an app store page that says 'screw you, install our app', and then a first-run screen that says 'screw you, create an account/sign in with Facebook'. You do have to earn an install, I think. "

According to stats, iOS and Android both got around 1M apps on their stores. Do you think your app is unique and demanded enough to fit in competition. Page hits are easy to get but installs are far more difficult. When I last saw Mashable app it had about 10k downloads which I think are not as good as Mashable itself. 

If you are a blogger thinking to create an app or hiring someone for that, believe me your wrong. Reading, sharing and commenting are not enough for an app. Today well known developers and blogger do not owe an app not because they can't afford but a user can't that.

If you are a restaurant manager, want an app so that users can see new deals like Ramadan offer, Eid offer, Xmas or Holy whatever. Then d you think a customer of your is loyal enough to download that app just to see deals?

If you got an online gaming service, then I think you should start building apps. Games are popular genres for apps. Today kids and adults both love them and like to spend time on that. A good native app could be a turning point of your career. I read somewhere about a girl who turned his internship into a career in a company with just a gaming app.

Apps like Photoshop, Facebook and games like Clash of Clan got an importance in app world not because they are app but because they are functional. Unless your app is not function its not an app simply. 

"Web is not enough and app is not for everyone"

These are my conclusion points of this post. Since we do not have a technology right now that could create web into a native app environment but we have access to both of them. Page views are easy to attain but app install is not a success everyone get. Frameworks, plugins and heavy scripts are not an answer to native apps while native apps are not an answer for web.
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