The Web vs. Native

The Fucking Open Web is a post by Eran Hammer about the complexity and unpredictability of the web in contrast to native applications. And as much as I love the web for it’s openness, I totally have to agree.

Progressive web apps might be the future but if you are a startup trying to build new experiences, front end web development is probably at its lowest point. Mobile Safari is the new IE6. We have more amazing technology than ever before but we also have so much diversity of platforms, browsers, and screen types, that building a consistent experience pretty much means using almost none of it. — Eran Hammer

Being a web developer I know how hard it is to just respect all the possible screen sizes. But that’s not the worst part. Browser incompatibilities are a real annoyance. And I’m in the lucky position that I work at a company where we only consider current browser releases.

Yes, you can build 2007 websites much better now. They will be consistent across platforms and perform great. But my 12 year olds don’t want 2007 websites. They want 2016 apps. — Eran Hammer

Regarding performance and available features, native apps still have more possibilities. Mozilla abandoned Firefox OS, Google pushes Instant Apps and Apple doesn’t allow other browsers as the crippled Safari. It’s a sad state for the open web as the shift to mobile increases.

Many people will only use the web via a mobile device. But will they use an app or a browser? I have to admit that I switched from web apps to native apps for some tasks, too. Ironically some of these native apps are built with web technologies and packaged as a native app.