This has been a long running discussion and I recently tripped across yet another blog post that picked up the debate. This is from Quirksmode.org . I’ll admit that in that “web vs. native” discussion I assume Peter-Paul is talking mobile web vs native. If not, well then, never mind…..
However, my 2 cents is that the mobile web vs mobile native debate is at the same stage as back in 1995 when the nascent Internet was beginning to get some notice from software developers. “Fat client”, multi-tiered apps were all the rage in 1995 and now 20 years later there are very few companies that are pushing “native” Windows or Mac apps out into the consumer world. Email “native” client apps, even developer tools these days are becoming more “webby”. I don’t hear of Google conceding defeat on the Gmail web client and instead that they will be developing a new “native” app for Windows and Mac. Ain’t gonna happen! And, IMHO, that is the way native mobile apps will eventually go. Eventually the “browser” will basically BE the desktop.
The only reasons that mobile web apps haven’t gained more traction (that I can think of) are 1) performance and 2) being able to run in a “disconnected” state, both of which are solvable problems. I can think of very few reason why I want to develop a native app so it can join the millions of “zombie” apps taking up space in iTunes and Google Play stores.
So that is my rationale and I will continue to write mobile *web* apps and deploy an occasional hybrid mobile app but that is about it. Mobile native apps’ time has come and quickly gone. We need to be writing better mobile web applications, not taking them native.