Tags: native

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Audacious Fox: Mini Interview: Loren Brichter on the Sale of Letterpress to Solebon

Colin pointed out this interesting perspective from an iOS developer moving to the web:

My work for the last few years has been on the web, and honestly, it’s a breath of fresh air. Instant refreshing, surprisingly good debugging / perf tools, intrinsically multi-platform, and most importantly, open.

Web tech gets a lot of shit from native devs (some of it deserved). But the alternatives are worse. I find the entire concept of App Review morally questionable despite Apple’s good intentions. So I sleep better at night not being part of that anymore. Sure, the web is messy, and it’s delicate, but it’s important and good and getting better fast.

Apps are dying by Cameron Moll

Cameron looks back on his 2007 Mobile Web Design book:

I don’t anticipate native apps will die off anytime soon. But I’m warming to the idea that they may be less relevant to the future of the web, and I reaffirm that “a browser will be — or should be — sufficient for interacting with web content.”

Progressive web apps are poised to be remarkably relevant to the future of the web. Let’s not screw it up.

Surveying the Landscape – Peter Gasston

An in-depth, thoroughly-researched look at the threatened health of the web. It’s grim reading, for the most part, but there’s a glimmer of hope towards the end.

BitCam : The World’s Most Advanced Camera For Your Mini Pocket Computer

A lovely little native app:

The world’s most advanced camera for your mini pocket computer.

View source for added nostalgia/flashbacks.

Oh, and RTFM.

Yet another blog about the state and future of Progressive Web App - The blog of Ada Rose Edwards

Bravo!

In the web developer community’s collective drive to be more App Like and compete with native apps we may lose or weaken some of the web’s strongest features and we need to consider carefully before we throw away urls or the entire browser chrome in an effort to look like and behave like the cool kids of native.

You can hear more of Ada’s thoughts on progressive web apps on a recent episode of JavaScript Air.

Progressive Web Apps and our regressive approach | Christian Heilmann

So remember when I was talking about “the ends justify the means” being used for unwise short-term decisions? Here’s a classic example. Chris thinks that Progressive Web Apps should be made mobile-only (at least to start with …something something something the future):

For now, PWAs need to be the solution for the next mobile users.

End users deserve to have an amazing, form-factor specific experience.

I couldn’t disagree more. End users deserve to have an amazing experience no matter the form-factor of their device.

State of the gap

Remy looks at the closing gap between native and web. Things are looking pretty damn good for the web, with certain caveats:

The web is the long game. It will always make progress. Free access to both consumers and producers is a core principle. Security is also a core principle, and sometimes at the costs of ease to the developer (but if it were easy it wouldn’t be fun, right?).

That’s why there’ll always be some other technology that’s ahead of the web in terms of features, but those features give the web something to aim for:

Flash was the plugin that was ahead of the web for a long time, it was the only way to play video for heavens sake!

Whereas before we needed polyfills like PhoneGap (whose very reason for existing is to make itself obsolete), now with progressive web apps, we’re proving the philosophy behind PhoneGap:

If the web doesn’t do something today it’s not because it can’t, or won’t, but rather it is because we haven’t gotten around to implementing that capability yet.

Bad Character - The New Yorker

A fascinating thought experiment from Ted Chiang:

So let’s imagine a world in which Chinese characters were never invented in the first place. Given such a void, the alphabet might have spread east from India in a way that it couldn’t in our history, but, to keep this from being an Indo-Eurocentric thought experiment, let’s suppose that the ancient Chinese invented their own phonetic system of writing, something like the modern Bopomofo, some thirty-two hundred years ago. What might the consequences be?

Progressive Web Apps have leapfrogged the native install model … but challenges remain

While many challenges remain, the good news is … it’s progressive. Developers can already see the benefits by sprinkling in these technologies to their existing websites and proceed to build on them as browsers and operating systems increase support.

Don’t Forget The Web

Here’s the video of the talk I gave at Facebook’s Mobile @Scale event where I was the token web guy. The talk is pretty short but there’s some fun Q&A afterwards.

The Facebook-Loving Farmers of Myanmar - The Atlantic

A fascinating slice of ethnographic research in Myanmar by Craig. There’s no mention of the web, which is certainly alarming, but then again, that’s not the focus of the research.

Interestingly, while Facebook is all omnipresent and dominant, nobody is using it the way that Facebook wants: all the accounts are basically “fake”.

What I found fascinating are the ways that people have found to bypass app stores. They’re basically being treated as damage and routed ‘round. So while native apps are universal, app stores would appear to be a first world problem.

Now if there were only some kind of universally accessible distribution channel that didn’t require any kind of installation step …hmmm.

The App-ocalypse: Can Web standards make mobile apps obsolete? | Ars Technica

I really, really want to like this article—it’s chock full of confirmation bias for me. But it’s so badly-written …I mean like, just the worst.

Here’s an actual sentence:

So with a capable, HTML-based platform and a well-designed program that makes good use of CSS, one site could support phones, tablets, PCs, and just about anything else with one site.

So, yeah, I’m still linking to it, but instead of it being for the content, it’s because I want to lament the dreadful state of technology writing.

Native or Not? The Untapped Power of Web Apps | Viget

Following on from that last link, here’s an in-depth run-down of what you can do in mobile browsers today. I think a lot of people internalised “what you can’t do on the web” a while back—it’s well worth periodically revisiting the feature landscape to revise that ever-shrinking list.

Perhaps the biggest advantage the web has over native apps is how quickly users are able to engage. All that’s between the user and your content is one click.

Web! Apps! Fight! : Sally Jenkinson

It’s not about technology, performance and APIs – it’s about people.

The Future of the Open Web - Broken Links

I completely understand Peter’s fears here, and to a certain extent, I share them. But I think there’s a danger in only looking to what native platforms can do that the web doesn’t (yet). Perhaps instead we should be looking to strengthen what only the web can offer: ubiquity, access, and oh yeah, URLs.

What does Google need on mobile? — Benedict Evans

The key change in all of this, I think, is that Google has gone from a world of almost perfect clarity - a text search box, a web-link index, a middle-class family’s home - to one of perfect complexity - every possible kind of user, device, access and data type. It’s gone from a firehose to a rain storm. But on the other hand, no-one knows water like Google. No-one else has the same lead in building understanding of how to deal with this. Hence, I think, one should think of every app, service, drive and platform from Google not so much as channels that might conflict but as varying end-points to a unified underlying strategy, which one might characterize as ‘know a lot about how to know a lot’.

The Failed Promise of Deep Links — Backchannel — Medium

A really great piece by Scott Rosenberg that uses the myopic thinking behind “deep linking” in native apps as a jumping-off point to delve into the history of hypertext and the web.

It’s kind of weird that he didn’t (also) publish this on his own site though.

Zen and the Art of Wearable Markup

Jeffrey muses on progressive enhancement and future-friendliness.

Apps Everywhere, but No Unifying Link - NYTimes.com

But as people spend more time on their mobile devices and in their apps, their Internet has taken a step backward, becoming more isolated, more disorganized and ultimately harder to use — more like the web before search engines.

HTML5’s “Dirty Little Secret”: It’s Already Everywhere, Even In Mobile - ReadWrite

I’m an advocate for progressive enhancement. Tom Dale is not. But even though we may disagree on that, there’s a lot to like in his sensible, balanced answers to some sensationalist linkbaity questions.

It’s not that the pace of innovation on the Web is slower, it’s just solving a problem that is an order of magnitude more challenging than how to build and distribute trusted apps for a single platform. As we saw on the desktop, it may take a few years to catch up to all of the capabilities of a native, proprietary platform, but in terms of the impact it will have on humanity, forgive me for not losing sleep if we have to wait a few years for it to arrive.

Startups and Shit, HTML-first

The Android vs. iOS debate is one hinges around whether you think it makes more sense to target a (perceived) larger market, or target one that the technorati favor. But why choose? Building a good responsive web app has a series of benefits, the primary one being that you target users on every platform with one app. Every user. Every platform. All the time. Release whenever you want. A/B test with ease. Go, go go.

A lot can change in 6 years - Allen Pike

An astute comparison of the early years of the web with the early years of the app store. If there’s anything to this, then the most interesting native apps are yet to come. App Store 2.0?

How are apps made? by Craig Mod

With the usual caveat that I wish this were published on Craig’s own site, I particularly like this passage:

Apps, too, are ephemeral. Some of the most ephemeral software we’ve ever produced. Ephemeral if for no other reason than because of their gated homes. Our apps cower below the fickle whim of App Store Gods, struck down for no reasonable reasons or for very reasonable reasons. It doesn’t matter which, the end result is always the same: gone, forever.

What If Browsers And The Web Didn’t Exist? What If There Were Only Native Apps?

I, for one, don’t welcome our applinks overlords.

So, you’re checking out your news feed on your Facebook app and you see a CNN post that you want to read. After reading the post on CNN, you decide you want to to read the source article on TMZ…

Daring Fireball: Rethinking What We Mean by ‘Mobile Web’

John echoes some of my recent thinking about what qualifies as a web browser and, by extension, what qualifies as the web:

We shouldn’t think of “the web” as only what renders in web browsers. We should think of the web as anything transmitted using HTTP and HTTPS. Apps and websites are peers, not competitors. They’re all just clients to the same services.

That said, I think he is perhaps underestimating the power of URLs. Addressability—particularly over an extended time period—remains the powerful feature of the web.

The Pastry Box Project | 2 December 2013, baked by Anne van Kesteren

Coming from anyone else, this glorious vision might seem far-fetched, but Anne is working to make it a reality.

Jim Silverman - Native Mobile Apps are the New Flash

The case may be a little overstated, but I agree with the sentiment of this. The web is always playing catch-up to something. For a while, it was Flash; now it’s native.

Flash was a great stopgap measure. But it outlived its usefulness and has been reduced to niche status.

Today, we’re seeing the nearly exact same scenario with native apps on mobile devices.

Native mobile apps are a temporary solution. We’re just over 4 years into the Appstore era and this has already become apparent. Open web technologies are catching up to the point that the vast majority of web apps no longer need a native counterpart.

We’re not ‘appy. Not ‘appy at all.

An excellent explanation from Tom Loosemore on why the Government Digital Service is putting its energy into open standards and the web, rather than proprietary native apps.

The gradient chart by Cennydd Bowles

A very handy technique from Cennydd for answering the “it depends” question of when you might need a separate device-specific site (‘though I think that a separate can be a good option in addition to a responsive site, rather than instead of).

Apps vs The Web

Some interesting ideas on the commonalities and differences between native apps and the web.

Jeremy Keith: One Web — Update 2011 - YouTube

My short talk from Aral’s Update conference in Brighton last September. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. If I only I had a handheld mic—then I could’ve done a microphone drop at the end.

The mobile app is going the way of the CD-ROM: To the dustbin of history | VentureBeat

Some future-friendly musings on mobile from Mozilla and Yahoo.

inessential.com: Apps and web apps and the future

Brent Simmons follows up on that Dave Winer post with some future-friendly thoughts:

If I had to choose one or the other — if I had some crazy power but I had to wipe out either native apps or web apps — I’d wipe out native apps. (While somehow excluding browsers, text editors, outliners, web servers, and all those apps we need to make web apps.)

That’s not the case, though. Nothing has to get wiped out.

I think instead that we’ll see a more tangled future. Native apps will use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript more. Web apps will appear more often on smart phones as launchable apps.

Scripting News: Why apps are not the future

Spot. On.

The great thing about the web is linking. I don’t care how ugly it looks and how pretty your app is, if I can’t link in and out of your world, it’s not even close to a replacement for the web. It would be as silly as saying that you don’t need oceans because you have a bathtub.

LukeW | The Web OS is Already Here…

Luke points out that the web is everywhere: it’s accessible through the browser but also through many native applications. This is the real Web Operating System.

The Web (browser) is inside of every application instead of every application being inside the Web (browser).

The mobile web splash screen antipattern [Legends of the Sun Pig - Martin Sutherland’s Blog]

Excellent points, eloquently delivered, on why sites shouldn’t be shoving their native Apps in the face of people who just arrived at their website on a mobile device.

Putting up a splash screen is like McDonalds putting a bouncer on the door, and telling customers who just parked their car and want to enter the restaurant that they should use the drive-through instead.

One Hundred Percent : Jonathan Stark

An excellent point from Jonathan: both native apps and web apps require an internet connection …and both native apps and web apps can be made to work without an internet connection.

This might sound obvious, but the myth that “only native apps can work without an internet connection” is surprisingly widespread.

Of Web Apps and HTML Apps : Jonathan Stark

A real-world anecdote from Jonathan illustrates some of the misconceptions around using HTML instead of going native. A lot of people don’t realise that web apps can store data offline.

Mobile Apps Must Die | Blog | design mind

Scott writes up some of the things he talked about at the Breaking Development conference: the just-in-time interactions that are inevitable in a heavily-instrumented world.

The web is a different problem | Web Directions

John pushes back against the idea that browser innovation is moving too slow.

Update 2011 Conference Recap :: Freelance WordPress Developer Amber Weinberg

I’m loving Amber’s detailed write-up of the Update conference, especially her description of the panel discussion as me versus everyone else.

The One Web: don’t write for devices, write for people | Opinion | .net magazine

A great opinion piece from Addy Osmani prompted by the panel discussion I took part in at the Update conference.

HTML5 Rocks - HTML5 vs Native: The Mobile App Debate

An even-handed weighing up of the pros and cons of native and web app development for mobile.

How to fail at mobile web [Legends of the Sun Pig - Martin Sutherland’s Blog]

It’s a provocative title but I certainly agree with this post’s premise. And the situation it describes is all too familiar.

Pretenders: Why mobile Web apps should stop trying to act like native apps « cvil.ly

I agree with this. I like it. I plus one it. So to speak.

Out of this World: China Miéville: what if?

China Miéville gives a rundown of some underrated classics of the alternative history subgenre …including Richard Curtis’s Notting Hill.

Links Don’t Open Apps « Cloud Four

A timely reminder from Jason of the killer feature of the web: hyperlinks.

Geek Ninja Battle Night | Stuff and Nonsense

Andy hammers home the benefit of a long-term format like HTML compared to the brittle, fleeting shininess of an ephemeral platform-specific app.

Help stop the spread of NIBS (Native is Better Syndrome) | Web Directions

John Allsopp calls bullshit on the notion that native apps are intrinsically better than web apps. I concur.