HTML5 NATIVEOR. It s the wrong question.

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1 HTML5 NATIVEOR It s the wrong question.

2 1 HTML5 NATIVEOR It s the wrong question. THE CONTROVERSY ABOUT HTML5 VS. NATIVE AS THE BEST DEVELOPMENT PATH FOR MOBILE APPLICATIONS CONTINUES TO SWIRL. IT S FAR FROM OVER AND IS UNLIKELY TO SUBSIDE ANYTIME SOON. WHILE THERE IS NO AGREEMENT ABOUT WHICH DEVELOPMENT APPROACH IS BETTER, THERE IS STRONG AGREEMENT ON ANOTHER POINT. The proliferation of mobile devices has created an insatiable appetite among users for applications that give them instant access to the content they want in the form they want it whenever and wherever desired. So the sparring between HTML5 and Native centers on the best means of developing engaging apps to meet this growing demand.

3 2 LET S START AT THE VERY BEGINNING. Installed directly into a mobile device, Native applications are driven by the resident operating system and often requires no Internet connectivity. Since such apps must be created platform-by-platform, they can be more costly to develop. Proponents of native apps point to advantages like these: Tighter integration with device APIs (Application Programming Interface), which makes for better tools and an enhanced user experience. Built-in components for addressing device-specific layout, design and interactions. Direct manufacturer support for new features and functionality, increasing speed to implementation. Easy app store distribution with easy-pay methods for purchase. Access to hardware features (gyroscope, camera, local storage, etc.). Gated app store, helping to ensure apps being installed are safe to use. HTML5 is the poster child for the technology used to build Web apps. Such apps require no conversions, translations or re-dos to run on a wide variety of platforms with a modern Web browser. That means users of Android phones, Windows phones, ipads and iphones can all tap into the same app and run it successfully. Advocates of HTML5 point out advantages like these: Single code base. Ubiquitous distribution with all functionality, resources and logic existing on a Web server, making updates instantaneous and immediately available to all users. Ambient findability since they are easier to search for compared to app store distribution. Familiar coding language. Supply/demand of HTML developer resources makes HTML development less expensive. It is worth mentioning that many of the current arguments for HTML tend to lump the benefits of strict HTML and hybrid designs together against Native development. A mobile Web application runs entirely in the cloud and is accessible through the device s browser. There is no method for installing this type of app on the device, however in the case of Apple ios devices, you can save a shortcut to the Web application as a button/icon on the home screen, giving it the superficial appearance of an installed app. In the hybrid design, all application logic and display code are programmed into HTML/JavaScript and then wrapped in a Native app shell. This shell contains a customized Web browser window, and it plays back HTML content stored internally with the app. These are a few of the top-of-mind benefits for each technology. Clearly, these overviews are purposely broad and general and are in no way an exhaustive list of the benefits of the two development paths.

4 3 WORRISOME WRANGLING. The ongoing skirmish between these two warring camps Native and HTML5 is interesting, even entertaining at times. However, it is also frustrating, worrisome and incredibly wasteful. The debate is frustrating because the sniping consists of the same points being made (or not) in seemingly endless variation with few new conclusions or insights. The wrangling is worrisome because it spends too much time trying to arrive at an either-or answer and too little time considering hybrid alternatives. Most troubling, though, is the waste left in the wake of this running battle. It is the byproduct of squandered time and resources trying to solve the wrong problem. The purpose of this effort is not to trot out familiar pro/con litanies of these two development methods for mobile apps. That would only serve to add to the din. Rather, the goal is to reframe the basic premise by posing a different, but fundamental question. Has the time come to stop trying to answer, in an absolute sense, one or the other and ask instead what may seem to a deceptively simple question? At the end of the day, do consumers the actual hands-on users of the apps really care by what means they are developed? Probably not. But there are things they do care about, and they all relate to the nature of how and how enjoyably they play games, stream movies and do all the other things they want to do on their mobile devices. What they care about depends on a decision they don t care about. That s why app developers must think and care about it for them. A performance partner, Maestro builds tools, including custom mobile apps, that help the world s most advanced companies perform beautifully. Part of the ability to deliver on that promise is to understand completely what performing beautifully means in various venues. What it means in the case of custom mobile apps is the commitment to develop to the vagaries of every user scenario.

5 4 PICK THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE RIGHT REASON. Maestro developers are not tied to the tools. Rather, they pick the right tool for the right reason. When the focus is on performance, user experience and usability, it becomes very clear very fast that technology is not the solution. The goal is to define the use through the experience. For that reason, asking, HTML or Native? is the wrong question. The real question is: What will maximize the user experience? The answer is picking the tools (or combination of them) to do just that. To approach a development challenge any other way is, frankly, a compromise for expedience. Let s be clear: The world (and app development) is not black and white. In other words, it is not always simple, easy or quick all of which are implied by the fixation on one or other, either-or. To believe that developers must view development choices as black or white is to deny that reality is not one or the other, but rather a grayscale of infinite variety, complexity and, yes, potential. Black and white is easy. Gray is difficult. But it s also the realm where the greatest possibilities for enhancing user experiences hide. At Maestro, developers live, breathe and think in the gray. You might even say that development begins before development at Maestro. That s because the answers to important up-front questions determine development alternatives. What s the problem to be solved inside the organization? Is an app the best solution? What are the security issues? Online/offline access? What is the user context? What are their needs or pain points? Motivations? What are the technology constraints? What are the time and budget parameters? Only when our developers have the answers to these and other defining questions can they leverage the best tool for the job. What tool or combination will yield the best user experience? That s how we approach app development for our customers. It all depends on what kind of app the customer needs to build to meet his needs, solve his problems and meet his objectives. BLACK AND WHITE IS EASY. GRAY IS DIFFICULT.

6 5 A GREAT EXPERIENCE FOR USERS IS BOTH THE GOAL + REWARD OF APP DEVELOPMENT THE STAKES HAVE NEVER BEEN HIGHER. Today, more people have mobile phones than have electricity or safe drinking water. 1 In India, there are more cell phones than toilets! 2 We all have access to incredible technology, and designers and developers have the opportunity to use this pervasive technology in powerful ways that can reshape people's lives. In fact, a single individual can now create an application that can literally change the lives of people across the globe. 3 The pervasiveness of mobile technology has opened up the door to tremendous opportunities for individual designers and developers to create applications with enormous reach. The power this provides allows us to build apps that can change people s lives for the better in ways never before imagined. Imagine the feeling of creating an application that improves the lives of thousands of people across the globe people who you may never meet but whose lives you ve touched in profound and meaningful ways. A great experience for users is both the goal and reward of app development. So why would design and development warriors on the front lines paint themselves into a corner by restricting either? The question of HTML5 or Native, as we have seen, is likely the wrong question in most development scenarios that is, if we are committed to providing the best experience. Will it ever be the right question? Likely not. At Maestro, we can t imagine a day when development questions are black and white and not enriched by the vast gray middle ground. HTML is a ripening technology. Who knows what the future holds. But for now, Maestro chooses to live in the gray. SOURCES

7 Leveraging technology, creativity and strategy, Maestro builds tools to help the world s most advanced companies perform beautifully everything from custom mobile apps to strategic solutions for sales, marketing and business management. Strong partnerships with clients, a dedication to smart design, fanatical attention to every experience and a relentless quest to understand the problem and make the complex simple all make Maestro different. And they all inform and shape the work we produce, which sets clients like Twitter, Dannon, Facebook, Netflix and Johnson & Johnson apart in the marketplace. O 401 E. MICHIGAN, SUITE 202, KALAMAZOO, MI P (800) F (269) W MEETMAESTRO.COM

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