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My view on HTML5 Apps v.s. Native Mobile Apps

In May, we participated in our business partner Chartboost's Mobile Hackathon. We wasn't there to win. We was there partly to be cheerleader, and partly to use it as an opportunity to learn building mobile app. Most of us don't have much experience at all. Unfortunately we flopped. After two days we have failed to build a usable application.

Two days wasn't long enough for me to become proficient in the Android platform SDK. But it is long enough for me to form a negative opinion. Jeez, it is like flashback to the old days when we were building Windows apps. It is the same style of GUI toolkit like Swing or Microsoft frameworks, the style we have largely left behind in favorite of web apps. Hundred of thousand of developers toiling to develop on these platforms. How long is this rush of native mobile app development going to last?

Web development has come a long way in the past decade. The power of HTML, CSS and JavaScript unleash great deal of creativity and design that constantly awe people. It wasn't just because of flashiness or novelty. The fact is the web layout engine has so much power and fine grain control that leave the old school GUI toolkit far behind. While I'm scratching on how to layout Android widgets, I realize I am thinking in terms of CSS box model and really miss it on the native platform. Web development is far more productive. It language is declarative. The development environment interactive. To go back to compile execute development cycle just to change one attribute is so frustrating. The other thing I realize is we have build up a vast community based knowledge network on web development through Q&A website and the diligent work of many individuals. HTML and JavaScript is no longer the unpredictable and compatibility headache as in the age when it just come of the browser war. Today we have a rich set of libraries and the expertise to make use of web technologies to its fullest.

When Steve Jobs first introduced iPhone, he said the web is the mobile SDK. Steve was right all along.

2012.07.05 [, ] - comments



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