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Java, Agile, the Web and other nice things

Dec

23

The future of mobile apps is web apps

By Olivier Gérardin

This conclusion comes from examining the following facts:

  • modern smartphones are equipped with a recent, state-of-the-art, JavaScript/CSS capable web browser
  • modern smartphones are most often associated with a “always connected” data plan

What this means is that if you need to develop a mobile application that should run on several mobile platforms, you have basically two possibilities:

  • learn each different platform and associated SDK, develop and maintain a different version for each of them, not to mention you’ll have to manage distribution/deployment
  • write a single web app that will run on all platforms, and be always up-to-date

Easy choice isn’t it? Now I should also add a third fact that will undoubtedly contribute to this trend:

  • GWT and GAE make it ridiculously easy to build web apps (including for mobiles)

For example, my new Palm Pre doesn’t come with a facebook app. Why bother? it’s just a link to the mobile version of facebook.com. Maybe it’s not as rich as a native app, but it’s damn close, and the line will get thinner and thinner as HTML5 spreads.

Actually, the Palm Pre is a very good example of this convergence, since the standard SDK uses JavaScript as the development language. So basically, each app on the Pre is a web app!

You can read Alex Nicolaou’s blog post on the Google mobile blog for another view on this subject.

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