Web 2.0 Applications vs. Native Applications
I find my minds a changing’…Web 2.0 apps or Native apps??
Having long experiences with both the Windows mobile and Palm platforms, I was deeply entrenched in the idea that native apps for the iPhone were the only way to go. But after some months owning an iPhone, and taking note of my personal habits, methods and usage of my phone; I have begun to change my mind, let me explain…
As far as I can tell, most peoples gripe about Web 2.0 apps are not that they are bad programs, but more that they are limited to the AT&T’s slower Edge network, and that they only work when connect to web. While both of these points are true to a point which I will explain in a second; they are also temporary concerns. And, reasonable work-arounds are available if you take a bit of time to search out solutions and determine your personal needs for your iPhone or any other cell phone for that matter.
Let take the “slow” Edge network for starters, while to some people, maybe even most; fell this is a problem, but speaking personally this has not been an issue at all. Coming from Sprints network, it has been a vast speed improvement. And I have simply altered my internet connectivity when on Edge via the following methods:
- I have created an “Edge” only folder. This folder contains all of the normal bookmarks that I visit, the difference being that all of the site bookmarks have been mobilized via sites such as mowser, google mobile, or iPhone friendly versions. So for example when on the edge network, I read USA today on their mobile site at wap.usatoday.com.
- I also set up a “Wifi” only folder, it’s the exact same folder as the Edge folder, but all of the bookmarks are saved using the “full” webpage versions.
As a side note to this, I often find myself using the mobile version even when on my PC or Mac because it filters out a lot of the trash ads anyway.
OK, so the webpage and network speed questions are solved, now onto the main point of my post, Web Apps vs. Native Apps.
Right off the bat, I don’t understand why anyone would clunk up their iPhone or any smart phone for that matter with a bunch of applications that take up precious memory and can cause a great deal of system stability issues. Like or not, I agree with Steve Jobs on this one. Coming from the Treo world, crashes were always an issue with 3rd party apps, and now with the iPhone and web apps, not one crash. Works for me…
Why would I want to buy an application that can calculate how much of a tip to leave a waiter or to check the weather, or even better manage my task list? I wouldn’t, not when so many online choices are available that allow desktop access to the same information that are both free and secure. (Furthermore, my life is anything that the FBI is interested in). Oh, but wait, I know what your going to say…games!
Well, I must admit that games would be the only application that I might consider as a native application. But, again, has anyone seen of how many web app games are available online for free?? Tons!
Like the before, I have set up a folder just for game sites and again, I have not had any issues with the edge network. But it gets better…
Like a desktop computer, iPhone’s Safari browser works much the same way in that once you have accessed and loaded a web site or web app game, you can turn off edge, and still play the games you have loaded via safari!!
Example, one of my favorite games is DB games “Stomp Em. A great little game that has multiple progressive levels and is quite challenging. Recently, I was traveling by plane on an hour long flight or so. So prior to boarding, I loaded Stomp ‘em, solitaire and hangman games in Safari by creating new page for each. Once they were each fully loaded, I boarded the plane; turned on airplane mode and was set. Each of these games worked in full the entire flight, all levels, all functions and provided a great deal of entertainment. Try it, you'll be surprised.
BTW, you will get a message that you need to access the edge server for the games to work, but simply cancel that message and play away. And another thing, DON’T CLOSE OUT THE PAGE!!!
Now for those of you that are not yet convinced, that web apps are the way to go, note that changes are on the way.
Case in point, AT&T stated earlier this week that Apple will be releasing a 3G network phone in 2008, so connection gripes are solved if you feel that Edge is really too slow. And if you bought an iPhone without constant Edge network connectivity or Wifi; I’d wonder why you bought it in the first place.
Second, Steve Jobs and Apple have conceded that an SDK will be released in early 2008. So all can rejoice, native apps will be delivered, but with that crashes, lost memory…I already ranted about that…
Here’s all I saying friends, I believe that the memory in the iPhone should be kept for media, and if the choices are available for me to use a web app vs. a native application that could cause a crash, and take up precious memory space, I will choose the web app every time. While I might break this rule for a game or two, for the most part, web apps are the way to go. I'd be interested in hearing thoughts from more of you and the debate should be good.
Enjoy the holiday season…