Web Apps Gap Analysis From Provider Perspective

Status

This is a draft, work-in-progress analysis derived from the “Closing the Gap with Native” Headlight task force.

Introduction

To compare the various existing mobile apps development approaches, two main perspectives can be taken:

This document applies the separately developed model to analyze a give mobile app development approach from provider perspective to Web applications.

See also:

Web Applications Strengths and Weaknesses from a Provider Perspective

Strength/Weakness for the provider experience for Web apps on mobile
Provider experience parameter Strength Weakness
Development cost
Hiring / training developers A lot of Web developers Not many Web developers now how to develop good Web apps for mobile
Writing code Plenty of IDEs for the Web Support for responsive approaches?
Finding documentation and guidance Lots of Web-related sites and forums Lack of authoritative content?
Finding libraries Lots of them Hard to find the right one, esp. with mobile constraints
Reporting platform bugs Technologies are developed in public
  • Hard to find the right forum to target
  • Hard to distinguish between browser bug and platform bug
Debugging and diagnostics Same Web platform on desktop and mobile makes it somewhat easier to debug
  • Growing but still very limited toolset
  • Toolset almost always browser-specific, thus hard to apply interoperably
  • Memory management particularly poor
  • Browser/device-specific bugs particularly hard to pinpoint
Testing Lots of automated testing tools, incl. on mobile Hard to test chrome-based user interactions (e.g. consent dialog)
Deployment cost
Getting authorization to deploy None required
Uploading the app Mostly seamless
Advertising the app As open as anything else on the Web
  • No well-known central location with high visibility for users
  • No well-known ways for users to describe well-rated apps
Protecting the app code and operations Server-side component out of reach to client-side attackers Hard to get as thorough protection of client-side as available to native apps
Maintenance cost
Getting user input and feedback Use the Web No one-click infrastructure to share comments associated to a given identity (assuming reputation is an incentive)
Keeping up with incompatible changes in the platform Platform evolutions are decided in the open Hard to keep track of these evolutions
Getting visibility into future new features of the platform
  • Platform evolutions are decided in the open
  • Anyone can be part of the decision process
  • Hard to keep track of these evolutions
  • Getting involved takes a lot of time
Expected outcomes
Reaching out to as many users as possible
  • Web works everywhere
  • URLs make it easy for users to spread the word
Hard to design apps that work well across many devices, browsers, culture, etc.
Getting paid Each provider can pick its most appropriate payment system
  • No general one-click solution to payment
  • Advertizing networks less developed for mobile Web
  • Lack of off-line adverts
Getting recognition Neutral?
Enabling social change
  • No commercial entity in a position to censor
  • Availability to many more devices to lower cost