Recompilation technologies like Adobe PhoneGap and Appcelelerator Titanium let developers leverage Web development efforts on mobile platforms, Simpson notes. But well-liked tools like Titanium aren't perfect. "Titanium does have its quirks that you have to work through," such as to get UI pieces to work well, Homes.com's Newcomer says.
At e-commerce site CNV.com, HTML5 development was the obvious solution. "Because we are an e-commerce platform, there's back and forth to deal with, and security when you handle credit cards," says CNV.com developer Daniel Lashua. "We thought the most-secure solution would be something Web-based, so all that information is based on our servers. We don't have to deal with distributing an app to multiple handsets or deal with security on each handset." But CNV.com used Appcelerator to access native device features, rather than deliver a pure HTML5 app.
At the Placer County (Calif.) Water Agency, the HTML5 option simply makes it easier to get software to multiple devices, especially because the popular smartphone of choice keeps shifting, says Bryan Heath, an information systems analyst and developer for the agency. Having to use API toolsets for Android and iOS "doesn't sound like much fun," he says.
Web deployment is not without its drawbacks, however, Lashua says: "Users don't always get the experience they want." For example, it is a little more difficult to have a single icon to launch the company's website, and the HTML5 application cannot be used offline. But an e-commerce application like CNV.com's would not be useful offline anyway, he notes.
HTML5 development set to keep catching on
Why? Because the it turns out the question is not whether you should go native or HTML, but when.
This story, "Native mobile app dev vs. HTML 5: Why not both?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.