Few years ago, consumers used different apps on their desktop computers, such as Winamp for music, Windows Media Player for playing videos and so on. During these times, we depended hugely on these apps since browsers were not strong enough to have applications run on them.
Eventually, browsers became stronger and faster and they became robust enough to have apps run on them. Then then came mobile apps, today we spend most of our time in mobiles and mobiles have taken a lead against web. Will this be end of web apps? Let's discuss briefly on this.
For one thing I know, Apple loves native mobile apps, they are faster, they can interact with the system in a better way and may feel more real, but on contrast Google loves web apps, the apps run on browsers, they can be run on any operating system and interestingly, they do not require installation. And the future might hold, may they might merge at one point.
At this moment, though I prefer using native mobile apps, which can also work offline, I believe, that Google have read the future in a better way. While Apple doesn’t even try to understand what is wrong with native mobile apps, Google does understand what are the shortcomings in web apps and fixes it.
Difference in Performance:-
Mobile apps are faster, since they are written in low-level languages and they interact with hardware and the operating system directly. But this is not the case in web apps. They have multiple layers of abstraction. But with progressive thinking we can say with heads held high, that these limitations will soon be history. The apps will surely overcome them. With some tweaks and twists, web apps will find a way to interact with the system and hardware directly. They will access your camera and gyroscope like a mobile app. Does it sound insecure? But it’s the same with mobile apps as well. May be the apps will be designed in such a way that they ask for permission before gaining access.
Installation is apt example of User Interface evil and so is web signup / registration. I have faced this problem a lot. Just to edit one photo, why should I install Photoshop or to by a book I have to spend at least 3 to 5 mins for registration and activating the user account. This is the question of most of the contemporary users. Web apps may change this, since it runs on browser, and browsers logs in the user automatically. And adding to this, users are becoming lazier to search for a specific app to perform a specific task in the 100s of icon they see in the mobile folders.
Tabs / Bookmarks:-
You cannot open multiple copies of a mobile application simultaneously, web apps can be opened multiple times on the same browser in different tabs. Native mobile apps cannot achieve this.
Bookmarks, like Tabs are just an effect of having URLs. Every windows is identifiable and so can be bookmarked for further use.
Web apps bow down to native mobile apps in this criteria. To work web apps need an active internet connection. But mobile apps can work offline also. If a native app cannot contact its sever, the app may not be particularly useful, but it can at least start and show something when offline.
In the future operating systems, there will be windows, capable of displaying web content and merging into one with tabs. The same way as we not thinking about the Window Server process on the Mac today, nobody will think about “the browser” in the future. That’s why a browser vendor would never be able to make an ideal browser. Only an OS maker would.
While the term “browser” will gradually diminish, the Back and Forward buttons will become a part of every window in an OS in the future, as we have the close and minimize buttons now. All windows will learn to have tabs. The address bar may not be constantly displayed on the screen. With all these facts and assumptions in mind, we can safely declare that web apps are there to stay here for a long time, but we will see lots of improvements and developments which will be the catalyst of change in our lifestyle.