Apps for smart-phones: what is the best way? Go native and design for a proprietary marketplace such as the Apple App Store, or go wild and use the emerging HTML5 approach and design one app to cover all platforms?
A native application will always be faster, and probably be better at local data storage, and more tightly specified in appearance. But if fast enough is good enough, your data can be stored on a server, and you can tolerate some variation in appearance due to different combinations of browser and operating system, then a web based app is really worth considering.
So what is involved in creating a web based app?
- A server is required to host the app. There are many commercial solutions available. We have experimented with the Google App Engine because it offers enterprise grade infrastructure with very low barriers to entry. Currently it is free for low usage.
- Typically you will require access to a database server - this is also included with the Google App Engine.
- You will need to be able to write the code in python or some similar. We like python because it is freely available on all of the major platforms
- Finally, if you want your app to run on any smart-phone or tablet PC your designer will have to understand the principles of platform independent websites.
Try out q-action our first commercial app that is usable on just about any platform!