In today's increasingly mobile environment, it's important for developers to make sure they have considered all potential elements that go into the creation of a successful application. However, this is easier said than done as the mobile marketplace continues to be fragmented by a variety of devices, OSes and specific hardware requirements that each need to be addressed with app support. While it would seem that a cross-platform approach like HTML5 development would be favored in this respect, developers are still using native methods in their app building process. Although this can help users better utilize the device itself, a native strategy takes a substantial amount of time and resources to carry out successfully.
A mobile device has a substantial amount of capabilities that it brings directly to the user's fingertips, allowing the individual to pick and choose the programs they prefer to use. This development has made it more difficult for app creators to deploy successful software meant solely for business purposes. With the consumerization of IT, consumers have experienced fluid interfaces and functional products that are not as restricting as enterprise software. This means that company developers need to appeal directly to the users desire for convenience and capable tools. Through this decision, it's harder to make a case for Web apps that are not as seamless as native products, although they can provide similar skills.
Decline of the Web facilitated by mobile needs
The mobile application development process is fairly complex due to the amount of factors that must be addressed, but many are choosing to go with native components despite the substantial challenges. It should then come as no surprise that desktop usage has now been overtaken by mobile processes, considering the fact that more organizations are integrating these devices into their operations. Gigaom contributor Mathew Ingram noted that while bigger app developers are becoming more popular on user screens, this often relegates others to irrelevance. This is a long way from the prediction that Web would be the preferred platform, but there is still time. The main issue is that while the Web is focused on connecting elements together, this process hardly ever happens in mobile applications, making it possible to miss out on substantial opportunities.
"Even app makers whose entire business is content, like the New York Times, seem to include links begrudgingly, if at all," Ingram wrote. "It may be imperceptible, but the loss of that kind of connection could have very real repercussions - and they likely won't become obvious until it's too late."
Can the Web bounce back to power?
Only a few short years ago, the Internet was the most powerful source of information and processes available. However, there is now the mantra "There's an app for that," which is becoming more true every day. Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen believed that by running apps through the cloud and having a Web browser be the foundation, users could have devices that were more reliable and responsive while reducing the costs to purchase and maintain the hardware itself, according to The Guardian. Despite the appealing nature of this prediction, the fact is that the apps still need offline capabilities in cases where an Internet connection simply isn't available. This can easily be achieved through a file system that backs up documents and provides access to resources in the event on an Internet outage.
"[A]ll you have to do is provide a storage mechanism (a.k.a. a file system), local copies of your cloud apps, a runtime environment that can host the apps, a local Web server that your browser can talk to… The inventory of software modules that are needed to run the 'Browser OS' in the absence of a connection looks a lot like a conventional operating system… but without a real OS's expressive power and efficiency," The Guardian stated.