Jo Rabin, who's leading the push by web standards body W3C to get web app performance up to scratch, is optimistic web apps will eventually be the default choice for building the majority of commercial and business apps, while the article weighs up just how much web technologies need to be improved before this could happen.
Here at Bluedog we know web applications are definitely the foundation of world-class software.
Jo Rabin believes native apps are generally first to gain access to new platform-specific hardware features — such as navigating using a phone's GPS and accelerometer or taking pictures with a phone's camera. According to Rabin, if a particular hardware feature becomes popular, standards to implement that feature in the browser will always follow. Work is taking place within W3C to standardise APIs for web technologies to access many of the features found on modern smartphones. Ongoing work this year includes setting out a system-level API to allow a web app to manage a device's contacts book, a messaging API for sending and receiving SMS and MMS, new mechanisms for capturing photos and recordings, new event triggers that could handle mouse, pen and touch inputs, a new push API to allow web apps to receive messages in the background, new media queries for responsive web design, an API for exchanging information using NFC and precise control over resource loading times in a web document.
Since the mid-nineies. the design and implementation of dynamic web-based applications has captured the interest of software developers and customers alike. With a multi-tier architecture, we've seen the evolution of scripting languages, SQL databases to back them up, and XML as a means to simplify data. Developers today are adept at session handling, working with non-desktop browser clients (such as mobiles). Architected correctly, web apps implement web services and other service-oriented concepts to achieve scalability and security. This results in huge usability gains in the web context.