Still, one gets the feeling that if any of the huge platform-producing tech companies could have their way, they’d have us all writing proprietary apps for their platform only. Right this second, the web feels like it’s in a good spot, but it also feels like the native vs. web battle is a swinging pendulum.
As a native application developer I’ve been waiting for the web to replace all native software development SDK’s, and we’re closer now more than ever.
Web browsers can now persist data locally and work in offline modes. Developers can now write code in many different languages and convert that to Web Assembly. The browser is, essentially, the operating system.
At a personal level I want to keep doing native work because it’s nice to use the frameworks as intended and not have to rely on one of the cross platform tools, like React Native, to catch up. But I don’t see a problem with folks choosing web technologies and creating a 100% web app that works great on desktop and mobile.
Another thing worth noting: most native apps do use web technologies. We use the internet to pull data from the web and render it using native OS support instead of web technologies. My app, Stream, uses RSS, Atom, and JSON Feed, feeds from any website provided by the user. That’s all web stuff.
This is a worrisome trend for the web. Mobile is the future. What wins mobile, wins the Internet. Right now, apps are winning and the web is losing.
Mr. Coyier’s piece sounded so familiar I went back through my blog and found a link to Chris Dixon’s piece above. In 2014 folks were worried about native apps beating the web. It hasn’t happened. The web will keep chipping away until it’s all we have or the web is completely replaced by something else.