Blurring the Line Between Native and Web Apps

Whether you prefer to develop native or web apps, there is without a shadow of a doubt still a huge advantage of native apps. This got me thinking though. The line is slowly blurring between what we now consider “web” apps and what we consider “native” apps. One good example of this is the newest redesign of Twitter’s mobile site.

There are many web technologies that are being worked on and improved at an incredible rate. Those technologies are becoming well supported by modern browsers. Even Microsoft realizes this and has been working hard to get Internet Explorer up to current standards that web developers have come to expect.

Perhaps in the not too distant future, the delineation between “web” and “native” will give way. Instead of drawing a line in the sand separating the two, we’ll just refer to these things as apps. What will matter more is what development tools and languages you decide to use to get to your destination point.

Brent Simmons touched on this recently:

There will be times when you won’t know which kind of app you’re looking at or how to categorize it. I think that’s very cool.

This is how I feel about things as well. This future may not be five years away, but I can see us getting there relatively soon. If you think Twitter’s mobile app is a good example, just imagine where web technologies will be ten years from now. Speaking of Twitter’s mobile app, have you tried it on Safari on your iPhone? Noticed how when you try to scroll the list it feels smooth? That’s because huge strides have been made in javascript to get that kind of iOS rubber band scrolling performance.

I still love my native apps, but the next five to ten years in web technology advancements are going to be one hell of a ride.