You are previewing Mobile Design and Development.

Mobile Design and Development

Cover of Mobile Design and Development by Brian Fling Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  1. Mobile Design and Development
    1. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
    2. Preface
      1. Who This Book Is For
      2. How This Book Is Organized
      3. Conventions Used in This Book
      4. Using Code Examples
      5. How to Contact Us
      6. Safari® Books Online
      7. Acknowledgments
    3. 1. A Brief History of Mobile
      1. In the Beginning
      2. The Evolution of Devices
    4. 2. The Mobile Ecosystem
      1. Operators
      2. Networks
      3. Devices
      4. Platforms
      5. Operating Systems
      6. Application Frameworks
      7. Applications
      8. Services
    5. 3. Why Mobile?
      1. Size and Scope of the Mobile Market
      2. The Addressable Mobile Market
      3. Mobile As a Medium
      4. The Eighth Mass Medium: What’s Next?
      5. Ubiquity Starts with the Mobile Web
    6. 4. Designing for Context
      1. Thinking in Context
      2. Taking the Next Steps
    7. 5. Developing a Mobile Strategy
      1. New Rules
      2. Summary
    8. 6. Types of Mobile Applications
      1. Mobile Application Medium Types
    9. 7. Mobile Information Architecture
      1. What Is Information Architecture?
      2. Mobile Information Architecture
      3. The Design Myth
    10. 8. Mobile Design
      1. Interpreting Design
      2. The Mobile Design Tent-Pole
      3. Designing for the Best Possible Experience
      4. The Elements of Mobile Design
      5. Mobile Design Tools
      6. Designing for the Right Device
      7. Designing for Different Screen Sizes
    11. 9. Mobile Web Apps Versus Native Applications
      1. The Ubiquity Principle
      2. When to Make a Native Application
      3. When to Make a Mobile Web Application
    12. 10. Mobile 2.0
      1. What Is Mobile 2.0?
    13. 11. Mobile Web Development
      1. Web Standards
      2. Designing for Multiple Mobile Browsers
      3. Device Plans
      4. Markup
      5. CSS: Cascading Style Sheets
      6. JavaScript
    14. 12. iPhone Web Apps
      1. Why WebKit?
      2. What Makes It a Mobile Web App?
      3. Markup
      4. CSS
      5. JavaScript
      6. Creating a Mobile Web App
      7. Web Apps As Native Apps
      8. PhoneGap
      9. Tools and Libraries
    15. 13. Adapting to Devices
      1. Why Is Adaptation a “Necessity”?
      2. Strategy #1: Do Nothing
      3. Strategy #2: Progressive Enhancement
      4. Strategy #3: Device Targeting
      5. Strategy #4: Full Adaptation
      6. What Domain Do I Use?
      7. Taking the Next Step
    16. 14. Making Money in Mobile
      1. Working with Operators
      2. Working with an App Store
      3. Add Advertising
      4. Invent a New Model
    17. 15. Supporting Devices
      1. Having a Device Plan
      2. Device Testing
      3. Desktop Testing
      4. Usability Testing
    18. 16. The Future of Mobile
      1. The Opportunity for Change
    19. Index
    20. About the Author
    21. Colophon
    22. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly

Chapter 9. Mobile Web Apps Versus Native Applications

When should you make a mobile web application versus a native mobile application, or a downloadable application designed for a specific platform, like a Java application or an iPhone? It wasn’t that long ago that people didn’t even bother asking the question; every mobile application was native.

The mobile web historically has been so horrendous to deal with that the only way to create a compelling experience was to go native. Assuming that native applications will immediately create compelling experience is misleading, though, as dealing with native applications across multiple platforms isn’t exactly a walk in the park, either. Device fragmentation exists across devices, because if you are dealing with native APIs or mobile web browsers, it is an obstacle that cannot be avoided.

But like most things in the mobile ecosystem, the question of which path to choose comes down to money. Native applications can produce a lot of short-term revenue for developers and operators alike, especially with the proliferation of app stores. Though traffic to mobile websites and web applications produce a sizable chunk of operator revenue in data charges, developers assume they get nothing. This isn’t to say that making money from the mobile web can’t be done; it’s just that few know how to choose the right path to monetization.

In this chapter, I discuss the reasons why you should create a native application, but first, let’s start by setting the ...

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