Someday, All Mobile Apps Will Be Built in HTML. But Not Today.

Mar 29, 2017 | by Peter Shashkin

It’s a mobile app world, and we just live in it. But for those working on the “next big thing,” there’s a conundrum – everyone knows we should be building apps in HTML, but not every device out there runs it as smoothly as it should.

You see, many organizations hope that HTML will work everywhere and will significantly reduce the amount of time to bring new apps to market. However, these apps won’t be perceived by the audience as high-quality apps until mobile CPU performance gets closer to – or even matches – that of PCs. Customers want speed – and they won’t wait for it (no pun intended).

While 79 percent of consumers would retry a mobile app only once or twice if it failed to work the first time, only 16 percent would give it more than two attempts. Poor mobile app experience is likely to discourage users from using an app again.

-Y Media Labs

So, how do we bridge the gap today, and leave ourselves room to go the HTML route later?

The answer is one we see a lot in technology as we transition from one platform to another – a hybrid approach. However, many custom-built hybrid solutions suffer from lagginess, which can be exacerbated by OS updates or new hardware releases. So in this case, I’d recommend leaning any hybrid approach more to the “native”-based side of things rather than HTML-based. That brings me to another option that works as a healthy compromise between the two. Xamarin.

Since today’s hardware hasn't yet caught up with the requirements for smooth-running HTML, applications built for today’s users should be native- or Xamarin-based.

Xamarin is a free, cross-platform framework, which allows developers to build native applications. While it’s cross-platform, you still need to know Android or iOS API to achieve ultimate flexibility. However, if you’re building apps on top of Xamarin Forms framework, you need to learn only one language – XAML – in order to be able to build fast, native-feeling apps for all platforms.

Now, while Xamarin Forms is still not a solution for every problem developers face while waiting for 100% HTML support, it can definitely be a solution for vast majority of apps suffering from the lagginess of other HTML hybrid implementations.

Speed. Efficiency. Native-type performance. You can have it all while waiting for the hardware to catch up to HTML.

So, when faced with developing an app today, and looking forward to the HTML-based future: if you can’t do HTML, go hybrid. If your hybrid solution isn’t performing, consider Xamarin. You – and your users – will be glad you did.

Want to know more about Xamarin? We’ve got another blog with a bit of a deeper dive into this innovative platform. Or, contact me to talk about how to leverage Xamarin for your mobile app development.