For the past two years I’ve been in charge of the development of the mobile version of the Jim2 Business Engine at Happen Business. I wanted to share some experiences we’ve had with going mobile.
Before we move on I think it’s important to understand it’s not just html5 vs native as there’s two types of html5 there’s html5 that’s embedded in a native app and there’s html5 that’s used via a browser. In iOS there’s actually a massive performance difference when using embedded html5.
We ended up playing around with native applications, and found everything just worked and worked well. There’s quite a hard mental shift in developing native vs html as the way you create UI is very different. From that point on we been having a blast and we’ve come up with an app that’s provides an amazing user experience. It’s very challenging to put a rich business application onto a small touch screen but it can be done with some hard work.
That said there’s definitely some places for html5, if your a end user type website a mobile friendly website is essential. Even though you might go with a native app for user experience you must also consider that many users like to be in their browser, so having a mobile friendly website(in addition to native) is also important for user experience in this case.
Something else you need to consider, ‘is your app an essential part of a users day’? Then a native app is essential. As our users spend over 40 hours a week working we’re an essential part of the users life, so our choice was an app. But also on the roadmap we have a mobile friend website.
TLDR; avoid embedded html5 because of performance issues eg phonegap. If your a website have a mobile friendly version and maybe an app. If your critical function of a users life then a app is a must and a mobile friendly website is good to have.
FYI many companies that once went html5 have now gone back to native include us, Facebook and Xero.
Ps, if you take a look at Senchas response ‘html5 is ready’ to Facebook’s claim ‘html5 is not ready’ please understand its a bit misleading because the comparison is done in a safari browser and if it was embedded performance wouldn’t have been half as good.