The web/app pendulum swing

It’s interesting to see the web vs apps pendulum swing back to the web in recent months. From Larry Seltzer’s Can Web standards make mobile apps obsolete?:

What’s the alternative? Well, perhaps the best answer is to go back to the future and do what we do on desktop computers: use the Web and the Web browser. Updates to HTML apps happen entirely on the server, so users get them immediately. There’s no window of vulnerability between the release of a security fix and the user applying the update. So with a capable, HTML-based platform and a well-designed program that makes good use of CSS, one site could support phones, tablets, PCs, and just about anything else with one site.

The primary issue with moving back to the web is mainly what the web has become in recent years. As Maciej Cegłowski points out, we have a website obesity crisis. The talk (which you shoud definitely read) starts like this:

What do I mean by a website obesity crisis?

Here’s an article on GigaOm from 2012 titled “The Growing Epidemic of Page Bloat“. It warns that the average web page is over a megabyte in size.

The article itself is 1.8 megabytes long.

We can’t have it both ways, unfortunately. The only way that the web can become a better mobile platform than apps is if we take the obesity/performance crisis seriously. Otherwise the “it’s too slow!” argument will always win.

For an example of how this idea could work sensibly, see Addy Osmani’s excellent Getting started with Progressive Web Apps.