Mobile Web App Platform
Top Mobile App Platforms for the Web
Last Updated: Dec 23, 2021
Best Examples of Web Apps
Today, most people interact with the web through their mobile devices. This has led to something called "responsive web design." The best examples of web apps will be easy to use on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Responsive design simply means that a website can be viewed on any size of screen and still look great.
A step above this is the Progressive Web App. With the best hybrid app framework 2021, companies can create a Progressive Web App that acts like both a web app and a native mobile app. You can even convert web app to mobile app, either by wrapping it in another framework or by using a PWA.
Some great PWAs include Starbucks,s Pinterest, and Uber. These PWAs look like web apps or websites (although websites are static and web apps are dynamic), but can also call mobile native functions such as providing notifications, GPS tracking, and more. PWAs take the best out of mobile web and native apps to create a great user experience.
Many companies are moving toward mobile applications because more people are using mobile devices. If you want to capture the most user attention, you need a PWA.
Some hybrid apps examples include Instagram, EverNote, and SWORKIT. Hybrid mobile app development is mostly considered defunct. It's a way of making a web app that is then wrapped in a container and functions as a mobile app; you can wrap a website up in a container and use it as a downloadable/executable. But this really marries the worst of a mobile app and a web app; you end up with an app that has to be downloaded but doesn't always work if you're not connected to the internet. Comparatively, a PWA adds together the benefits of a mobile app and a web app.
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Mobile Web App Platform
What exactly is a mobile web app, a native web app, and hybrid web app? Let's start with the mobile web app definition. A mobile web app is the mobile version of a web app. A web app differs from a website because it's dynamic rather than static. Look at Facebook on a desktop computer and then on a mobile device. You'll see that the mobile web app platform looks a lot different, even though it's the same site.
A Mobile Matters podcast episode discusses why companies are now moving toward a mobile-first philosophy. A Progressive Web App can use mobile web services and mobile native services, thereby giving it the benefits of both. Look at a PWA tutorial to learn more about how PWAs are built and what their advantages can be.
Mobile Web App Examples
So, let's take a deeper look at some mobile web app examples, progressive web app examples, and hybrid app examples.
Instagram is a good mobile web app example. It's a single platform that operates differently on the web and on a mobile device. Comparatively, Pinterest is a PWA; a mobile web application that also includes native mobile services. Pinterest can be added to your phone's icons and can send you notifications on your phone for better engagement. But Pinterest doesn't need to be downloaded, one of the major advantages of a Progressive Web App vs native app or a mobile web app vs native app.
Finally, you can look at the Facebook app compared to the Facebook Messenger app. The Facebook app is an app that you need to download to your phone, but it's actually a hybrid app. It cannot function offline because it's really just a container for Facebook's existing website. Meanwhile, the Facebook Messenger app is a native app; while it can't function offline (because it does need the internet), it's entirely separately programmed from the Facebook platform.
What Is a Native App?
What is a native mobile app? There are some great ones. In general, the best native mobile apps are apps that just can't be done in a PWA; they need too many resources. When a native app can be made into a PWA, a PWA is generally better.
To better understand native app development, let's look at the examples. Netflix is a native app made with native app development tools. Spotify is another native app. Both of these show the hallmarks of native mobile app development. They have to do complex resource-intensive processes.
Other apps that use a native mobile app development framework include Slack, MS Teams, and Asana — business-oriented native applications. But you can see the disadvantages of native mobile app development technologies. They're restricted to specific platforms, they have to be downloaded, and they will always live on your device.
Consider that PWAs, instead, allow any operating system to have the same UX across the app on any device. So, you wouldn't need a different tutorial for the Android version of MS Teams and the iOS version of MS Teams. PWAs don't need to be downloaded, they can be updated any time, and they don't have to be accepted into the app store.
Some things, such as mobile games, make more sense as a native game. But many enterprise applications make more sense as a PWA, because it would make them a single platform that needs to be maintained, rather than multiple platforms that have to be programmed and designed for.
List of Native Apps
While PWAs are the future, there are a limited number of use cases under which native apps work better. Here's a list of native apps and native app examples that make more sense:
- Spotify. A music finding and music sharing app, Spotify needs Bluetooth access for its radio-based app.
- Pandora. Like Spotify, the native app for Pandora makes more sense because it can access Bluetooth.
- Fitbit. Many fitness trackers and smartwatches need Bluetooth to sync, so they won't work as PWAs.
A native mobile app that needs Bluetooth, for instance, is always going to be better than a PWA because PWAs can't presently access Bluetooth. But this won't always be true as PWAs are gaining more functionality all the time.
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Native App vs Hybrid App
What are the pros and cons of hybrid vs native apps? We can take a look at some native vs hybrid Android apps to better understand it.
Consider the fact that Facebook developed React Native. React Native essentially creates a hybrid app; it's really a website that functions within a container as a mobile application.
A hybrid app can be easier to manage than a native app because you still need to manage a single platform. Your web-enabled website can be translated into a native application so that it can operate for all intents and purposes as a native application.
But when it comes to native vs hybrid Android apps, the benefits are really development time. To a user, the native vs hybrid app comparison will be virtually identical. To a user, both apps work effectively, although native apps may be able to connect offline and hybrid apps cannot.
When it comes to native vs web vs hybrid, it's about access. A web app is generally accessed via a browser, whereas both hybrid and native apps are downloaded and installed. And between a React Native vs Hybrid app, they should look identical to an end-user, just as a hybrid vs native app will.
There are both hybrid vs native apps pros and cons. Native apps tend to be cleaner and less resource-intensive, plus they can be potentially used offline. Hybrid apps tend to be easier to develop for and easier to maintain.
Difference Between Native App and Web App
What are some of the top web apps in the world? Let's look at some web app examples to explore the difference between a web app vs mobile app.
Let's take a look at some of the most popular web apps in the world: Netflix and Hulu. These streaming services function as both a web app and a mobile app, which helps to understand the differences.
In the webview vs native, Netflix and Hulu both look very similar wherever you pull them up. The native app vs web app is similar, but there are notable differences. The web app platform for Netflix is purely a way for people to stream and archive media. The native app for Netflix also allows users to download shows and movies straight to their devices.
When it comes to a native app vs web app, native apps can take advantage of mobile features such as downloading to the device. But there are native app vs web app pros and cons; the native app has to be actually installed. Compare the Netflix mobile site with the Netflix app, though, and you'll see the Netflix app performs better and can do things like screencasting.
So, the difference between native app and web app is that native apps can take advantage of greater resources and functionality. That's the core difference between web application and mobile application platforms. That being said, a Progressive Web App provides native functionality even within a web platform.
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