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Looking Beyond HTML5 and Native App War

One of the most opinionated topic of the year has been about whether to use HTML5 or go the Native route for mobile application development. While each side is well armed with arguments and data to prove their points, I wonder why the debate?

What’s being lost in this battle is a much bigger issue that needs immediate attention. First, one being the inability of the traditional web architecture to flex, scale, or respond to the needs of a good mobile experience. The new mobile requirements, today, are outpacing the old workarounds of the web architecture, to a point where a collapse is waiting to happen.

Second, most enterprises do not know how to make an investment plan for their mobile apps, and most of the times it is a guesswork. With unclear objectives, no key performance indicators, and lacking tools to assess and optimize programs, proving return on investment is a major challenge.

Old Web Architecture Challenges

Mobile’s first challenge to the old web architecture is spotty networks, dropped connections and long pauses between service requests. Since the mobile devices can’t count on uninterrupted connections, there is a need of atomized components that keep mobile apps functioning when offline.

To add to the list, since the anywhere/anytime usage habits of mobile users has increased transaction volumes through apps, there is a clear necessity for the architectures to scale elastically. Furthermore, to respond to the velocity of releases and feedback of an app requires software development agility to build apps on any mobile device and the ability to recompose the services that drive these experiences on the back end. Therefore, there is a need of an architecture that allows developers to insert, update, or replace individual components without degrading the service at any point.

The failures of the web centric model has driven yet another change — need for open API’s for aggregation of internal and external services. Great mobile experiences integrate components from both internal and external systems into simple, task oriented apps. Therefore, there is a need for mobile-optimized open API’s backed by a scalable cloud architecture that are able to collect data from any source and are able to optimize it for mobile application.

Enterprises should realize that there is a much bigger issue than the mere HTML5 vs. native debate. More emphasis needs to be placed on the question, “has my mobile application created an immersive, compelling experience that adds real value for my customers?” Organizations that ignore the above limitations of the old web architecture may find themselves disrupted by mobile savvy competitors, for a simple reason, that mobile signals nothing less than the rise of a post —Web world.

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