A lively and exciting debate (despite the old material!), well-run by Ewan MacLeod, Editor, Mobile Industry Review @ew4n
- Andrew Betts @triblondon
- HTML5 apps for FT
- Simon Arora, Biz Dev Mgr, Keynote DeviceAnywhere @devanywhere
- Initially all about native
- More and more customers asking for HTML5
- More platforms with a single codebase
- No need for appstore or marketplace certification
- Wider reach to monetise services
- Jose Valles, Head of Bluevia @josevalles49
- Been an HTML5 supporter for a long time
- Launching FirefoxOS device
- Alex Caccia, President, Marmalade @marmaladeapps
- one of the leading cross-platform build platforms
- take advantage of ARM instruction set…
- two of top three games in US app store built using marmalade
- HTML5 just doesn’t provide enough power - need native for performance
- HTML5 does not solve fragmentation
- Chris Book, Bardowl @bookmeister
- native gives close access to device APIs
- deal with different network situations
- HTML5 doesn’t work for audio streaming and caching
- Nick Barnett, CEO, Mippin @docnickb
- make app builders for operators and manufacturers
- provide both HTML5 and native app builders
- it’s more about the business model and distribution
- if you want to be in the app store, you have to be native
Last app you paid for?
- AB: Open House London
- because their website is appalling and doesn’t work
- SA: Travel Deluxe
- native london travel
- JV: probably a skateboarding app, or tripit or spotify
- AC: Expense Calculator
- CB: New Star Soccer
- 10 games free, then in-app purchases
- NB: International Rules of Yacht Racing
All native apps. If you want to buy an app, it has to be in an app store…
What about Facebook?
- AC: Hardware platform is moving faster than anything else
- If you come up against an issue, you’re against the browser
- The only way past is to know the details of the insides of the browser
- Can’t solve it by logic (terrible for project management!)
FT web app UX
- EM: FT webapp has to go through local cache expanding step before starting
- AB: equivalent to installing an app from the store
- if you say no, it still works; but in a potentially limited way
- actually a benefit: allows levels of access
Stats from deviceanywhere
- SA: out of 100 customers, top 25 are looking at HTML5
- have a lot of enterprise customers
- looking to increase their reach
- NB: these customers already have iOS and Android apps?
- SA: yes, looking to extend reach across devices without decent appstores
HSBC Business Banking
- EM: it’s an utterly crap HTML5 experience
- banks say they’d love to do HTML5, but security say no!
- JV: why then do they have online banking?
- want to keep customer experience
- CB: native NatWest app is better than web experience…
- haven’t been able to update their website in 12 years!
- loads of apps where you use native app first rather than web site
- e.g. Hailo, National Rail Enquiries
- NB: cross-platform HTML5 is a nonsense
- at Mippin, we build web app builders for each platform separately
- AB: that’s just ‘cos you’re not doing it very well!
- FT use same codebase for Android, iPhone, iPad
- NB: but Windows Phone 7 UX is completely different from iOS
- customers expect something different
- so you need to write your UI differently anyway
- may as well write it natively each time
How do we resolve vested interests? And designing for format?
- AB: each format and each channel will have differing expectations
- if you define your constraints narrowly enough, natively will always be better
- if you have a broad strategy and vision, then web technology will win
- what about TV? what about kiosks?
- a single web technology solution will adapt to those situations
- single code base works with touch, keyboard and gestures too!
- at a recent hackday, FT Labs connected a Kinect and controlled the app without touching the screen
- the FT webapp works in the way that the people reading the paper are used to — independent of device expectations
- AC: want a fine degree of control over what it looks like and how it behaves
- in gaming environment, you really want to make the app shine
- CB: isn’t this all about the 30% that Apple want to take out of the subscription?
- AB: it’s not (exclusively) about the 30% — it’s more about a direct relationship with the customer
- enables customers to switch devices without losing their subscription
- CB: but Spotify have native apps and still go cross platform whilst keeping relationship with customers
- AB: if Apple changed their rules to say that Spotify would have to give a percentage of their revenue, then Spotify would be stuffed
- NB: if the Daily Mail went the FT route would people get their news elsewhere?
Is it fair to say that HTML5 is destroying usability of mobile platforms?
- JV: no, it’s building something
- CB: Google Maps browser version just not as good as previous native version
- NB: mippin use unique per platform wrappers
- PhoneGap works well for iOS, not so well for Android
- BlackBerry has WebWorks
- hardcore gaming is a pretty specialist use case
- CA: use the right tool for the right job
- SDK supports HTML5 content within an app
- and then you can switch out and use the native with ease
- Audience: built a PhoneGap app and was appalled by performance
- scrolling 50-100 names was just not good enough
Native provides consistent experience?
- Spotify on some platforms lets you order playlist, Android doesn’t
- if been written on HTML5, then would have worked fine
- AB: people put 70% of budget into iOS
- then 20% into Android
- then 5% into Windows and Blackberry…
- not surprising that non-iOS apps are crap
- JV: 700K apps in Apple appstore, so discovery there is hard too
- don’t see a difference
- AB: FT not in a unique position – shared by lots of big brands
- for small companies, app store is probably a good thing
- FT have specialist native apps in the store which point users in the direction of the web app
Prisoners of the market owners?
- NB: usual retail model: retailer takes 30-40% of revenue
- and benefits can be considerable!
- if you’re in Brazil in 2 years time with Boot2Gecko devices, then the mindset could be completely different
- Dan Appelquist: isn’t that the issue — app stores are dragging us back into the old model that the open internet is breaking us out of
- CB: yes, the dominance is worrying
- but it’s a business making opportunity for startups
- CA: native is not closed
- hardware manufacturers trying to make best user experience
Security in native?
- CB: difficult to securely store offline data
- premium audio streaming is not yet possible in HTML5
- EM: a bank developer said “the security people want a native app for encryption reasons”
- AB: why does the online banking not just work on the phone?
- yes, you can have encrypted storage, but do you need it
Best way in for mobile development
- NB: use an app template toolkit for a size that fits
- learn to be a mobile developer…
- what if you just want to see your idea?
- CA: most dangerous word when you start is “just”…
- AB: the reason for the standard layouts on web is ads
- have to build the design to fit the adverts
- there’s been a boost in design creativity from moving to new formats
- you can take that newfound focus on user experience and bring it back to the desktop
- you’d never expect a mobile app to have big gutters down the side
- unless it’s an iOS 5 app on an iPhone 5…
- NB: issue for HTML5 apps
- AB: W3C working on notifications as a spec…
New users from India, China & Brazil won’t be in Apple or Google’s ecosystem
- NB: won’t be a technology decision — more of a distribution
Great new debugging suites for Android Chrome and iOS Safari
- Dominic Travers: great time to develop HTML5 apps!
Will we still be arguing in 5 years’ time?
- AB: native will always be able to innovate faster
- web will be behind, but standardised
- FT’s Android app is partly native for performance
- as soon as the browser catches up, they’ll remove the native part
- W3C coremob.org community group
- UKTI Competition Final 29th October
- 7th Anniversary in November