Hello Dear Readers!
I read recently a quote by a publisher saying local apps may be a temporary phenomenon and that web apps would be the future. Before I comment on that, here are my definitions of the two:
A Local App is a program that is installed locally on a device. iPhone apps are Local Apps and they run right on top of the iPhone's iOS operating system.
A Web App is a program that runs locally on a device, but inside a web browser. The browser in turn runs right on top of the device's operating system.
What are the pro's and con's?
Local Apps are made specifically for the device they run on. Nothing unexpected should happen. E.g. menus and buttons will look the same on all iPhones. The Local App may be faster than a Web App on the same device. The Local App should start faster than a Web App, because it is loaded from local memory instead of being downloaded. The Local App may have more screen space, because there's no browser window to fill up space. The device's producer has more power over the user interface of Local Apps. A disadvantage about Local Apps is that each app-update needs to be pushed onto each device. A Local App must be developed for each type of device that it's supposed to run on.
Web Apps aren't made specifically for any device, because they're made to run in a browser. That means they will automatically run on every device with a browser. They may run differently in different browsers though, due to differences in the browsers. A further advantage is that there's only one version of the Web App and that's the latest version. This version is downloaded when the app is started. A Web App depends on Internet access to be loaded. No Internet access means no app, but this problem can be partly overcome by storing the app in the browser's cache.
Now back to the statement about Local Apps possibly being a temporary phenomenon and that web apps would be the future. I've seen apps move from servers to devices and back to servers again. Where the apps were kept has depended on where they were best kept. Storing an app is no big deal with such low prices of storage as we now have. Downloading apps is no big deal either, because downloading speeds are so high. Both storage and connection speeds are improving in price and performance. That's why the local versus web may come to depend on something else in the future. I think that something could be TRUST. It could also just depend on the type of app. One type might better be a Web App, while another type might better be a Local App. Time will tell.