Last night I read the delightful “Web Apps vs. Native Apps Is Still a Thing” by my he-doesn’t-know-me internet pal John Gruber. It’s a great piece, in response to this article from Wired.
The most salient point here:
Andreessen does have a solid point in the fact that app stores are in some ways a pain in the ass — particularly Apple’s App Store, with its deliberative and at times opaque approval process. But app stores are mostly only a pain in the ass for developers, not users.
I don’t think this can be overstated. App stores are incredibly convenient as a computer user. Even as a developer, the fact that I don’t have to think about collecting money when I make an app is – for 99% of apps – worth any pain endured in the opaque approval process.
I’ve had the opportunity to develop a large number of apps and websites at my day job. We build custom apps and websites for clients. So we get the “what should we build” question all the time.
Here’s how I break it down for them.
- Apps are great if you want your customer to take ownership of and be connected with your brand. They are giving you space on their phone. My dead grandfather is always in my heart; your app is always in my pocket. It’s that big a deal.
- Websites are great if you need a communication platform that can reach the largest number of users at any moment. There are hundreds of tools that let you get in somebody’s inbox, their text messages, their feed reader, and draw them back to your website, where you can communicate whatever you want to them.
- Apps are an investment in your end user – you’re giving them a tool that is literally a piece of your business, whether it’s a service component, a calculator, a visualizer. You’re giving them the tool and trusting them to use it for something great.
- Websites are an investment in your public relations and marketing departments. You’re giving them a tool to communicate effectively and play offense.
This doesn’t mean you can’t use apps to communicate marketing messages – and it doesn’t mean you can’t put tools on your website. It’s just where the two platforms shine. Ultimately, they are different things, and I don’t see them converging in the same way that Andreessen does.
Yes, the opaque approval process is a pain in the butt – especially when you are guiding a client through the process, and managing their expectations – but if the problem you’re trying to solve is better solved by a native app than a website, then it’s something you live with so that your users love you.
A few of my friends and co-workers already know this, but I’ve been working on an app in my off hours.
It would be hard to say that this year will be different and not mean it. Teeny, Evie, and I will soon be joined by DeLeeuw Family Member #4. That won’t be the official name. I’m thinking “Bertrand”. Bert.
Teeny produces some amazing stuff with her sewing and craft room. Evie’s twin cousins – also due in the coming months – have inspired her to take on some new projects, and she’s come a very long way on some incredible tactile goods.
Evie is amazing and adorable. Her listening vocabulary is incredible; she can form pretty complex phrases with sign, and she’s starting to verbalize a number of words as well.
I’ve got a few personal projects that I’ve been putting together over the last six months. My hope is that they’ll be released as well this year – ideally before June 30th, Bert’s due date.
Okay, maybe not “Bertrand”.
Anyway, all I’ll say right now is that one of my projects is a website, and the other is an iOS app. Both are nearing completion, and I’ll be spending the next few months polishing one of them for release (although I’ll need to flip a coin to decide which to focus on). Tina’s artwork will also heavily play into the iOS app.
We’re looking forward to the new year, new babies, and new opportunities. I hope all is well with you, and I’ll write you again soon.
So, hey, Andy Ihnatko is a smart guy. So’s Marco Arment.
I don’t know that I entirely disagree when Andy says that consumers lose due to the results of the Samsung / Apple litigation. Maybe I do disagree simply from the fact that it’s not particularly provable, and that there are so many choices in this space that Apple has chosen not to litigate against – at least not yet. Perhaps this is a slippery slope, and Apple will chase others now that it has the taste of victory? On the other hand, I believe Tim Cook when he says he doesn’t care for litigation. Whatever that’s worth.
I can’t say I’m an unbiased voice in this, because I worked (several years ago now) at WCET-TV, a public access TV station that serves the Hudsonville, Georgetown/Jenison, and Grandville communities.
But this is something that has been going on for years, and I think given that there’s real video of the discussion within Georgetown now, it’s a good time to properly comment on the township’s lack of funding, and, frankly, ownership of the station.
In case you’ve not seen it yet, Tina and I are blogging things for Evelyn to read someday. You can find it over here:
I think I’ll keep the “stuff I’m learning about parenting” posts here on my personal space, but I like keeping an archive of fun / special things for Evelyn over there. Feel free to keep an eye on it as you like.
This post is about SOPA/PIPA. It’s not too late, because the fight isn’t over yet.
It sucks having to say goodbye to a client. Especially when your clients are good people, and they’ve treated you fairly.
Unfortunately, I’m in that position right now. It wouldn’t be fair for me to pretend that I can still support people whose websites, and sometimes businesses, depend on me and my services.
Doing a little tweaking to the ol’ blog here. Picked up a nice responsive design theme for WordPress based on Skeleton. It’s not perfect, but it’s nice to start with something solid and work from there.
So, have a little look around. I’ve eliminated some of the busy stuff, and I’ll probably trim it further still. I’m going to try to get better at consistently blogging.
Rock on, all.