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Below is a list of articles the Web and Mobile Interest Group has collected on topics which are discussed in the group. Any Web and Mobile IG participant is invited to add links to this page.

Distribution and install

Mobile Browsers

Homescreen Web Apps

  • Windows Phone WebApps
  • Installing Web Apps to homescreen comes to Chrome in beta: fullscreen, integrates into the OS task-switcher (Oct 2013)
  • Mobile web app or web site? (David Megginson, March 2014): “A web app is a loner. It has several advantages over a native mobile app (cross-OS/-device compatibility, avoiding app-store bottlenecks and censorship, more-flexible security model, linkable, etc.) and several disadvantages (can’t handle an Android Intent, weaker notification support), but its plan is clearly to stand on its own, like a native mobile app. […] A web site is a social creature. It’s orthogonal to a native mobile app, because it inhabits a different universe. A web site is RESTful, designed around pages (more generally, “resources”), most of which contain either information a user wants to see with links for navigating to related information, or a means to create/change/delete that information (there’s also typically a search feature). Unlike web apps, web sites embrace the browser chrome”

Packaged Apps

Web apps stores


  • Vision Mobile Developer Economics Survey Q1 2014:
    • “HTML5 sits between iOS and Android in terms of developers below the app poverty line (59% below the line) and has a middle class that is roughly equal to Android. However, it boasts the largest share of publishers that generate very-high revenues (over $50k per app/month).”
    • ”The ability to reach users remains the single most important platform selection criterion, highlighted by 57% of developers as very important. Revenue potential comes in as the fifth most important selection criterion, marked as very important by 44% of developers”
  • Paid Apps On The Decline: an increasing share of iOS apps (90%) are free (TechCrunch, Jul 2013)
  • It's over for paid apps with a few exceptions: “In the following categories, [Distimo] found that at least half of the top ten apps are currently paid: Productivity, Medical, Business, Healthcare & Fitness, Navigation, Catalogs, Lifestyle, Photo & Video, Travel, and Weather” “Distimo’s data confirmed Flurry’s in that it found free applications led most categories, with in-app purchases as a main driver of monetization” (TechCrunch, Oct 2013)
  • App Monetization To Get Tougher Still, With Gartner Predicting 94.5% Of Downloads Will Be Free By 2017 (TechCrunch, Jan 2014)


API Permissions

Secured lifecycle

Encrypted storage

Performance of Web Apps

Native Apps versus Web Apps

(probably to redistribute into other sections?)

User perspective


  • What Has the UR Team Been Up To? Small scale/non-representative study where users talk about the difference between native apps and using the browser.
  • Browsers AND Apps Description of a small scale user study from the Bay Area about apps and browsers.
  • Enabling New Types of Web User Experiences; Scott Jenson; 31-Aug-2013
  • Apps vs the Web (Matt Gemmell, July 2011) “when deploying on the web, from the user’s perspective, you’re probably starting with a disadvantage. There’s cognitive load associated with your app being a bookmark instead of an experience, and there’s an implicit trivialisation which occurs in the user’s mind”. Disadvantages include
    • multiplication of frames of interaction (device, app, browser)
    • browser tabs break UI segmentation for separation of tasks
    • system integration
  • Mobile Considerations in User Experience Design: “Web or Native?” (Aral Balkan, Smashing Mobile, June 2012):
    • “The Web as a platform itself has few user experience consistencies of its own. Although Web applications share common features, there is no “Human Interface Guidelines” document for the Web (maybe there should be).”
    • “The three main areas in which native applications are catching up to Web applications are ease of deployment and access, automatic updates and seamless access to data”
    • “ A continuous client experience — as originally proposed by Joshua Topolsky — lets a user seamlessly continue an experience across devices and contexts. [...] in the age of continuous client experiences, the Web becomes just another client”
    • “We call a content-centric collection of documents a website. A behavior-centric product is called an application (or “app”).”
    • “the nativeness of an application is considerably less of an issue for immersive applications”
  • Breaking Development: Web vs. Apps: (Ben Galbraith & Dion Almaer at BD Conf as reported by LukeW, Apr 2013) “Electronic distribution and ease of installation are relatively even between native apps and the Web. Native apps win in terms of experience.”
  • HTML5 vs. Native: What's a Mobile Developer to Do? (eWeek, Sep 2012)
    • “"Native apps will remain the best choice for the most optimal user experience or for use of specific hardware capabilities or for appealing to the user base of a particular platform. Mobile Web apps will be better suited for employee apps needing access to back-end system or for simpler content oriented apps. HTML5 will further mature for more complex apps over the next couple of years”
  • Hacker News comment on basecamp iphoneapp article (Feb 2013)
    • “Native is good for high fidelity interaction, animations, responding to gestures. However the native APIs are bad for designing "documents" -- that is, layouts where elements flow within a container and push each other around. That means that things that are extremely easy on the web can be painstaking in native UI without much upside. Web views [allow for] higher density”
  • What if the browser disappeared? (Beyond the Code, Feb 2013) “[The Web brings] freedom to shape my experience”
  • Web Browser as an Application Platform: The Lively Kernel Experience (Antero Taivalsaari, Tommi Mikkonen, Dan Ingalls, Krzysztof Palacz, Jan 2008)
    • “The semantics of many browser features are unsuitable for applications. The web browser has a number of historical features that have poorly defined semantics for applications. Consider the 'reload', 'stop', 'back' and 'forward' buttons, for instance. While such navigational features make sense when viewing documents and forms, these features have unclear semantics for applications that have a complex internal state and highly dynamic interaction with the web server. […] Web applications should preferably be able to override such features with application-specific behavior.”

Usage patterns

  • Breaking Development: Web vs. Apps: (Ben Galbraith & Dion Almaer at BD Conf as reported by LukeW, Apr 2013)
    • “At Walmart people using the native app were loyal customers and often interacting in stores. The Walmart mobile website had a different set of users: people coming from search, looking for in and out experiences.”
    • “Web is about reach. That's how you get to the largest amount of users. But native apps win with engagement. ”
  • The Era of AppNation Has Arrived (AllThingsD, May 2012):
    • “the average number of apps per smartphone has jumped from 32 apps to 41, and growth in time spent on app usage outpacing the growth in mobile Web usage on smartphones by a hefty margin” [between Mar 2011 and 2012]
  • An Upper Limit For Apps? New Data Suggests Consumers Only Use Around Two Dozen Apps Per Month (July 2014)
    • “Nielsen found that social networking and search apps still dominate the time we spend in smartphone applications”
    • “The question for mobile companies today is no longer just how to get installed, but how to become one of those some half-dozen apps that gets used monthly.”

Apps Suck

Entreprise software

  • Gartner Says by 2016, More Than 50 Percent of Mobile Apps Deployed Will be Hybrid (Feb 2013)
    • “For applications to leverage location information, notification systems, mapping capabilities and even on-device hardware such as the camera, the applications need to be developed using either hybrid or native architectures. This has caused enterprise developers to consider alternatives to Web application development.”

Developing for mobile on the Web

Developer surveys

  • Developer Economics Q1 2014: Ecosystem wars drawing to a close:
    • ““iOS […] takes third position behind HTML5 in South Asia, South America and Middle East & Africa”
    • “37% of mobile developers use HTML5 as a platform, i.e. to develop mobile websites, or web-apps. An additional 15% of app developers use HTML5 beyond the browser, via hybrid apps or HTML5-to-native tools.”
    • “The appeal of HTML5 as a priority platform for app development is restricted to those use cases where it excels: cross-screen and cross-platform deployment.”
    • “HTML5 can be viewed as both a deployment platform (on-browser) and a technology that can be used beyond the browser (off-browser)”
    • “HTML5 is still far off from being an app ecosystem as it lacks distribution, retailing and monetisation services in the form of a large-scale app store […] In spite of these issues, HTML5 remains a very attractive cross-platform development route for developers, 16% of whom indicate their intention to adopt the platform.”
    • “HTML5 is the priority platform for 14% of mobile developers, down from 17% in Q3 2013. Although this slump is marginal, it is likely that developers that prioritised HTML5 previously have come to terms with the shortcomings of pure web approaches.”
    • “While HTML5 is very close to iOS in terms of developer mindshare, usage of HTML5 as a primary platform is quite low, indicating that the majority of HTML5 users view it as a companion, rather than a priority platform. Lacking large-scale discovery, monetisation and distribution functions, HTML5 continues to be a technology platform rather than a fully-fledged app ecosystem.”
  • Developer Economics Q3 2013: State of the Developer Nation “52% of the developer population uses HTML5 technologies to develop mobile apps” (Vision Mobile, Jul 2013)
  • Kendo UI Survey “70% of the developers surveyed answered «adopt HTML5,» and 14% planned one native implementation per target platform plus one «catch-all» HTML app for all other platforms” (Keydo UI, Feb 2013)
  • Appcelerator Q3 2013 Enterprise Mobility Survey Enterprises 'Very Interested' in Building Apps for: iPhone 80%, iPad 80%, Android Phone 71%, HTML5 Mobile Web Apps 60%, Android tablet 59%, etc. Survey of of 804 companies, of varying sizes, industry and regions (North America 60%, Europe 21%, Asia Pacific 11%, Latin America 7%, Africa 1%).
  • Interview: Todd Anglin on the Kendo UI Developer Survey (W3C Blog, Feb 2013)
    • “about 40% of developers spend time developing the same app or feature for multiple platforms”
    • “80% of developers found HTML5 useful and 70% found it important”
    • “70% of respondents noted HTML5 as their first choice for managing the multi-platform complexity”

Developer Tools

  • “Our research on HTML5 vs native apps in Q3 2013 showed that the key issue in HTML5 development, is not performance or API reach, but the lack of mature development tools.” How can HTML5 compete with Native? (Oct 2013)
  • “The biggest issue for HTML5 is the maturity of tools” .Robert Shilston, Director of FT labs, Financial Times
  • “Even as HTML5 matures, it continues to suffer from a poverty of tooling and the shortage of advanced developer skills to support the full application development process” (Half full or half empty? HTML5's mixed outlook quoting IDC, March 2014)

Bringing Web & Native closer

Hybrid Apps

Porting Native to Web

  • Intel® HTML5 App Porter Tool (Sep 2013) “The Intel® HTML5 App Porter Tool - BETA is an application that helps mobile application developers to port native Apple iOS* code into HTML5, by automatically converting portions of the original code into HTML5”

Linking and Integration