Appery.io aims to end the HTML5 vs native debate

One thing no one can seem to agree on is whether a cross-platform approach to building mobile apps will ever match native techniques.

The Heat Meter includes a mobile application that allows homeowners to monitor real time energy use and compare it to others in the area. Credit: Image credit: IDG News Service/Nick Barber

Appery.io is a company that has been banging the same drum for a number of years. Essentially, Appery sits in the middle of a huge argument. On the one hand are those people who are adamant that only native mobile applications (i.e. mobile applications built specifically for the device or operating system upon which they work) can deliver the sort of functionality and fidelity that consumers demand. On the other end of the spectrum are those who suggest that the agility that HTML5, with its ability to "write once and run anywhere," more than overcomes any perceived or real fidelity loss from this approach.

Appery delivers a low-code platform where mobile applications can be developed and deployed. The platform itself combines a cloud-based rapid development environment, integrated back-end services, and middleware that aims to simplify integration with enterprise systems and cloud services. 

Appery has seen good success, but every time I write about them I get feedback from my iOS or Android developer friends that, while useful, a cross-platform approach simply doesn't cut it. To answer those criticisms, Appery is today announcing a new automatic app update capability which should further help the agility aspects of development.

As it currently stands, developers have to wait up to two weeks for their updated apps to be approved and available on the app store, even longer if initially rejected. Using Appery's new function, after initial submission, updates are made automatically. While not actually fundamentally changing the "are HTML5 or native apps better?" battleground, Appery believes that this feature will deliver big benefits in terms of distribution and will, therefore, put more pressure on those pesky native app developers to switch allegiances.

MyPOV

Don't get me wrong, app distribution is a pain, all the more for applications which regularly change. While fairly static applications aren't so much of a distribution challenge, given that once they're out, they're pretty stable, organizations increasingly look to innovate upon their apps on a frequent basis.

So, from the distribution perspective, this is a good thing. But that's not the point.

The aforementioned people who harp on about native fidelity every time I write a cross-platform post have real concerns about the assertion that cross-platform is "good enough." In their eyes, there are so many device-specific APIs and features that any cross-platform approach misses the finesse that a native app delivers. And this release doesn't change that a bit.

Of course, I feel for Appery. The reality is that there is little they can do to win this battle. The purists really don't want to move to a cross-platform model. But I suspect that Appery, despite its positioning, isn't really targeting the native app purists. Instead, it wants to secure the massive number of web and traditional application developers who know they need to go mobile. Those undecided developers are looking for a quick and easy way to jump on the mobile bandwagon, and by easing their app distribution woes, Appery helps deliver upon that aim.

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