Alright, so here’s the truth!
Mobile phones have become an intricate part of our lives. Mobile usage has outpaced desktop usage (even when it comes to browsing the web). Mobile phones have captivated the worldwide web with page views upward of 51.2 percent in 2018.
Pew Research explains, “As adoption of advanced mobile devices such as smartphones has exploded in recent years, consumers have grown increasingly comfortable using their phones to transfer money, purchase goods, and engage in other types of financial transactions.”
Even social media juggernauts like Facebook and Twitter have achieved eminence with the help of a mobile-first strategy.
YouTube mobile revenue continues to climb year over year; and more than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices
Eighty percent of active users on Twitter access the platform via a mobile device
These trends may suggest that developers should invest more time into creating mobile apps or that companies should put their web apps on the back-burner. So does this mean the glorious reign of the web is coming to an end? Is web development doomed? Let’s take a closer look at why web development is immortal.
The immortality of web development
1. Business logic will always be written with back end web technologies
By definition business logic is, “The programming that manages communication between an end user interface and a database. The main components of business logic are business rules and workflows. A business rule describes a specific procedure; a workflow consists of the tasks, procedural steps, required input and output information, and tools needed for each step of that procedure. Business logic describes the sequence of operations associated with data in a database to carry out the business rule.”
In other words, business logic encodes real-world business rules in algorithms that make an app run properly. Business logic has always been written in PHP, Java, Node.js, Python, Asp .NET, Ruby on Rails and similar technologies. Whether you design a mobile or web application, without business logic and a back end, it’s no more than a pretty user interface.
2. Mobile apps are dependent on the web
Now you know that you need web technology to write back end business logic. But another major conundrum arises: connecting the backend database with the client side app. This is where the RESTful API becomes imperative.
RESTful API, also known as a RESTful web service, is an application program interface that uses the principles of REST and the HTTP protocol to perform GET, PUT, POST, DELETE. It works as a communication layer between the front end (what a user sees) and the server. Just like mobile app business logic, this communication layer also relies on web development.
3. Web interfaces are preferred for productivity
Almost all major web applications have mobile versions in the application stores. You name it, from video streaming and social media platforms like YouTube, Netflix, Vimeo, Vine, Facebook and Twitter to communication and productivity apps Skype, Zoom, Gmail, Google Drive, LinkedIn, Trello, etc. – they offer mobile versions that are a huge success.
Although there is a mobile app for everything, it doesn’t mean an app can handle everything. When it comes to productive work (e.g., drafting documents, curating and analyzing data or project management) a web application is generally the first choice. For instance, web apps like Trello, Slack, Jira, Google Docs, Google Sheets, etc. have sophisticated mobile apps but when it comes to a need for maximum efficiency and comfort, they are no match for their respective web apps.
4. Mobile screen size and OS limitations
Mobile phones have small screens and different operating systems. Both of these factors can be considered as drawbacks. Although the mobile phones nowadays are equipped with high-resolution screens, the display size is not convenient for tasks that are easily completed on a laptop or desktop.
Additionally, varied operating systems (OS) can become a vexing issue as it pertains to the different user interfaces (UI), user experiences (UX), coding languages, audience behavior, business models and app store requirements.
5. Microservices and serverless architecture are both web-based
Serverless architecture eliminates the hassle of setting-up and maintaining a server by providing a virtual server to run an app. While microservices or microservice architecture is the structure where each module or service of the app is linked separately for a single functionality and each service has a different code base managed by an individual team.
Microservice and serverless architecture provide amazing benefits and thus they are widely used in mobile apps. Furthermore, they are web-based. Thus, if a mobile app is using serverless or microservice architecture, it will be dependent on web development.
6. Progressive web apps are the future of mobile
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are considered the future of mobile apps. They are swift, extremely light, work in browser and function just like native apps. Even companies like Twitter, Pinterest, Forbes, Alibaba and BookMyShow have adopted PWAs and noticed a considerable spike in conversions and user-engagement.
BookMyShow, India’s largest online movie and events ticketing platform, observed over an 80 percent boost in ticket purchases soon after they developed PAW as their portal. Similarly, Pinterest increased their ad click-through rates by 50 percent. Fascinating, right?
PWAs are highly responsive. They easily adapt their layout according to device screen size to ensure the best user experience. They look and feel just like a native app with similar features like push notifications, a display icon in the app drawer and system integration. PWAs can be installed with just one click right from the user’s browser. Despite providing similar user experience and features like a native app, progressive web apps extremely lightweight.
7. Web apps are flexible
When it comes to web development, there are number of technologies to consider. For instance, the application platform Angular is used for building enterprise-grade apps while React is great if you need to quickly develop an application with a beautiful and interactive UI.
Meanwhile web app deployment is super easy. You are not bound to the requirements and approval of app stores.
The future of web development
Mobile is taking over but does that mean it will eliminate the need for web development? Certainly not! Mobile apps will always be dependent on web development for their core functions.
Even though the number of mobile apps in market continue to rise, web apps will always be the real deal for most of our productive work. The demand for expert web developers is not going away anytime soon.
Vaibhav Shah is the CEO of Techuz, a top mobile app and web development company. He is a technology maven and a visionary who likes to explore innovative technologies and has empowered 100+ businesses with sophisticated solutions.