Web App first and iPhone app second. It’ll save you a lot of heartache.

Obviously the AppStore could mean huge dollars for a developer, but putting that aside, I wonder just how imperative the AppStore is in today’s internet world. Let’s stop and think for a second about web technologies, how advanced they are now, and their integration with a device such as the iPhone.

There will always be some applications that “need” to be native on a device, but statistically they’re probably few. I think most developers realize that a web service designed properly will be able to work on a multitude of devices without a need to recompile code for each specific device. This is probably the major reason we’re seeing a move to “cloud” based computing, and it’s also the the original goal of languages such as Java–one language to rule all the platforms.  So why are we abandoning them?

Standards based web languages have that covered. iPhone specific languages, not so much.

AppStore Rejections – Case in point?

The hype the last two weeks has been focused on the rejection of a couple of Google Voice Applications, and a dictionary application from the AppStore. Both have a great case as to why they shouldn’t be yanked from Apple’s prestigious AppStore listings, but neither really need a stand alone application on the phone. We’re moving into a wireless world, and internet is available for all of our iPhones, at all times. 3G data plans are required from most carriers, which would allow us to access these services on the road. How about at home?  They have that covered as well, you can connect over your normal wireless connection. I’d say that sums up about 95% of my time during the day, how about you? If I absolutely need a dictionary during that other 5% time period, I’ll rebuke myself and yank this whole post.

Web Equivalents

Web services know it, and design teams are on top of this more than we might think. Google’s come out and said they’ll be developing a web based version of their Google Voice application, and I’m pretty sure they’ll be doing that from the get go now that Apple’s yanked a number of their applications in recent memory.

A number of my applications already have some sort of web integration. Gas Cubby lets me get my logs online, Run Keeper also send info to their servers so I can retrieve my exercise info from the web. Reddit and Flixster are pretty much just front ends for web services.

It seems like all we need is the ability to create icons for our favourite websites on the phone. Whether we like it or not, the iPhone is becoming a “web based” device. If Apple keeps yanking apps, developers will just start taking their stuff online and ultimately off the phone. If it was me developing the software there’s a pretty good chance that I’m starting with the web application first, then creating an iPhone front end. You’ll be up and running with your App regardless of what Apple decides.

What is the benefit of having a native app on the iPhone (not $$$ related)

Now before I start a riot I’d like to point out that I know, 100 percent, that the AppStore has become a huge source of income for a number of these application. It directs traffic to their services, and lets potential customers know that their applications exist. It’s hard to turn away from that kind of exposure. But, I’m really curious to know what other benefits the AppStore has that might not be present on the internet. I’d be willing to wager money on the fact that if more websites started to charge for their services, say a 1.99 fee for a life time subscription, they’d recoup a lot of the money they would have missed out on.

So here’s the question. What’s the major draw to the AppStore?

Joshua is the Content Marketing Manager at BuySellAds. He’s also the founder of Macgasm.net. And since all that doesn’t quite give him enough content to wrangle, he’s also a technology journalist in his spare time, with bylines at PCWorld, Macworld… Full Bio