No Longer Apps First; There’s a Website for That

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Heads up for the JavaScript Web Development Revolution!

Are apps always the answer? Not anymore. Thanks to tech advancements, websites are not only poised to rival apps, but ultimately, be a better choice. The momentum of new technologies like ReactJS – the innovative JavaScript library backed by Facebook – is blurring the lines between native mobile apps, native desktop apps, and web pages. Plus, as companies like Google and Apple continue to build new features, like video, push notifications and even augmented reality directly into the browser, it’s becoming possible to do much more than simply render a web page on a mobile phone.

So why create an app when a website can do the job faster, better and with fewer resources?

The JavaScript Revolution: Time to Get on Board

The world of digital media is shifting, and agencies that still live on WordPress et al are doomed to be replaced by agencies that shift to JavaScript-based CMS technology.

JavaScript has finally reached a point where it’s changing the way websites are developed, and in many cases, making websites a better choice than mobile apps. Agency developers can no longer afford not to have JavaScript know-how; it’s the lingua franca of the web. The days of specialized know-how are over. With JavaScript, now you can learn one language and use it client-side, server-side, on desktop, mobile… even in cars and for IoT.

Not long ago, everything had to be rendered server-side, simply because the browsers and devices were not powerful enough. About two years ago, browsers and devices finally became powerful enough to render a page completely client-side – no server required, catalyzing the potential of serverless CMS tools. One big advantage of these developments is that web pages now start to feel more like native mobile apps on mobile devices and, of course, on desktop browsers as well. Sites built on ReactJS are more interactive, app-like while not being an app. They deliver faster experiences because the logic is rendered locally and the amount of data transferred from external servers is minimized.

Another critical advantage of JavaScript is its cross-platform compatibility, both in terms of time and cost savings. If you first build a website and then want to create an app, React Native allows you to reuse the JavaScript code you already have; you can create native mobile apps which can reuse the content already created for the web while accessing native device functionality such as an accelerometer, without having to learn a new language – write once and it works everywhere. Such responsive technology is a game changer for time to market. After all, the best line of code is the one you don’t have to write or even rewrite.

When Websites Are A Better Choice

Apps aren’t going away completely – at least not yet. Native apps remain the best option for highly interactive games, location services and graphic-heavy operations like photo editing.

However, for those use cases that don’t require that level of interaction, such as travel guides, cooking apps, product launch-centric apps (e.g. promotion for a new car), event sites for conferences, a website built on ReactJS does everything you need – better, at a lower price point, and with dramatically shortened deployment cycles.

Plus, you’re no longer at the mercy of the App Store review team or at risk of having your app banned out of the blue. Instead of having to rely on Apple’s iOS team to get an app updated in the App Store to fix a bug or introduce a new feature, you can just do it yourself.  By going with a site over an app, you own your own destiny.

When it comes to short-lived pages, websites are also a far better choice. It’s difficult to convince people to download an app for a movie premiere, for example. And for event marketing and experience marketing, instead of creating a one-off event app, you’d be better off using a client-side rendered web page, accessible via an iOS or Android icon that automatically opens the event site in the user’s web browser. There’s no argument here: app and website are virtually the same thing, simply an icon click away.

The advent of innovative JavaScript-based CMS tools is a watershed moment in web development: it’s the beginning of the JavaScript Web Development Revolution. In order to stay competitive, agencies need to adapt… or fail.

 

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