The Web and the App Universe are Collapsing into Each Other

Posted on Posted in Front End Design, PHP Dev, UX

Gmail, Facebook, and LinkedIn will open web pages linked to from within their content in their own in-app web browser to keep the user under control while viewing third party web content–actually, it opens in a Chrome execution within their app–at least, on Android, which is what I have. Meanwhile, there are plenty of websites where, at a certain place, the website will redirect the user to an app, or to the app in Google Play. On top of this, there is the rising popularity of Cordova smartphone apps–web apps, which technically speaking are websites, packages as an app in Google Play or the Apple App store, which when you open the app will invisibly open the device’s native web browser and render the web site as a (sort of) smartphone app. And, of course, people who use a website will pin it to their device’s home screen, at which point it is functionally equivalent to an app.

And, honestly, what is the difference between a smartphone app and a highly technically sophisticated website? The website renders through the web browser and its JavaScript engine, the app renders through the phone’s OS and its rendering engine (Java for Android, before, or the new technologies Google is cooking up these days).

My observation here is that the world of websites and the world of apps is collapsing into one world, whereas, five years ago, apps were all the rage and websites were considered old fashioned. Good news for web developers and PHP software engineers, like me.

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