2013-04-04

Why web development is better than mobile

I was taking the Udacity course on web development, when some philosophical insights struck me. Here they are.

Web development is like writing - the expression of your ideas to the world.

Writing is used for telling someone what you think. For exposing your thoughts, feelings, experience about the world, and letting other people know your beliefs. For improving the lives of others by showing them what can happen. For allowing them to feel what you feel, have them sympathize, and tell their peers.

Web development pretty much does the same things. Except there are not just thoughts, but also functionality, technology. You show people what is possible. What the world has to offer through computers, and how they can help.

The most important software industries are currently web development and mobile development. If one were forced to pick between those two (which isn't necessarily true), I argue that one should pick web.

This is because web development allows more freedom, both for the developer and the user - the user is sitting comfortably, casually exploring, seeking new patterns, learning. Whereas on mobile, the user is in a hurry, wanting to get stuff done, not interested in interacting with a complex system through clumsy interfaces.

On mobile, the user expects a quick experience, and a no-nonsense, YAGNI attitude. All clutter must disappear to satisfy that need. Therefore, the developers must constrain themselves to the most barebones, pragmatic, material of needs - such as location, calendars, quick news/status updates, and basic communication. There simply isn't the interest of doing more complex things.

On web, however, the users have all the time in the world, and want you to amaze them to your best ability. You can show them your intricate and subtle algorithms. You are allowed more complexity, less focus on the necessary, and more on the art.

So there you have it. Web development is a form of expression, while mobile development is solving worldly needs. This is why I choose web development.

6 comments:

  1. I doubt any non-geek user cares about your subtle algorithm. They just want the app/site to work :P

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  2. "There simply isn't the interest of doing more complex things"
    I think you are wrong about mobile. There is some very complex apps on both iOS and Android.
    "This is because web development allows more freedom"
    No, mobile is always about freedom.
    You absolutely need to see what is going on in mobile development.

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  3. P.S.
    "the user is sitting comfortably, casually exploring, seeking new patterns, learning"
    I sit very comfortable on my couch with my iPad and do all the things you have mentioned, with much, much more comfort that on my laptop.

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  4. Well, tablets are capable of comfortable interaction. Admittedly, I didn't consider them, but I'm not sure I'd classify them as "mobile".
    People spend most of their time sitting down.
    I only use my phone for calling and texting, checking my timetable, maps, and perhaps a bit of browsing when I can't use my laptop (e.g. on a train or bus).
    While Android/iOS may offer lots of possibilities, such as running on a tablet or on a TV even, they will very likely also offer the possibility of interacting with web apps, and writing software strictly for the mobile platforms limits your market size.

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  5. However, I do admire the people that explore innovative interface designs enabling complex and quick interaction on tiny screens.

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  6. Mostly patients don’t have a PC to look up information about your hospital on the website during an emergency but they have smart phones & expect to get all the information about their hospital/clinic on their smart phones or tablets at that time.


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