Cyrus Stoller home about consulting

Not everything needs to be an app

Once non-technical people figure out that I code, it doesn’t take long for them to say, “I’ve got a great idea for an app. I could use your help making this iPhone app.”

Most of these ideas don’t benefit from being native iOS, Android, Windows Phone, etc … apps. Mobile HTML5 apps have come a long ways in the past few years and they’re now sometimes difficult to differentiate from native ones.

It’s likely that your idea can be prototyped with a web app written with stylesheets designed for mobile. The beautiful thing about prototyping an app this way is that a single version of your app will work on any phone with a functional web browser.

It’s true that this app won’t be as responsive as a native app. But, unless you’re making something graphics intensive, like a game or photo filtering app, you’ll survive while you figure out if people actually want your new app.

If you’re still skeptical, here are some advantages to starting with an HTML5 app:

Remember that you’re making a prototype. Eventually your app may need to be written natively, but since mobile programming is more time consuming, you’re best off figuring out the key components of your app with as little programming time as possible. As an added bonus, it’s a lot easier for you to pick up some basic HTML on your own instead of setting up a full mobile development environment on your computer.

To be clear, native is clearly better. Most people are building minimum viable products, and mobile HTML5 apps are perfect for those. Don’t waste your time and money hiring freelancers to build your new ideas native first, if you don’t have to.

Category Advice