Apps solve problems. Web pages answer questions.

There’s been a debate going on in the mobile space for quite some time regarding apps vs the web.

The app has been predicted to die for almost as long as it has been around. HTML5 is said to be the final nail in the coffin of the app as the user moves over to the browser.

But I think this is a simplified way to view things. It’s not just a matter of execution environment but rather the entire context and framing.

An app is something that solves a problem. A web page is something that answers a question.

Think about that. An app is the answer when you want to achieve something, be that kill a few minutes on the bus or check your bank account. “There’s an app for that”, right? A web page, on the other hand, contains information. It answers a question. You google for it. The app is what you reach for when you want to perform an action.

Yes, there are overlaps but this is in my opinion the fundamental difference between the two models. Sure, there are other things, more technical. You may argue that apps have icons whereas web pages have URLs (although you of course can make a bookmark that appears identical to an app icon). You may say that apps are native binaries whereas web pages are built on web technologies such as HTML, JavaScript and CSS (although you can write apps using web technologies).

There’s a long list of things that’s different between an app and a web page but I still think that the big and fundamental difference is as stated above: apps solve problems. Web pages answer questions. That’s why they will always coexist.

What do you think?

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