5 Reasons Why You Should Learn Web Development Instead of Native

CareerFoundry Blog contributor Eric An

These days there are many options out there to promote your business and share your ideas–from websites to native applications in marketplaces.

Instead of combing through countless articles figuring out the differences between your options, I will present the information for you in five key areas that ultimately show why you should learn web development. Learning to code is still the superior and more effective solution for most people’s foray into the digital space.

If you want to skip ahead to a particular reason to learn web development, just use the clickable menu.

  1. Reaching your audience: Is anyone out there?
  2. Design: Looks are important
  3. Development: Looking under the hood
  4. Cost: How much?!
  5. Upkeep: Don’t just set it and forget it
  6. Conclusion

1. Reaching your audience: Is anyone out there?

Websites can target the biggest and broadest audience, unlike the restrictions to a platform that constrain native applications.

Your clients and customers can use the ease of any device, from a computer to mobile phone, as they have the capability to display your content through the web browser.

Native applications require users to access the app store on their devices or download programs – creating one more process or step in having access to your content. In other words, native applications are bound by targeted visibility, as users must seek out your application to download, rather than simply accessing a URL.

Distribution of your content is more flexible and agile with web development, as there are no stringent app store requirements and content restrictions to follow. Often times, your application will fall through the cracks in the app marketplaces as it’s overshadowed by the glitz of major-league developers.

The biggest draw of reach when you learn web development lies in the power of utilizing SEO techniques to target your audience.

Search engines do not have access to the closed environments of applications and thus, native applications take a backseat to the focused SEO marketing and advertising that websites can capitalize on.

2. Design: Looks are important

Presentation of your content and controlling the user experience in exploring your services is crucial in conveying an effective message.

Web development provides a generally universal solution to address this through the use of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Rather than having to worry about cross-platform interfaces and capabilities across different marketplaces, it’s arguably more manageable to deal with cross-browser accessibility.

In other words, it’s easier to utilize CSS media queries to account for different browser window sizes than having to create and modify your UI each for the Windows Store, iOS app store, and Android marketplace.

Furthermore, web development frameworks like Bootstrap make the hassles of browser compatibility easier to digest as well.

In terms of presenting a uniform design, when you learn web development you’ll find them a lot easier to manage and execute.

3. Development: Looking under the hood

As previously mentioned, web development uses the benefits of HTML/CSS and Javascript to create effective and captivating websites with relative ease.

Compare that to native applications, in which code must be specifically written for each marketplace, as the language and processes are significantly different. This requires significant resources as additional development skills and hardware must be acquired.

How easy is it when you learn web development compared to that?

Your website only has to be built once with cross-browser support and it will be useable on every device. There’s a lot of ease and speed in building your application and reaching your audience quicker!

Web development is definitely a smoother path to developing your application.

4. Cost: How much?!

Without sacrificing quality, developing a website is definitely far cheaper than creating native applications.

Rather than having to develop for multiple platforms, maintaining one codebase on a website will cost less, as there’s one common skillset to utilize and focus on.

Compatibility and performance issues will be limited to the browser capabilities, for the most part, unlike native applications, in which hardware updates can affect application performance and experience.

Ultimately, there’s less investment in acquiring and retaining developer skills as a web developer than as a native application developer.

An important side note is the potential for monetization through the two applications. Revenue from native apps would require in-app purchases, platform-specific ads, or purchase of the app itself.

Basically, if people don’t take the time and effort to download your app, it’s hard to see any returns. Additionally, any revenue created from app purchases is subject to marketplace fees, which can be as high as 30%.

Websites also need to generate traffic to see any money, but it’s a lot more passive – there’s no “entry fee” or initial barrier to access the content. A simple typing of the URL into any browser allows users to immediately interact with any advertisements or shopping carts on the site.

What is the bottom line?

Development costs, as well as integrating payment options and third-party integrations, are much more flexible and cost-effective with website applications.

5. Upkeep: Don’t just set it and forget it

The development hurdles with native applications was mentioned earlier in the article, but it’s worth expanding upon, as native app support becomes increasingly more of an issue as your business expands and your code becomes more complex and feature-rich.

Multiple codebases means having to support a large number of devices that are continuously being updated and upgraded. Web applications can suffer from the same headaches of supporting upgrades, but it’s far more manageable and less resource-intensive to operate in a website environment.

Major (and minor) updates can be immediately pushed live to the website and you will get instant feedback and interaction with any new desired implementation changes.

On the other hand, native application updates require approval from the app store and additionally require the updates to be downloaded by the user.

Deployment is a breeze when you learn web development!

Final thoughts

In five major areas of audience reach, design, development, cost, and upkeep, web development solutions offer a more flexible and effective solution over native applications.

Due to the undeniable benefits of web applications, there are hybrid applications that desire to take advantage of the flexibility of websites with the speed and of native applications.

These hybrid apps close the gap between the two applications and attempt to provide the best of both worlds with benefits like access to the phone hardware and controlling the complete user experience without a web browser, as well as decreasing the app development time and invested resources.

Nevertheless, in this age of agile development, there’s an irresistible attraction to being able to quickly create an application and bring it to market with low resource costs.

So, the only question is, what’s stopping you from starting to learn web development? Especially when you can try a free coding short course to see if it’s for you.

If you enjoyed it, then the CareerFoundry Full-Stack Development Program will be right up your street.

Still not sure? Read a few more articles about the world of coding:

What You Should Do Now

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  2. Take part in one of our FREE live online web development events with industry experts, and check out recent graduate Tanimara’s successful career-change story.

  3. Become a qualified web developer in just 5-10 months—complete with a job guarantee.

  4. This month, we’re offering a partial scholarship worth up to $1,365 off on all of our career-change programs to the first 100 students who apply 🎉 Book your application call and secure your spot now!

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