Responsive website, HTML5, and Cross-Platform – Which Approach to Use When?

With the proliferation and mobile devices and the numerous browsers, it’s more complex than ever trying to build an application that caters to so many different possible users. However, there are a few methodologies that help make sense of this turmoil: responsive website, HTML 5, and cross-platform development. We hope to shine a light on these concepts so you can choose the best way to develop your application and reach the most potential users.


Here are three approaches to development :

Responsive Web Design – RWD refers to a website that adapts to the browser and/or device to provide an optimal viewing experience. It emphasizes easy reading and navigation while minimizing resizing, panning, and scrolling by adapting the layout to the viewing environment by using proportion-based grids, flexible images, and CSS3 media queries.

HTML5 App – From the look and feel HTML5 apps will look the same as any other apps. However, the apps have limited functionalities as much as HTML5 and JavaScript can support. HTML5 Apps are created using a mix of HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. HTML5 apps are platform independent and can run on any device like Android, iOS, Blackberry or Windows Phone with a standard browser.

Cross-platform Apps – Cross-platform apps are designed to work with and use a device’s native functionalities. The framework built to use cross-platform apps has a cross compiler which is capable of creating the final executable code for the multiple platforms. Different frameworks are available for developing these cross-platform apps.


Responsive Web Design – When to Use It

Responsive Web Design (RWD) is best suited when the requirements do not go beyond building a website that dynamically changes the layout according to the device used. This is the optimal method when building website architecture for desktops, smartphones, tablets and e-readers. RWD is capable of providing a convenient viewing experience with the myriad of browsers and mobile devices on the market.

HTML5 App – When to Use It

HTML5 is best used when you require a basic mobile application that can be coded using HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. This approach is broken into two types: Simple Web Apps require only HTML5 and do not use any native device features or API like camera, GPS, etc. Hybrid Apps, as the name suggest, combine a simple app while still using a few of the native features. Hybrid Apps use HTML5 code with the use of native features sparingly. Overall, HTML5 Apps are best when the app does not require any device-specific features. They require less development time so they are more cost efficient. HTML5 Apps are easily portable with frameworks like PhoneGap.

Cross-Platform App – When to Use It

Cross-Platform App development is the way to go when your application demands the use of some native features or API and you want it to run on multiple devices. A cross-platform app increases code reusability since the majority of your code remains the same and only minor changes are required to make it run on the different platforms. Cross-platform apps can be created using various frameworks available on the market today such as Titanium, Xamarin, and Sencha Touch. However, there are a few drawbacks to this approach. Each framework will have a different coding language and coding standards and so it requires a specific skill for that framework. Some of these frameworks will cost you if used for commercial use.

In the end, the requirements, development costs, and time are factors to consider when determining which type of application is the way to go? Obtaining further clarity is important, and it may be beneficial to contact a trusted mobile app development company to help you choose the right strategy that suits your budget, needs, and positions you for business growth. AllianceTek has earned a reputation with helping organizations make wise development decisions and we would be pleased to discuss development strategies with you.

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