Are most small mobile apps just vanity projects?

nirlanka profile image Nir Lanka ニル ・1 min read

I feel that most mobile apps that come out don't have anything that's not possible to do as a web app (responsive + progressive). Of course there are a lot of apps that need to be installable apps, but I feel most small apps are apps just to be cool, and look established.

What do you think?


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I mostly agree. I think PWAs are the way forward, it's just trying to get more awareness in the developer community about it, and support needs to be increased by browser vendors (cough, looking at you Apple).
Like everyone already has a web browser on their device, and as a result one code base can cover desktop (win/mac/linux), mobile (android/ios) and anything else that can run a web browser. There is a large number of Web APIs available for developers that can do everything that's needed for the majority of apps, and more are being created as time goes on.
Pretty much, native apps are still so popular because device specific stores are the only thing that 'normal' users know how to use. They've been trained to go and download Twitter from the Play Store rather than go to the website and add the site to the home screen. Developers continue to make native apps to support the market, and because 'iOS/Android/Web Developer' looks better on a resume than 'PWA/Web Developer'.
Anyway that's my two cents. Rant over. Have a good night!


Good rant 😄 I agree wholeheartedly! I myself am guilty of having worked on mobile apps just for the sake of coolness.
It's not just native apps either! React Native or Ionic apps for what should be done in the browser double the resource consumption with their extra runtimes! 😔


I'm not sure how I feel about React ect. Sure they're useful for complex apps, but I see many relatively simple applications that still use the framework. Seems totally unnecessary, I don't understand why!

I agree.
I think it's because of a couple of reasons:

  1. New comers to development want to learn popular technologies by building something (which is great as a philosophy), but not realise there are more fitting methods for their case.
  2. Developers are becoming more and more afraid to diverge experience. What I mean is, even a lot of veteran developers that I know like to build things using React or Angular when it's not even close to the optimal solution, simply in order to avoid cognitive overhead. I'm not saying they are bad developers, but I think it can negatively affect end user experience.

The whole mobile app developer experience is goofy. Besides who wants to be a part of the opinionated and captive 'apple' way of doing things? Not to mention Java based coding, yuck.

JavaScript and Typescript are clearly the winners. There's nothing that can't be done with them. Html continuously improves while Webcomponts kill everything else.

One-time One-place.


Couldn't have said this better myself 😄🍻