HTML5 vs Native

By Phillip Garton

HTML5 vs Native

HTML5 vs Native


HTML5 is a language used for presenting material on the internet. HTML5 is the fifth generation of HTML which further pushes the support for CSS3 as well as JavaScript APIs. HMTL5 is not revolutionary, rather evolutionary. It’s an evolution of technology and features that combine to bring a powerful yet interactive presentation to the internet. HTML5 is an improvement in markup language and it better supports most of the latest trends in media, and is becoming more widely accepted by most browser formats, including Chrome, Safari, and IE.

Web Mobility

The mobile web browsers adoption rate is high with almost all mobile browsers now supporting HTML5. Companies and programmers alike are turning to HTML5 to solve the cross platform compatibility issue that plagues us all, when developing mobile applications. With no formal SDK to be confined to, large resource pool of web programmers to pull from, and media rich features, HTML5 is thought to be the answer everyone has been looking for. As HTML5 and its programmers mature, web based applications are feeling less like a web page and more like an actual app when viewed on a mobile device.

Mobile web developers are learning how to remove the common items that tell us we are in a web page, like address bar headers and navigation buttons, so we become more submerged in the page than ever before.   With the proliferation of hybrid web containers like Phonegap, and with their ability to create apps, it is making it even harder to identify if you are using a phone app or viewing a web page. The web has truly become mobile with mobile formatted websites and “apps” with HTML5.

HTML5 vs. Native

Companies are now being faced with the question “Do I use HTML5 or Native to provide solutions?” The answer to that question isn’t as clear as we would like it to be, and we have to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of each and how it relates to the solution you are trying to provide to determine which is best suited to implement for your environment.

HTML5 provides solution support across multiple mobile platforms, both for smartphones and tablets, as well as support for desktops, allowing for a consistent environment experience from the office to on-the-go. Ease of implementation and this common “look and feel” make HTML5 a very attractive avenue for solutions for those dealing with multiple device management struggles.

However, HTML5 is not without its disadvantages. Speed, security risks and lack of phone enabled features all have been pointed out as shortcomings of HTML5 derived apps. In the below chart, we compare the features of HTML5 and its Native counter parts.






Xcode, Eclipse

Programming Language

HTML, JavaScript, CSS

Objective-C, Java

App Store







Remote (server based)

Local (on device)




Device Specific Features




High (every time app is run)

Low (only through app store)

Code Reuse

Cross Platform

Device Specific

Native solutions support stricture polices and more control over your data and environment. Native SDKs provide a structure in which your solutions can be developed in, allowing for corporate polices to be more strictly enforced and offering a level of security that HTML5 cannot match.  The SDKs also provide a solution environment that most device users have come to be familiar with enabling quick adoption rates and providing access to device features that most users come to expect when using mobile applications.

Native like HTML5, is not without its downfalls. Since apps are only available through the app store, this ties the corporation to the native eco-system, limiting updates and the ease of installation.  Because of the limitation of resources available for development, and device specific increase in code base, there will be an increase in overall development time & cost, in multi device environments.

Which brings us to our question, HTML5 or Native?

This can only be answered by your needs for your solution.

HTML5 is your answer if you answer YES to all the questions below (or most):

–       Do you need a solution that doesn’t require a lot of front end processing?

–       Do you need a solution to support multiple devices?

–       Do you need a solution that you can easily push updates too?

–       Are your security requirements low and do not need on device storage?

–       Are Native features needed to support your solution?

Native is your answer if you answer YES to all the questions below (or most)::

–       Do you need a solution that provides on device processing?

–       Do you need a solution to support only a few devices?

–       Do you require data security both on device and during transmission?

–       Do you require access native device features for use in your solution?

–       Is speed/performance critical to your solution?

As your mobile strategy evolves and the features that you are willing to comprise on and the ones you are not become clearer, the best alternative for your solution will become apparent. The end result will be a solution that not only works but also is optimal for your business.


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