Atlassian Blog Series

Mobile Apps vs Web Apps

It's often difficult to decide where time and money should be invested when deciding between web apps and mobile apps. Each application have its benefits and drawbacks. This article will guide you through web apps, mobile apps, their pros and cons as well as how to decide which one is best for your needs.

Not all apps are built equal

Same Difference

Mobile Apps and Web Apps are not the same thing, but they can look and feel very similar. Many brands offer both, and to the casual user, they can be hard to tell apart. However, there are important differences between these two types of App. These points of difference mostly relate to the ways that Mobile Apps and Web Apps are developed and deployed.

What is a web application?

Intro To Web Apps

A web App is essentially a responsive, interactive website that reacts to the platform or device it is being accessed on, and to user inputs. Web Apps are accessed using a web browser and are browser-agnostic – they can be found and used with any browser. Web Apps don’t need to be downloaded or installed; typically they are accessible to anyone with a smart device and internet connectivity.

What is a mobile application?

Intro To Mobile Apps

Mobile Apps are also known as native Apps – that is, they are designed and built on a specific platform (the two most common of course being Android and iOS). Mobile Apps are downloaded from App stores (which requires internet connectivity – thereafter, they can often operate independently of the device’s connectivity status). Popular mobile Apps include WhatsApp, Instagram and Google Maps. Typically, they can control device features such as the built-in camera (although this may depend on user permissions).

Options are a good problem to have

If You Only Have To Choose Between Two

As noted above, these two types of App can appear very similar, but is it possible to say that one is better than the other? It depends which criterion is being used.

For example, web Apps need an internet connection, but can update themselves. Mobile Apps, on the other hand, can run offline, but users need to download updates each time they become available.

Are mobile apps the way to go?

The Good And The Bad

These native Apps are faster and have more advanced capabilities (thanks to their ability to control device features). They also offer users an enhanced degree of security if downloaded from an App store, as they have to be pre-verified. This approval process can however increase their time to market.

Thanks to Xamarin, EPS can develop mobile apps that work on Android and iOS platforms without having to create separate apps. Xamarin makes mobile app development fast and cost effective.

Are web apps the way to go?

The Good And The Bad

Web Apps can be released more quickly, as there is no equivalent approvals process. They also tend to be cheaper and easier to develop.

However, they have certain inherent disadvantages: they are slower, and offer a less-rich user experience. Their dependence on connectivity is their Achilles’ heel, while the fact they are absent from App stores means they may be less discoverable, and users may be more wary of them as they are not vetted before release.

There is another way to go.


More recently, a hybrid model has been developed, known as Progressive Web Apps. These have been made possible by the application caching functionality of modern browsers, which allows them to work offline – much like mobile Apps. Caching also ensures that they load very quickly, and they offer enhanced responsiveness. To paraphrase the Mandalorian, this could be the way.

Here's what we can do for you

EPS At Your Service

In conclusion, despite their apparent similarities, mobile Apps and web Apps are developed and delivered in quite different ways. Each has advantages and disadvantages for both developers and end users, while the more recent emergence of hybrid Apps could yet offer the best of both worlds.

EPS takes the time to understand your specific need and from there, suggests which app (mobile vs web) best suits your requirements. Your desires are always at the forefront of the development process with EPS.