ITG-Articles

Mobile Technology Matrix:

A Synopsis of Functionality, Features, and Restrictions

Sora Abu Nasser
Software Engineer

Comparison of Mobile Web Technologies versus Native Mobile Apps

Responsive Web Design
(RWD)

Progressive Web App
(PWA)

Mobile Site
(m.mysite.com)

Native App

SEO Optimization

One URL

One URL is good for social sharing. It’s also good for bookmarking. It is faster because there is no redirection. It is also good for SEO such as Google Tag Manager (GTM).

One URL

One URL is good for social sharing. It’s also good for bookmarking. It is faster because there is no redirection. It is also good for SEO.

Two URLs

Two URLs is bad for SEO due to redirection. It’s also bad for social sharing. If one shares a link for the mobile site and a friend clicks on link from desktop, they will navigate to the mobile site. In general Mobile Sites are outdated technology and should not be part of the mobile strategy.

No URL

However, user activity can still be tracked using SEO techniques.

Performance

No service workers and no caching. Each time a request for the website is made, it’s sent to the server. The user has to wait for response .

Faster than m.dot due to one URL and no redirection.

Faster than RWD and m.dot due to service workers and caching. When a request is made to the website for the first time, it will be cached.

Subsequent requests are serviced from the cache.

Slowest due to redirection.

Each time a request is made, a check of the user-agent is made to determine if request is coming from a mobile device.

Code that runs the app is stored locally on the mobile device.

App-like features (Full-screen mode, Home screen icon, offline mode, web push notifications)

RWD does not support app-like features.

Supports app-like features but its browser dependent.

Chrome running on Android devices fully supports app-like features.

Meanwhile, iOS still limits App-like features due to iOS lack of support for service workers. Since service workers are not supported in iOS yet, caching, offline-mode, push notifications are not supported. It is widely expected that Apple will support service workers in the future..

Does not support app-like features.

Full support

Native apps can tapping into all the device’s functionalities, such as camera, microphone, calendar, GPS etc.

Maintainability

One front-end codebase

One front-end codebase

Two codebases

One for desktop and one for mobile.

Three codebases

Costs the most to maintain.

Comparison of Mobile Web Technologies versus Native Mobile Apps

Responsive Web Design (RWD)

  • SEO Optimization

    One URL, One URL is good for social sharing. It’s also good for bookmarking. It is faster because there is no redirection. It is also good for SEO such as Google Tag Manager (GTM).

  • Performance

    No service workers and no caching. Each time a request for the website is made, it’s sent to the server. The user has to wait for response. Faster than m.dot due to one URL and no redirection.

  • App-like features (Full-screen mode, Home screen icon, offline mode, web push notifications)

    RWD does not support app-like features.

  • Maintainability

    One front-end codebase

Progressive Web App (PWA)

  • SEO Optimization

    One URL, One URL is good for social sharing. It’s also good for bookmarking. It is faster because there is no redirection. It is also good for SEO.

  • Performance

    Faster than RWD and m.dot due to service workers and caching. When a request is made to the website for the first time, it will be cached.Subsequent requests are serviced from the cache.

  • App-like features (Full-screen mode, Home screen icon, offline mode, web push notifications)

    Supports app-like features but its browser dependent.Chrome running on Android devices fully supports app-like features. Meanwhile, iOS still limits App-like features due to iOS lack of support for service workers. Since service workers are not supported in iOS yet, caching, offline-mode, push notifications are not supported. It is widely expected that Apple will support service workers in the future..

  • Maintainability

    One front-end codebase

Mobile Site (m.mysite.com)

  • SEO Optimization

    Two URLs, Two URLs is bad for SEO due to redirection. It’s also bad for social sharing. If one shares a link for the mobile site and a friend clicks on link from desktop, they will navigate to the mobile site. In general Mobile Sites are outdated technology and should not be part of the mobile strategy.

  • Performance

    Slowest due to redirection. Each time a request is made, a check of the user-agent is made to determine if request is coming from a mobile device.

  • App-like features (Full-screen mode, Home screen icon, offline mode, web push notifications)

    Does not support app-like features.

  • Maintainability

    Two codebases,One for desktop and one for mobile.

Native App

  • SEO Optimization

    No URL,However, user activity can still be tracked using SEO techniques.

  • Performance

    Code that runs the app is stored locally on the mobile device.

  • App-like features (Full-screen mode, Home screen icon, offline mode, web push notifications)

    Full support, Native apps can tapping into all the device’s functionalities, such as camera, microphone, calendar, GPS etc.

  • Maintainability

    Three codebases,Costs the most to maintain.