Mobile Web Apps: A Briefing Paper

I’ve recently written a JISC CETIS briefing paper on the topic of Mobile Web Apps.

Mobile Web Apps: A Briefing Paper

Mobile Web Apps: A Briefing Paper

With the growth and constant shift in the mobile space institutions could be forgiven for feeling a little lost as to how to best tackle the issue of delivering content and/or services that are optimised for mobile devices. Apple, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone…app ecosystems seemingly everywhere you turn and each requiring different development approaches; SDKs, programming languages, approval processes and terms & conditions. I think it’s fair to say that for institutions, looking to deliver to mobile devices while being as inclusive as possible, this area is something of a minefield.

A viable, alternative approach is developing Mobile Apps using open web technologies and standards; technologies that continue to improve performance and offer more powerful functionality – as is now being talked about quite a bit on the topic of HTML5.

The briefing paper is intended to give an overview of this space and cover some of the key talking points, with a collection of useful resources with which to delve deeper into the subject for those that decide that mobile web apps are indeed a workable solution for them. I’m hoping that an interested audience would consist of institutional web staff, students services, learning technologists, maybe even an IT services manager here and there :)

It’s in PDF format but I’ll also be looking to get it in web form on the CETIS website over the next few days and, of course, I’d welcome any feedback and questions on it here.

If you’re interested, get it at

6 thoughts on “Mobile Web Apps: A Briefing Paper

  1. “Advantages – You can host the app on your own web server.”


    “…technology now advances crabwise, i.e. backwards…” Umberto Eco

  2. And your point is?

    For institutions, having the app in a place they have immediate and unrestricted access to gives them greater control over maintenance and updating, etc. Their “web server” may well sit in the cloud on Amazon for example…doesn’t necessarily mean it’s sitting in a room on campus.

    The point is that – again, for educational institutions – having a web-based, hosted app rather than a native app with the app store/marketplace conditions enforced as they are, can be an advantage.

    Not sure if your comment is supposed to be a snipe or not, erm…”Norbert”.. ;)

  3. Not everybody is an institution. The User Experience of a web app will always be at best sub-optimal. Web apps – let’s party like it’s…er….1997…

  4. No, you’re right, not everybody is. But the audience for this briefing paper IS educational institutions. Therefore the benefits of ease of development, control and – above all – deployment are the purposes of the overview.

    I in no way believe that Web Apps should be THE WAY and that Native Apps are not. But I believe that there has to be a viable solution to the fragmentation problem for certain sectors and markets. And I believe that the web is that solution.

    Maybe not a perfect one. But a viable and improving one.

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