What are the potential drawbacks of taking a 'web approach' to providing an enterprise-level app (e.g. an ERP system or an app for field staff to complete tasks) and how can these drawbacks be tackled?

What I've Thought of So Far

Offline capability - This doesn't seem to be a problem anymore, as we can use the HTML5 app cache.

Storage - HTML5 localstorage offers us a way of storing data locally whilst checking for a connection to 'sync' it to server.

The reason I ask is because I'm trying to choose the most appropriate route for meeting requirements I have, and I want to make sure I'm not missing something that would push me in the 'native' direction.

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    We did a prototype like that with something called Phonegap. The storage as such worked well enough. Syncing is tricky but can be solved (depending on complexity of the data). But for our case we run in some usability and performance trouble and finally decided for native (which was an easy decisions, since our employees all used the same product). There are limits with html, especially things like background synch and native features like push notifications or whatever are missing. – thorsten müller Jun 16 '15 at 8:56
  • @thorstenmüller - thanks very much for your comment. I'm familiar with PhoneGap, fantastic technology. The distribution of web apps vs. the complexities of distributing native apps on multiple platforms is the main driving force behind pursuing web. Thankfully, this app won't demand push. – JᴀʏMᴇᴇ Jun 16 '15 at 9:00

Keep in mind that syncing "local" content from many, potentially conflicting sources is not a trivial task. Is really offline capability important? Does the risk of being offline really matters in environment you are targeting?

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    Isn't the question more about a web/browser vs native app and not the need for offline capabilities? Or do native apps do a better job of syncing local data? – JeffO Jun 16 '15 at 9:31

From a user perspective I find web apps for field staff (i.e. without permanent internet access or slow internet access) often difficult to work with.

The offline capability of such an web app has to be tested thoroughly and syncing is a difficult task.


UI responsiveness is typically the problem with webapps compared to native, but for the general line-of-business program that doesn't need to handle lots of data, this isn't a problem.

All the other aspects can be handled in a HTML GUI compared to a native GUI. You may find its less maintainable or more difficult to develop, due to the pain of maintaining javascript and/or the cost of handling different browser platforms.

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