HTML5 vs. The Native App


Remember Gary Coleman’s character ‘Arnold’ from the 80’s sitcom Diff’rent Strokes. His success could largely be attributed to a single snappy quip ‘What you talkin’ bout Willis?’  When it comes to how your content is mobilized onto smartphones, tablets and the like, it is certainly worth asking ‘What you talkin’ bout Willis?’

So let’s get down to business and figure out what Willis is talking about.

HTML5 (Web App)

HTML5 is a programming language. In laymen terms, it allows a developer to layout and present content via the web. HTML5 is often referred to as the ‘savior’ for mobile web browsing since it offers a number of advantages over current HTML4 framework. HTML5 tends to be a little less bulky than HTML4 and operates a little smoother on limited capability web devices such as smartphones and tablets. A core goal of HTML5 technology is to eliminate the need for third party plug-ins (programs) in order to provide a multi-media experience complete with video and audio.

 Native App

A Native App is a program or application that is intended to operate on the specific device for which it was constructed - hence the term ‘native’. Although Native Apps can be built for any device or platform they are typically associated with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Also, native Apps have the ability to be stored directly on the device meaning that ‘web connectivity’ is not a necessity. Native Apps are commonly found in the platform specific App markets for which they were built - for example, Apple’s App Store or Google Play for Android devices.

So where should my content be? That’s a difficult question to answer. Let’s delve a little deeper.



Native Apps


-use the tools and framework available in the language. HTML5 is a language under development. -use the tools, rules and framework provided by the platform
  -universal build across many browsers -requires different build for each platform



-reliant upon publisher marketing to drive traffic to content -exposed to the store traffic in each App store (Apple statistics)
  -publisher marketing increases product exposure



-revenues generated require own paywall or transactional system -App platform provides paywall and transaction system


-publisher receives full remuneration of sale -publisher is subjected to terms of App platform*

Content Delivery

-via mobile web browser -downloaded to mobile device


-requires ‘connectivity’ -can operate without ‘connectivity’


-automatically updates -App markets drive traffic
  -does not require platform‘approval’ -affluent consumers accustomed to paying for App content
  -better performance
  -browser build provides universal access -designed specifically for device
  -‘Newsstand’ from Apple and Amazon provide marketplace specifically for publications/periodicals


-not a complete language, still under development -subjected to platforms rules, standards and policies
  -difficult to support all web browsers due to proliferation of devices -native apps require manual updates for revisions


*A point of clarification with regards to the monetization of Apps via the Apple App Store – it is possible to offer a paid publication in the App store without relinquishing a percentage of that sale to Apple. Apple’s policy is outlined here. In summary, Apple only receives a percentage of the sale of content on sales made through their App store. If the subscription and concurrent transactions are made through a publisher’s own means (website, with print subscription, etc) Apple does not receive remuneration.

        This brief article has hopefully alleviated some of the unanswered questions and misguided information encountered with regards to HTML5 and Native Apps. Whatever path(s) you choose – know that Flip Page will be there to provide the solution.

For Flip Page Native App Features -click here

For Flip Page HTML5 Features - click here