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Native Mobile Apps vs. HTML 5: Can BYOD Programs Embrace Both?

2 min readDecember 13, 2012

“I think the biggest mistake we made as a company is betting too much on HTML5 as opposed to native.” – Mark Zuckerburg, CEO, Facebook.

In one of Zuckerberg’s most controversial remarks on technology, the Facebook CEO announced that his company would focus on creating native mobile apps for Android and iOS, rather than using HTML 5. To be clear, Zuckerburg was referring to performance issues related to the company’s mobile apps. Facebook found out the hard way that although the current state of HTML 5 promises major advantages – in particular, deploying a single app to work across a number of different platforms – development efficiency doesn’t necessarily create a good user experience.Native Salesforce Apps v HTML5

Accordingly, when it comes to the mobile apps your company approves for its BYOD program, you have an obligation to ensure that all chosen apps load fast and provide enough functionality to show productivity gains. We know, we know – the promise of creating one app to run on “any device” your employees might bring in is tempting. But what good is a productivity app that doesn’t make workers more productive? If HTML 5-based apps aren’t improving performance, they could be the Achilles’ heel of your BYOD program.

Another major concern for BYOD programs are security issues. As Mike Shema wrote in his excellent article explaining the technical ins and outs of HTML 5, its usage of browser-based storage is an apparent plus, increasing the capacity of apps to collect and manipulate data. HTML 5’s utilization of APIs like Local Storage is an example of this. He explains that while this provides advantages when dealing with big data issues, local storage is “a terrible place for storing passwords, credit card numbers or anything else that should be safely encrypted or tucked away under the security of a server-side data store.”

Security issues such as these are among many reasons why Revenue.io decided to develop its mobile apps in native iOS. This was especially important given how important security is to enterprises utilizing Salesforce.com. Going native also provides significant performance superiority, a fact that was repeatedly brought to our attention when developers stopped by our booth at TwilioCon this year.

When the British government approved mobile iOS for its intelligence agencies this year, we felt even better about the decision. If James Bond can feel confident using iOS when transmitting “sensitive” information, then we all can.