Why HTML5 beats native for field service management apps


When it comes to app development, the HTML5 vs Native debate has always been a major talking point. Here, we explain each side of the argument and tell you why HTML5 is the right option for Oneserve’s field service management app.

HTML5 is a coding language that can be used to create immersive websites and apps that run in a browser. For website development, it is now the technology of choice for the vast majority of developers. It can also be used to create apps that don’t need to be downloaded, and instead run directly from a browser. But it can be used to create ‘hybrid’ apps too, using technology such as PhoneGap, which wraps applications developed using HTML5 in native code (thus, they can be added to app stores and downloaded onto a user’s device).

Native applications are developed exclusively for a single platform using the coding language it requires. For example, iPhone apps are primarily developed using a language called Objective-C, while the majority of Android apps use Java. Native apps are downloaded from an app store directly onto your device.

So, what’s the big deal?

For years a debate has raged over the merits of HTML5 and native applications. Some people believe HTML5 apps are the best choice while others think native apps are superior. Those in the former camp will say that one of the main advantages of HTML5 apps is that they are compatible on most modern devices (smartphones, tablets and laptops). Those in the latter camp often claim that native apps offer a better user experience.

Largely, though, circumstance will dictate the best choice. Consumer apps aimed directly at end users will probably benefit from the additional exposure they’ll gain by being published on app stores. But for apps that serve a wide range of users and devices, HTML5 is the perfect choice. For this reason, Oneserve’s mobile app has been developed using HTML5. Here’s why:

Companies we work with use a range of devices – some use iPhones and iPads, while others use devices running Android such as the Sony Xperia. Therefore, having a single app instantly accessible on all these devices is of great benefit.

HTML5 supports a BYOD policy – companies operating a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy needn’t worry that employees within their own company use devices using different operating systems. HTML5 apps will more or less work in the same way on all of them, ensuring every member of staff can take advantage of the same functionality.

Set up is quick and easy– forget having to download the app to multiple devices – our HTML5 app is entirely browser based so it can be used on any device instantly. You can pick up any smartphone, tablet or even laptop and begin using the Oneserve app immediately.

Upgrades are universal and hassle free – there will be no issues with users operating different versions of the app and problems arising as a result of this. With an HTML5 app, all users are automatically upgraded to new versions of the app at the same time so everyone is able to take advantage of its latest functionality. Plus, the IT department doesn’t have the headache of having to chase up those who haven’t upgraded.

In addition to this, the capabilities of HTML5 for app development have come on in leaps and bounds. Thus, HTML5 apps can now provide an experience to rival native apps.

We’ve been able to take advantage of some great functionality such as local storage, which means our app can be used offline. So, even when an engineer in the field loses their Internet connection, they can continue using the app. It stores the information locally and sends it to the server as soon as a connection has been regained. This is especially useful for workers out in the field as at times they may undertake jobs in areas with little or no network coverage.

If you’d like to find out more about HTML5 or Oneserve’s service management software, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.