My previous post about multi-platform frameworks
a very interesting discussion. Big thanks to everybody who contributed
into the discussion. The discussion wasn't only limited to the blog
comments so here are few other places worth taking a peek.
Mark Murphy over at The CommonsBlog wrote a rebuttal to some of my arguments. His arguments are worth checking out:
UX Strategy Vs. UX Tactics.
Another interesting discussion took place in my blog's G+ post at:
Alan Knitowski from Phunware
Alan Knitowskini wrote a long and well argued comment to the original
post. Unfortunately the Blogger engine didn't want to cooperate and the
second part of his comment never never appeared in the discussion
thread. It think this comment can be very valuable and I wanted to post
it in its whole.
So here's Alan's comment in its whole republished with his permission:
I am the CEO of Phunware (www.phunware.com
and I am happy to chime in on this issue with some very real world and
practical thoughts over the past 3 years of running our business.
These thoughts are by no means random and are completely based on the
empirical data that we've been able to put together across tens of
millions of app downloads consuming billions of minutes of app usage in
more than 100 countries and 10 languages worldwide. They are also based
on building hundreds of apps for the largest and most important brands
in the world at transaction scale, including CBS, NBC, ESPN, Univision,
Discovery, Turner, HomeAway, NASCAR, NHRA, Sony, AMD, YouSendIt,
Samsung, Freescale, McDonald's, The Grove, FUNimation, OWN, E! and the
NFL amongst many others.
The punchline of our very real world experience is that all of these
write-once-run-everywhere mobile app frameworks such as Appcelerator,
Titanium, Adobe AIR, Phone Gap and the like simply DO NOT WORK. At all.
Sure, they can work in marginal use cases for the overly simplistic or
the feature weak engagements, but if you are trying to build real
mobile experiences that challenge the processing power, memory and
resolution capabilities of the best mobile devices and OS's on the
planet, then they simply SNAP. They break. They crash. They simply
can't keep up with the demands of the real world for large brands and
large audiences and communities when engaging with vibrant content at
Our Phunware Labs team has tried to build out apps using all of these
systems as a means to see what they could and could not do in the real
world. To date we have launched exactly *nothing* that we have ever
built in these experiments. Not only is the non-native UI/UX and
look/feel underlying the apps fundamentally miserable, but also the
associated maturity, stability and capability of the platforms simply
can't handle anything demanding in a normal feature set.
These systems are seductive and sound amazing. Just write things once
and they will work everywhere. Wow. Amazing. What a cost savings and
what an operational deployment and support savings. Until it isn't ...
and until it doesn't. False hopes and false promises to those that
haven't realized the underlying pain that they're about to put
themselves through from those with snake oil to sell. If I were to use
whack-a-mole as a relevant analogy, then using these systems is like
putting your face through the hole and then getting kicked ... and
kicked hard. Rinse, lather and repeat.
Unfortunately, in their effort to be all things to all platforms, their
systems were dumbed down to the least common denominator of the worst
possible platform and thus deliver apps that are average everywhere and
exceptional nowhere. Save money on the budget? Nope. You just
maximize the amount of pain trying to force them to work and then watch
them snap in the real world when trying to care for them afterwards.
Ultimately the idea that you need to be on all platforms is even more
alarming as all of the platforms aren't even viable or relevant yet.
Maybe they will be and maybe they won’t, but why focus on them all when
all of them just aren’t needed right now?
From our unique perch, and based on the brands that we work with daily
(both large and small and both public and private), we have yet to find
that even one of our customers is shooting for being “average
everywhere” on mobile. None. They all want to be exceptional and they
have all realized the hard way that they got what they paid for and not
much else. Unless the goal was a “forklift upgrade” with a “redo”
We believe that in order to be exceptional, you have to actually do the
"hard stuff". The "other IOS" as well ... as in the Internet Operating
System of Cisco and the core switching and routing fabric on the cloud
based server side to control good and bad 3G, good and bad 4G, good and
bad Wi-Fi or no network at all. The client *and* the server are
critical to having great apps. One without the other simply doesn't
work ... and it especially doesn't work when you try to ignore the
actual hard problems that require close attention.
With all of this said, we are by no means religious about our viewpoint.
We are also completely technology agnostic. However, we are also
practical, realists and operators. We build exceptional mobile
experiences that simply work and that set new standards for the
categories that they enter. And after a lot of work in this area, we
have seen that for right now, exactly none of these systems can handle
what is needed. None.
If you want to see my Business Insider article entitled "The Delusion of
Write-Once-Run-Everywhere Mobile Applications", please check out this
I will apologize in advance if anyone does not particular care for this
viewpoints or the data sets that I have provided, but at the end of the
day, the data is what it is and a platform cannot be something other
than what it really is. Time to call a proverbial spade a spade.