Tag Archives: ipad

Native app or web app?

The question of whether to have a native app or a web app may not have come up yet, but it seems to be one that a lot of businesses are currently thinking about.

LinkedIn recently launched their new iPad app, and 95% of it has been built in HTML5: http://venturebeat.com/2012/05/02/linkedin-ipad-app-engineering/

The Financial Times decided to ditch their native app for a web app and have had some promising results: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/financial_times_proves_html5_can_beat_native_mobil.php.

There are many articles on this: http://mashable.com/2011/05/23/mobile-commerce-apps/ and http://www.useit.com/alertbox/mobile-sites-apps.html and: http://www.forbes.com/sites/fredcavazza/2011/09/27/mobile-web-app-vs-native-app-its-complicated/ and although twice as many people access mobile sites compared to native apps: http://www.internetretailer.com/trends/e-retailers/ the conversion rate between them are interesting (Apple has a higher conversion rate for native apps, Android is about the same, and Blackberry is lower).

Although from the technical point of view, an app can be largely be made to just run in a browser, the question comes down to support, and usage.

It would be really interesting to get your take on the situation. You can leave a comment below or reply to me on Twitter @paulrandall.

Using SVG Icons

With high-PPI devices such as the iPhone 4 and the new iPad, great resolution is changing how we think of the pixel. Increased resolution means that traditional pixel-based icons won’t be able to take advantage of this, so people are looking for vector-based solutions.

Because of this, more people are talking about SVG, or Scalable Vector Graphics. These XML-based images can store vector data, and so can be upscaled. Other options include creating special icon fonts, such as Pictos. I prefer the idea of using SVG over font solutions because the font method is just like using Wingdings; plus it adds non semantic letters to your code, even if you can hide them.

I was aware of SVG back in around 2006 during my college course. I naively thought at the time that was little point in learning about them, as I couldn’t see the advantages. If you want to see my first creation 6 years ago – this was it (if you view the image separately the text should zoom in):

So this weekend I decided to go back to my college work and create some SVG by hand. Luckily, for more complex designs, you can use something like Inkscape but I thought it would be interesting to hand code the icons I wanted to create.

First I started by drawing some very simple shapes on an 8×8 grid:

I then created a very simple XML file, and started adding the paths:

Note: The M stands for move, the L stands for line and the Z closed the point. That is as far as I got, but suffice to say that more complex icons won’t be created in this way. You can see the final version here: http://prandall.com/experimental/svg/img/pr-icons.svg

For the next part, I used this post as a tutorial: http://coding.smashingmagazine.com/2012/01/16/resolution-independence-with-svg/ and the traditional process of displaying a background image. I ended up using an empty span because I found it easier to play around with, but as you can see from David’s tutorial this doesn’t have to be the case.


Seeing the browser support for SVGs, support is varied, but for progressive designs it is worth considering in your next designs. Do have a play, experiment and look into the new ways of constructing sites, because it is an interesting time to create websites.

See the finished article: http://prandall.com/experimental/svg/ (and make sure you upscale/downsize it to see the full effect)