The Financial Times is sticking it to Apple and releasing their HTML 5 web app to circumvent Apple's 30 percent cut of in-app subscriptions.
Good for them.
Steve Jobs and Apple's touting of HTML 5 as the future of the interwebs could come back to haunt them as HTML 5 and cloud computing matures. The browser app is already incredibly functional on both the iPhone and iPad and will be just as functional on other mobile browsing platforms like Android soon as well. It does a great job of mimicking a native iOS or Android application.
Some benefits of using HTML 5 as the backbone to their web app is updates don't need to be downloaded and applied to multiple platforms. It essentially eliminates the logistical nightmare of developing applications for multiple OS platforms and maintaining teams to update those applications. While the App is currently optimized for iPad and iPhone users, FT says the app will be adapted for Android based devices as well.
FT CEO John Ridding highlighted some other benefits in a few comments he made:
“The FT Web App offers our customers flexibility and freedom of choice with access to our global journalism anytime, anywhere, with a single login or subscription. In a world of increasingly digital complexity we want to keep our service simple, easy to use and efficient to offer our customers the best possible experience of FT journalism.”
The breadth of tools and documentation available for native apps and even desktop HTML5 development is just not there for mobile-based web app development. In addition the usual testing tools for both functional and performance testing do not exist, so we had to invent our own systems and processes to make sure the app worked effectively.