Why companies should stop supporting single platform browsers for their webapps

Lately I’ve seeing an increasing interest from companies to create responsive applications instead of native ones. I’m not talking about websites targeted to marketing and build their presence on the web, but “WebApps” apps that the company use for its daily operation.

This applications try to provide a user experience as close as possible as native applications while allowing freedom of platform, device and client.

I strongly believe this is the way to go for a business seeking improve and expand their operations, of course, there will be cases when WebApps are not suitable for the task, but for those it does, companies instantly benefit from their nature, just to mention a few:

  • Are written in HTML, JS and CSS all well known languages easy to use and to find programmers.
  • With a single code-base support a variety of platforms and browsers, so there is no need for a team for every specific platform.
  • Related to the previous, implementing new features and fixing bugs gets easier as it only have to happen once.
  • Are able to optimize app presentation according to various screen sizes.
  • Are more time proof as technologies implied are very stable and settled.
  • Simplify infrastructure, you only need a browser to get your users going.

Is clear the moving to the web is an effort to become platform independent, portable,  a more standardized way to deliver content and reach your audience making efficient use of your resources.  Therefore, I believe that having to support single-platform browsers like Internet Explorer/Edge and Safari etc. defeats the whole point of what a WebApp is all about and an steps back to the old vicious circle.

This might sound radical, but is not uncommon for companies to run custom versions of an operating system or an specific IM client or X antivirus, because when it comes to company’s software standardization is not an option.

Don’t get me wrong, I support and recognize that the diversity of implementations (browsers) is good for the industry and we’ve all witnessed clever solutions fight its way to standards or being pioneers of a new feature.

But when it comes to business applications, restricting your employees to any of the major cross-platform browsers won’t be any different than forcing them to use a company email for internal communications, after all, keep in mind that this apps are intended for company’s day to day operation.