This week’s issue 383 of Mobile Dev Weekly will be the last. That’s nearly 8 years of weekly issues that I’ve helped put together along with my friend Holly Schinsky and the awesome folks at Cooper Press. Obviously, mobile development is more imporant than ever today, so I wanted to take a momentand reflect on what has changed during the 8+ years since I initially proposed the newsletter to Peter Cooper and today.
First of all, Mobile Dev Weekly actually began its existence as Mobile Web Weekly. 8 years ago, it wasn’t at all clear that the web would be a dominant platform on mobile. Obviously, phones had browsers, but mobile apps ruled and most interactions on mobile phones were occuring within apps (that’s largely still true today as recent stats show that close to 90% of all mobile time is spent within apps).
Responsive web design was relatively new in 2014 (the term having been coined only in 2010). Probably the most popular use of mobile web technologies in 2014 was tools like PhoneGap. A lot of companies, including the one I worked for at the time, were building mobile app development platforms using PhoneGap, to bring mobile app development to web developers and eliminate the need for specialized teams that developed for iOS and Android independently.
While I used and talked about these technologies, I have always felt strongly about the web on mobile. I hoped the newsletter could help bring awareness to content around using the web to build applications for mobile. Today, while apps are still dominant on mobile devices (and tools like PhoneGap have largely faded to the background), I feel that the web is on a stronger footing. It’s no longer a fight for relevance, but a fight against corporations that want to neuter modern web platform features on mobile to further their own goals.
To repeat: the problem isn't Safari, it's iOS and App Store policies that have cut off real browser competition at the knees.— Alex Russell (@slightlylate) April 23, 2021
No iOS user is ever allowed better than the lowest-common-denominator web, and that's *terrible* for developers and users alike. https://t.co/IDYTrfSuZ4
While the newsletter expanded to cover all mobile development, including native app development, some years ago, I’ve remained focused on bringing these issues around the mobile web to subscribers. I still believe that, despite attempts to limit it, the web is still the best way to build applications “cross-platform”, but its future success on devices still isn’t guaranteed.