One of my first findings while looking at the first app of 12 apps for Christmas is that the content viewer in the BB Student App doesn’t display Blackboard Learn’s own content very well:
I wondered why so I did an experiment with Chrome for iPhone, and the content displays fine.
In a follow up to my tweets, Sue Tucker (@sueinasp) pointed out that even the basic rich text handling is inferior.
So I have to wonder why developers keep building inferior versions of their web apps as native apps in the mistaken belief that’s the only kind their users will accept.
I also have to ask Blackboard why their Student App’s content viewer isn’t just an embedded Safari web browser? Or alternatively, why not disinvest in the mobile apps space and just make Blackboard Learn itself fully responsive?
Progressive Web Apps
If you want to learn more about this topic, Google has coined the term Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) to describe modern-web-browser-based web applications that are as good (if not better) than native web apps. It is also promoting the development of PWAs in its developer advocacy. See, for example, Learn How to Develop the Next Generation of Applications for the Web.
Developer Advocate Christian Heilmann (@codepo8), once of Mozilla and now of Microsoft, also promotes PWAs on his twitter feed and at conference engagements. For example see: