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What’s wrong with a “normal” app? No server required and data stays only on the device. The argument that the author is building a PWA because other people abuse privacy (with apps) doesn’t make much sense. Why not build the app, respect privacy, and be done with it?

LocalStorage is not a substitute for an actual database, it’s a cache. The problem with the author’s technique is that privacy minded users clear their browsers from time to time, so they would be inadvertently clearing data they actually wanted to keep because who uses LocalStorage as a persistent data store? Sure it could be used like that as an “off label” use, but generally it’s used to cache what is persistently stored elsewhere or used as a means to avoid multiple network calls in the process of doing something (such as saving calculations, the results of which would be eventually persisted.) Local Storage should be used as if it were a session store rather than something persistent.






The problem with a "normal" app is now you are beholden to the rules/regulations/evaluations of a third party that can easily decide without recourse that your "app" should not be in their store. Even if your app "is fine" every update and upgrade incurs a delay through the third party's reviewing process before your users receive it.

If the web browsers would provide _some API_ for persistent storage without yanking the carpet out from underneath developers this wouldn't be such a huge problem. There _used_ to be a file-access API but it was removed.

Personally, I think web browsers are too large a surface area to secure/keep secure and the world is probably going to swing the opposite direction to native, downloadable applications without the interference of a third-party store.


> Personally, I think web browsers are too large a surface area to secure/keep secure and the world is probably going to swing the opposite direction to native, downloadable applications without the interference of a third-party store.

Wait, you think downloadable native apps without any intermediary to validate them is more secure? What you're describing is basically the old shareware system, which was riddled with security issues.


A normal app requires a separate build process, users to install it, manual review for each update, perhaps the platform owner will just deny it without reason, and for Mac/iOS it also requires actually owning or "borrowing" (using another persons/companies) build machine and software.

I don't understand why an installed PWA should not be able to keep their storage just as a "normal" app can. It would clearly be better for both developers and users. There are so many apps & websites that could be more privacy friendly if they could just trust localstorage to actually be "storage".


Those sound like problems for the developer, and not the end user.

I don't think you understand what "users to install it" means for actual users.

Most users are asked to install multiple apps for the normal sites they visit (like news sites, social media, imagehosting and more). They usually don't, and that's good. Those apps should not be apps, they should be websites. Most of those apps can be a simple website. If the users want/need more functionality that can be within a installed PWA.

I think this is more people and developers fetishizing what it means to be in the app store or to be "native". If we can run it all in probably the best sandbox we have available without having vendor specific builds or vendor specific prompts why would we as users or developers want anything else?

Some apps should be native. But the majority of them would be better as webapps rather than android/iOS apps.

EDIT: Also I'd argue a lot of those problems are artificially created by the platforms, not the developers.




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