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For most apps (which derive their usefulness from dynamic content), what's the point? Is an app that loads but does nothing really worth all the extra development time?

That being said, if you're already making a mobile app or API to go with your site, it does make sense to decouple the frontend (HTML/Cocoa/whatever) from the backend so you only write the backend once. Best way to have an up-to-date, useful API is to use it yourself.

Its definitely worthwhile, web apps are becoming richer all the time. Even if new content can't be retrieved, as a user I expect to be able to access/consume data the app has already presented.

I'd argue the development is no more difficult either, in fact it lends itself to a style that is easier to unit test.

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