A Tale of Two Fashions: An Empirical Study on the Performance of Native Apps and Web Apps on Android
IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing，2017，17（5）：990 - 1003 | 2017年09月26日 | 10.1109/TMC.2017.2756633
prevalent smartphones have become the major entrance to accessing services on the Internet. On smartphones, users can have two options as the clients, i.e., native apps and Web apps. There have been several debates about native apps and Web apps. However, major service providers such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook provide both native apps and Web apps to end-users. Essentially, the performance differences between these two types of apps haven't been addressed. Indeed, the performance differences make non-trivial impacts on apps development, deployment, and distribution. In this article, we conduct a measurement study on the performance of native apps and Web apps on Android smartphones. Specifically, we want to explore given the same functionalities, do Web apps always perform poorly compared to native apps. We select 328 services from some popular providers, covering various domains such as e-commerce, map, social networking, and entertainment. With HTTP-level trace analysis, we demystify the workflows on how native apps and Web apps deliver services on mobile devices, respectively. Then, we characterize the performance differences between native apps and Web apps with the metrics including the number of requests, response time, data drain, and energy consumption. We find that the performance of Web apps is better than native apps in more than 31 percent cases. Our derived knowledge can suggest some recommendations to improve the performance for mobile apps.