“There’s an app for that.”

It’s a phrase that Apple has made part of our daily conversations. Mobile applications, or “apps,” have become an integral part of our Internet browsing experience. However, there are many compelling reasons why developers may choose not to create an app and instead choose to create a “web-based” solution.

For example, web-based solutions make it easier to address multiple platform and operating system considerations since there is no platform-dependency (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc). This becomes an important consideration as new platforms and new versions of existing platforms are introduced frequently.

Apps also require user installation and require the user to keep the app version updated. It’s frustrating when you’re in a hurry, open an app, and discover a message that says, “Update required.” You then have to return to the marketplace, such as iTunes, to obtain the updated app.

Speaking of iTunes, app development requires marketplace considerations. Even if the app is free, the user will have to establish an account with the marketplace provider in order to download the app. If the marketplace experiences outages, the app and updates may be temporarily unavailable for download. Furthermore, much of the app development time can be spent meeting the requirements of the marketplace provider, often adding unnecessary hours, days or weeks to the overall development time required.

Ongoing development of web-based solution is easier since it doesn’t require developers to repeat the process of evaluating platform-compatibility and marketplace considerations. Web-based solutions don’t require users to update their app each time the developer makes updates.

The performance and appearance of a web-based solution can be very similar to that of a desktop-installed app. In fact, most smartphone operating systems allow you to create shortcuts on your home screen that look and feel much like apps but do not require updates and do not rely on operating system updates.

That’s not to say that apps are bad. In many ways, they’ve created convenience and changed the way we approach Internet browsing. But it’s valuable to consider the important reasons why developers may choose to go with a web-based solution over an app.