Over the past 18 months, I’ve been building a website that will help people find volleyball matches more easily - to help them find matches nearby or to follow their favorite teams. It’s always been a website; it’s never been an app. I have no intention of making it an app. It’s been interesting that people who hear about it assume it will be an app and ask me what platform it’s on. Here’s why it’s a website and not an app.
Websites can be viewed by anyone with a web browser. Apps must run on specific platforms for specific devices. The app space, while large, isn’t universal. The app platforms expire as version numbers increase and support wanes or disappears. Further, some devices cannot be upgraded because the device maker won’t upgrade the OS.
A web browser must only understand HTML. Further, newer HTML (like HTML 5) is still supported because the browser is built to ignore HTML it doesn’t understand. As a result, my site can run on the oldest browsers all the way to the newest ones. Got Lynx? No problem. You’ll still be able to find matches nearby. Got the latest smartphone and plentiful data? It’ll work there, too, and take advantage of its features.
My site will take advantage of newer technologies like geolocation and local storage. However, the service will not be dependent on them. For example, if a site visitor doesn’t have geolocation capabilities or doesn’t allow the site to use them, they will still be able to enter their location manually to find matches. This has the added benefit of allowing people to find matches in other locations, too. Win, win, in my book.
Volleyball is a world-wide sport, played in areas that have different internet infrastructure than where I live (sometimes better, more likely worse). It’s important that my site is usable regardless of this. My goal is to expose as many people as possible to volleyball. To do that, I need to rely on the most open, universal browsing platform - the World Wide Web.