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Mobile App vs. Website

Short Answer

Build a mobile application if you expect each user to make frequent use of your service, if you require offline usage, if you’re providing more than just information, and/or if your budget is high.

Table of Contents

  1. Mobile Features
  2. Offline Use
  3. Updates
  4. Expense
  5. Conclusion

Mobile Features

If your idea relies heavily on the use of features with better support on mobile devices than on desktop, a mobile app might be the right choice. The following are just some of the features with better support on mobile apps:

  • location-based features and GPS
  • fingerprint recognition
  • camera
  • accelerometer
  • notifications

Too add, if your intent is to provide people with basic information such as articles, contact forms, and galleries, developing a mobile app may be overkill.

Offline Use

Mobile applications can be utilised while you aren’t connected to the Internet. For instance, some applications allow users to upload content while offline. The upload will be cached and queued locally on the device until a connection is made to the Internet. Such offline utility is only provided by some websites — progressive web applications.

Progressive Web Apps

Progressive web apps are modern websites that attempt to imitate the behaviour of mobile apps. They allow for functionality and features such as offline usage, and “Add to Homescreen” (adding a shortcut icon to your phone’s home screen). The downside to progressive web applications is that they are a new concept, and most users aren’t aware of them.

Visit vs. Install

Installing mobile applications can be a hassle for user, whereas, the web alternative of visiting a URL is trivial. Of course, once an app has been downloaded, it’s only a tap away. A good criteria to examine is the expected usage pattern of your idea; that is, will each user be using your service multiple times throughout the day, weekly, a few times in a lifetime, etc.? The higher the frequency, the less costly the install will appear to the user.


Changing (or updating) content on a website is much easier to do than on a mobile application. This is due to the fact that mobile applications are cached on the mobile device; while websites tend to push the most up-to-date content per visit.


Mobile apps tend to be more expensive than websites for a few reasons. First, web development is older than app development; hence, there are better and more tools and resources for web development than for mobile development. Although developers could use development tools such as React Native and Cordova to write a single code base that works on all mobile OSes, you might not achieve the best speed and usability. Also, there are more web developers than there are mobile developers.


In an ideal world, you’d have the budget to develop both a mobile application and a website. But when choosing between the two, consider mobile applications’ expense, update complications, installation, and offline utility. Mobile application, website, or both? You’ll have to start somewhere.

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Carassauga App by harpLabs


We, harpLabs Inc., built the app for one of the largest multicultural festivals in the world, Carassauga. The app was used by attendees in 2016 and 2017.

What is Carassauga?

Carassauga is a festival that takes place annually in Mississauga. Carassauga boasts to be the largest multicultural Festival in Ontario and is now recognized as the 2nd largest cultural Festival in Canada. Attendees hop from pavilion to pavilion located around the city within the course of 3 days. In 2017, there were 31 pavilions. Each pavilion represents one or more nation, and hosts performances, sells souvenirs, samples foods, and engages in other cultural activities.

Figuratively put, Carassauga is a tour around the world. Flirting with this metaphor, tickets to the event are referred to as “passports”.

Screenshot of the Carassauga App

We Built Their App

Carassauga contacted us to build their app in 2016. We were tasked to support both iOS and Android devices. Complementing Carassauga’s metaphor of being your ”tour around the world”, the app serves as your compass. The app provides pavilion listings, schedules, reviews, related social media posts, shuttle bus info, directions, and more. The main goals of the app was to guide attendees, and spark social media engagement during the festival.

harpLabs President, Mina Michail, and Mayor of Mississauga, Bonnie Crombie, launching Carassauga app

Carassauga employed the app in 2016 and in 2017. It was a big success. In case you’d like to read more about Carassauga and the app, Mississauga News wrote an article.

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Should I Use WordPress?

Short Answer

Use WordPress if you don’t plan on making a site as complex as Facebook or Reddit, and if you plan to only support a handful of WordPress’s easy-to-implement features.

Table of Contents

  1. What is WordPress?
  2. Easy-to-add Features
  3. WordPress Pros
  4. WordPress Cons
  5. Conclusion

What is WordPress?

Before you can understand what exactly WordPress is, you’ll need to understand how websites work.

How Websites Work

When you visit, your computer starts a conversation with’s server (which is also a computer). The server is a computer running a program that sits and waits for webpage requests (HTTP requests). When a request is made, the server assembles and spits out a file based on the request (URL and other parameters).

Laptop having conversation with server.


WordPress is just a bunch of code that sits on the server, and assembles and spits out the webpages (and other files on your website) based on what visitors request. To add, WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System) which means that some of the webpages will allow you to manage the content and features of the entire website.

Easy-to-implement Features

The following list of features are either built-in to WordPress or are easy to add:

  • Blogs/Articles
  • Image/Video Gallery
  • Forms (e.g., “Contact Us” forms)
  • Small Online Store (e-commerce)
  • Social Media Feeds

If your site mostly consists of a combination of the above features, WordPress is a good bet.

WordPress Pros

  • Good SEO Support
  • Free
  • Quick Deployment
  • Wide Feature Support

Good SEO Support

WordPress is very SEO-friendly, because it adheres to good SEO practices, provides a good selections of SEO plugins, and utilizes server-side rendering.


WordPress’s source code is free. But note: this does not mean that running a WordPress website will be free. There’s still the cost of running a web-server, labour, and domain name registration. Additionally, if you want to optimize security, aesthetics, and ease-of-use, you may have to spend some money on WordPress themes and plugins.

Quick Deployment

There are a ton of online services and tutorials that enable you to deploy a WordPress website in very little time.

Wide Feature Support

Since WordPress has been around and open-source for a very long time (more than a decade), solutions can be found for all sorts of problems. These solutions exist in the form of plugins, themes, and other WordPress tweaks. Want to support multiple languages? There’s a plugin for that. Want to add a “share on social media” button to various pages? There’s a plugin for that. Want to duplicate the contents of your site? There’s a plugin for that.

WordPress Cons

  • Insecure
  • Can Become Slow
  • Not developer-friendly


WordPress is open-source meaning anyone can view the source code. Exposed code means exposed vulnerabilities. It’s also extremely popular. Almost a third of all websites employ WordPress. This also means it’s a popular target for hackers.

Can Become Slow

If you wish to support a truck load of features, you’ll very likely end up using a truck load of WordPress plugins. The use of a lot of WordPress plugins could drastically slow down your website. Additionally, WordPress is written in PHP. PHP is old. WordPress is old. And old, unfortunately, is slow.

Not developer-friendly

During my 16-month internship at harpLabs Inc., I implemented about a dozen custom WordPress plugins. One thing I learned is that WordPress is easy on users, but hard on developers. It’s easy to deploy and maintain a WordPress website, but it is difficult to develop WordPress plugins and themes. This is mainly due to the fact that WordPress is old (initially released in 2003); hence, it doesn’t employ the best and most up-to-date coding practices. Newer technologies tend to have friendly, prettier code design and structure.


You can (relatively) easily and quickly deploy a WordPress website that supports a good number of different features like e-commerce and surveys; but, note that WordPress is quite old (thus, can be slow) and isn’t the most developer-friendly technology. Good luck with your adventures.