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Ask HN: Why isn’t there a HN app?
5 points by wombatmobile 4 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 14 comments

Why should there be?

Reddit (for example) would have a perfectly fine mobile web experience except that it harasses you to install a mobile app that is worse than the web site. (Ought to have a steaming turd emoji next to the "call to action")

The app experience is almost always worse than a web site unless an app can take advantage of some special features of the platform such as high-precision locations in the Apple ecosystem.

That's usually because the app is just a shell around the site, designed to collect data and show notifications. HN doesn't make money off the site or collect data. It's just part of a funnel that doesn't rely on impulse purchases. There's also not much value to increasing user engagement. So there's little reason to force people to download an app.

> That's usually because the app is just a shell around the site, designed to collect data and show notifications.

I think the real reason sites like Reddit want you to install their app is that they can't both have fancy JS and speed.

Web browsers are ridiculously complex and slow, and slow means bad UX. An app is much simpler (and thus faster) than a JS-heavy "web app" on Chromium/whatever (which is many millions of lines of code).

HN is fine with just a website and doesn't need an app because it doesn't have fancy JS.

Those apps are such a hassle to use that I can’t see how it ‘increases engagement’ if by that you mean I spend more time using the service.

The bad experience drives people away the same way the ads drive people away from OTA TV.

I don't like Reddit's app, but I click the notifications, then get sucked into it for an hour. But I'd probably use Reddit once a quarter otherwise.

Ouch. Look at my link and you will see I am engaged enough in hacker news. In fact writing on HN displaces better writing I could do on a blog, people who read enough will find out about all my schemes even if they don’t believe what they read.

I made an alternative HN interface that works good on mobile and adds some functionality like dark mode, split pane view for comments, etc..

It's open sourced and you can use it from https://yahni.news

I just tried it, and it's great! Thank you.

FWIW, I’ve really enjoyed using Octal on iOS for the last couple of years.

Because HN's mobile UI is already great. Unlike other websites, HN's mobile UI has all of the same features as the desktop UI.

I don't know what problem an app would solve in this case.

HN mobile UI is serviceable, but it is not great imo. The touch targets are pretty tiny, which can cause a lot of misclicks for pudgy-fingered individuals like myself.

I just zoom in. On my device it's easy; double-tap while dragging your finger down on the second tap.

There are already some great android apps available so I guess no need for any official app. Check out Harmonic and Materialstic for example.

there are many unofficial implementations & PWA webapps

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