The OW2 Quick App Initiative explores technologies, use cases and business dynamics centered on quick apps, a new paradigm of light, no-install, hybrid applications for smart devices. The initiative was launched by Huawei Europe in collaboration with 5 European organisations; Alliance Tech (France), CTIC (Spain), Famobi (Germany), FRVR (Denmark & Portugal) and Santillana (Spain). More recently, it has been joined by e Foundation (France) and Olisto (Netherlands).
The initiative is a respectful, consensus driven community, founded on the ideals of open source (transparency, collaboration, sharing, open to all). It operates in accordance with a community agreed charter, and is overseen by OW2, one of Europe’s preeminent open source organisations.
- Learn about quick apps in the White Paper
- Subscribe to the mailing list
- Get stuck in with the start guide
- Ask the team a question about QAI
Quick apps implement W3C MiniApp standards
Quick apps are a way to develop, package and distribute MiniApp compliant applications across platforms
Quick apps facilitate the process of development through advanced UI components and predefined native APIs (e.g., push notifications, network monitoring, Bluetooth, camera …). These enable developers to design and build usable, reliable and efficient applications rapidly.
- Compared to a native Android app, and looking at equivalent functions, quick apps require 20% less lines of code –> easier for the developer, lighter on download infrastructures, less impact on device storage.
- The process of updating and maintaining quick apps is more straightforward than for native apps –> developers can easily update their quick apps and efficiently deliver new versions to end-users.
- Quick apps support multi-channel distribution using deep links, marketplaces, web-links, and specific device assistants –> app providers can maximize app discoverability and perform innovative marketing activities to promote their services and products.
Scratching an itch
- Companies and public services increasingly need an app presence to reach their audiences, yet writing, publishing and updating apps is for many an impractical proposition. A lack of app presence robs such organisations of the rich engagement and business opportunities that apps provide.
- Publishing apps as an output of school courses (“hey kids, this term we’re going to make an app for your phone”), or maker communities and home hobbyists, or in support of local community events, sporting meets, or even research experiments is simply not realistic.
- App marketplaces are filled by millions of new apps each year, making it paradoxically harder for users to find apps, and frustratingly harder for businesses to get their apps seen;
- App marketplaces act as gatekeepers that undemocratically decide censorship rules, skim usage taxes whilst stifling open market cost dynamics, and absolutely control in-store publication and promotion opportunities.
- Sustainability goals beseech better resource efficiency, yet we download apps with abandon, consuming network bandwidth and bloating our devices;
- Study after study highlight the growing problem of user app fatigue, especially for ad hoc needs.
In short, it’s difficult to imagine how the current app dynamic can efficiently, sustainably and inclusively scale with the growing needs of smart homes, smart cities, connected transport, telehealth, and the societal shift towards online products and services.
This is where MiniApps, and in this case, quick apps “scratch the itch”. No installation perceived by the user, liberty of distribution channels, easy to code, reduced impact on device storage and network usage, minimal access friction from a user perspective, huge discoverability and engagement opportunities from a business perspective. Perfect for ad hoc needs, in-the-moment experiences, and devices of all types.
Where’s the catch?
Mini apps and quick apps as concepts and technology platforms are widely used by consumers and developers in Asia. In China, 12 leading phone vendors support quick apps out-of-the-box, including Huawei, Lenovo, OnePlus, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE.
1.2 billion devices support quick apps, but the vast majority of these are in China and Asia.
Despite this massive popularity and the driving needs highlighted above, outside of Asia the concept is largely unknown. Indeed, in Europe the quick app ecosystem is still very much “greenfield”. Developers, by and large, do not know the technology, businesses and consumers are unaware of the concept and its opportunities, and unlike in Asia, only Huawei devices come out-of-the-box with the necessary quick app framework integrated with the OS.
The OW2 Quick App Initiative
The initiative aims to encourage, support and foster a vibrant and diverse quick app ecosystem in Europe (and beyond) to deliver on the promise of quick apps.It has 4 ambitions:
- Raise quick app awareness within developer, business and consumer communities;
- Build and share a commons of quick app knowledge and experience;
- Build and share quick app tooling (for example, tools, code templates, plugins for IDEs, test-beds, etc.);
- Support W3C MiniApp Working Group activities.
The initiative brings together a multidisciplinary group of people from different organizations and countries. It covers a wide range of industries and topics, fosters innovation and entrepreneurship, advocates for core values such as sustainability, resilience, user privacy and ethical use of the technology.
- An open community: Any organization (public, private, academia, research …), or individual, may participate in the activities and become a participant of the initiative;
- Vendor-neutral: The initiative is focused on raising quick app concept awareness, developing tools and documentation, as well as exploring use cases from a vendor-neutral perspective;
- Transparent and driven by group’s consensus: Resolutions of the initiative and its activities are based on community consensus under the principles of openness and transparency;
- Topic-oriented work: Participants may propose specific Task Forces to better enable focused collaboration around a specific need or objective;
- Open Source advocate: The initiative is committed to the open source paradigm, fostering the production and release of Free Libre and Open Source code (OSI or FSF approved license), open documentation and open data (Creative Commons).
How to participate
- Initiative participants have so far created Tasks Forces on Gaming, Sustainability and Education. You are welcome to join these, or even propose new ones.
- The Sustainability Task Force has proposed a study to examine quick apps within the apparel and footwear industries (fashion supply chain). Could you help on this?
- Help us deepen and explore use cases across different domains (tourism, health, education, sport, commerce, …).
- Use case exploration is materialised within the initiative as opportunity studies, proof of concepts, pilots, hackathons, events, etc.
- Help us to organise meet-ups as a local ambassador
- Help us social media.
- Could you help deepen, expand and translate online developer documentation?
- Would you be interested in collaborating on an open source quick app engine, or developer tools?
Development of pilot apps
- Let us know if you would like to actively help develop quick app pilots.
- We always welcome developers to assist with the various quick app pilots under discussion.
See you soon!
Everyone is welcome to join the initiative. There are no fees and no obligations to join OW2 (although they always appreciate having new members).
- To join, register here: https://www.ow2.org/view/QuickApp/Participants_Form
- To follow, sign up to the mailing list: https://mail.ow2.org/wws/info/quickapp
- To ask the team a question, email us here: firstname.lastname@example.org
- GitLab space: https://gitlab.ow2.org/quick-app-initiative/quick-app-initiative
- Rocket.Chat discussion space: https://rocketchat.ow2.org/group/QAI-Town-Square
- General information: https://quick-app-initiative.ow2.io/
- Developer documentation: https://quick-app-initiative.ow2.io/developers/guide/
- Twitter: @OW2QuickApps
- Hashtag (for Twitter and LinkedIn): #QuickAppsEU