Web-based content

Android offers a variety of ways to present content to a user. To provide a user experience that's consistent with the rest of the platform, it's usually best to build a native app that incorporates framework-provided experiences, such as Android App Links or search. Additionally, you can use Google Play-based experiences, such as App Actions, where Google Play services is available. However, some apps might need increased control over the UI. In this case, a WebView is a good option for displaying trusted first-party content.

Figure 1 illustrates how you can provide access to your web pages from a browser or your own Android app. The WebView framework lets you specify viewport and style properties that make your web pages appear at the proper size and scale on all screen configurations for all major web browsers. You can define an interface between your Android app and your web pages that lets JavaScript in the web pages call APIs in your app, providing Android APIs to your web-based application.

However, don't develop an Android app as a means to view your website. Rather, the web pages you embed in your app must be designed specifically for that environment.

An image showing how to make your web content available to users
Figure 1. You can make your web content available to users in two ways:
in a traditional web browser or in an Android application that includes a WebView in the layout.

Alternatives to WebView

Although WebView objects provide increased control over the UI, there are alternatives that might provide similar functionality with less configuration, faster loading and performance, improved privacy protections, and access to the browser's cookies.

Consider using these alternatives to WebView if your app falls into the following use cases:

Figure 2. Comparison of Chrome, Chrome Custom Tabs, and WebView.

Additional resources

To develop web pages for Android-powered devices using WebView objects, see the following documents: