Normal web site
On the internet
Covered elsewhere. It's called the web. Except there is a wrinkle of
interest to some of us -offline mode
ServiceWorker tech allows you to
serve a web app even without connectivity. I don't care enough about
this to really understand the API; I just cargo culted enough bits to
make it go. Seems to work.
Local dev website
You can do a lot by just hosting a webpage somewhere, and even some things with an HTML files on your hard disk, although these are locked down for security reasons.
So you run a localhost dev server.
Desktop embedded browser
The approach popularised by the abominable Adobe AIR is less terrible. Can also be made to run with, e.g. python GUIs.
Yep, you can run this on the desktop with a GUI and everything. It's not-too-hardish.
Now, choose your weapon:
Compare these two options.
Smartphone framework apps
react-native is facebook's attempt to generalise to native apps. I don't understant its precise relationship.
ionic builds on cordova with native look-and-feel.
Run it straight in your Chrome browser.
- Weird script inclusion style that is not quite the native web
- doesn't generalise to other browsers
- more powerful than usual web-pages (UDP!)
- instant web store
- Can include compiled C++ code vial PNaCl
- chrome apps extension (essential)
- chrome apps documentation (explanatory)
- chrome dev editor is useful for building apps, but it has been abandoned for unspecified reasons
- Frameworks need to support Content Security policy, whatever that is. At least two frameworks can handle this.