Not to butt into what seems to be a heated argument but as a mobile developer I can tell you the Interface builders aren't used as much as you think they are.
The Android interface builder is useless. You usually just write your own XML for layouts.
IB on iOS really only saves you time setting the frames of an item, yes it gives you access to some popular properties but not all. Most companies don't even allow the use of nib files because of how difficult they are to resolve merge conflicts in. (OSX is the same way).
RDEs are designed to just make it quick to layout where you want your items to be. A web form is more of a linar layout. You typically don't have forms thrown all over in random places on a page. A drag and drop UI isn't really necessary.
Personally I disagree. I commonly keep my webbrowser window a smaller then normal size. I find it VERY VERY annoying when I am on a responsive site and it starts to give me the tablet layout.
I wasn't happy with how it turned out, I felt like It was going down the wrong path.
As a developer I always feel there is a huge difference between giving your users just enough to be happy and actually making a good product.
Happy user is just meeting minimal expectations. A good product exceeds them.
There's a lot more to going native then you might think. It really becomes a project of reinventing the wheel as you are spending hours trying to render complex HTML in an environment that is not meant to render HTML.
Many companies like facebook are able to recreate their experience well because the content is composed of short plain text blurbs in a controlled environment.
Forums are the complete opposite. They are typically composed of long post. Many of which contain complex HTML layouts. In uncontrolled environments.
If you look at almost every native forum application none of them are any good. (including the IPS one).
Source: I wrote the IPS one.
I know there is a popup that says something along the lines of "your post has been submitted for moderator review". However, I want to ability to physically be able to see my own entire post, edit it, make changes, what-have-you.
I tend to be the kind of person who types the post up, click reply then goes back and proofread.
Not to mention the countless times where I post in a thread go back 5 minutes later and can't remember whether I ever actually clicked submit.
I wrote the IPB mobile applications. Both the iOS version, and the unreleased Android version.
I've extensively researched this topic.
The IPS applications where a side job that I did in my free time. For a day job I manage a team of mobile developers. I daily need deal with the apple approval process, the fragmentation of Android, and read more articles on user patterns of mobile applications then I could count. Trust me I firmly believe after several months of working on the projects myself that IPS is better off developing a web-based solution and advise them to do so.
Saying that IPS is ignoring mobile solutions is inaccurate, trust me I know first hand Lindy and the rest of management know the significance behind mobile solutions, however, they also know their staff's strengths and weaknesses and are doing what is best for their company.
I believe you are developing a misconception based upon the performance boost facebook received when switching to native objective-c code.
The fact of the matter is even though there are several similarities between facebook and IPS given that they are both web based social solutions the content that is being displayed is very different.
Facebook tends to display plain text content with very minimal amounts of rich text. Most labels are one solid color/styling which is what the iOS SDK was built for.
Sure iOS6 now has support for attributed labels and android has always had their HTML class, but they are both very limited. It becomes very complex to properly render post.
Here is a typical facebook layout:
As you can see each and every part of the post can be controlled, Users can only enter plain text so styling is entirely up to how facebook wants to display it meaning they can optimize it as much as possible as there are not any complex layouts. Futhermore if a certain post on facebook can't be displayed properly they can simply leave it out and it wouldn't be all that big of a deal. IPS on the other hand if they just decided a certain post was too complex and didn't show it there would be huge problems.
Natively handeling rich text is not fun on either platforms.
The complexity of handeling rich text natively can often leave to performance issues as the SDK was not built to handle it.
Since web applications technically run in safari they will not be plauged with this issue.
Personally I think you are overrating this. When I download an application I'm not looking for a forum community that I can join. I just want an app that I can use to leech information I need off of.
Especially with iOS6's new "card" display in the appstore app discovery has become increasingly hard.
To be blunt, You cannot be more wrong. Both apple and google have stated at wwdc/google IO that your apps should be built around the "Get your faeces and get out" policy. Users on average will be in your application for <30 seconds.
Web applications on the other hand. People tend to enter and actually try to look for content more often.
Ideally you would want your content to be as easily accessible as possible but then arises the philosophical argument of wether you want people just visiting your site for 2 seconds and leaving or do you want them to get involved.
Honestly I see this changing. (probably on android before iOS) but I see webbrowsers soon being able to handle push notifications.
This is already starting to happen in the desktop scene. It will likely be coming to the mobile scene soon.
Web applications already have access to this...
The "big players" have a little bit more resources then IPS. Yes, IPS is doing well but mobile development takes about 5x the amount of time it takes to just make a good web application. IPS would need to higher an entire team of developers in order to write native applications that could compete with that of their web app.
Trust me it is very hard to find a mobile developer who can work on both iOS and Android and be familiar with IPS Products.
3.4 was made to be more of an admin-friendly release. We have not "gotten away from making the software better for members" it was just planned that 3.4 would be primarily for admins. Trust me front end usability enhancements are still very much on everyone's mind.