Native App Development vs. Hybrid and Web App Building
Aleksandra Bessalitskykh | 03/12/2018 21:18https://mlsdev.com/blog/167-native-app-developmentA native app, a hybrid app, or a web app? Which one to choose? But it is very important to build a product that performs well so that your app could be successful.
It can be hard to see the distinction between mobile web apps and mobile websites with a responsive design. Mobile websites look just like apps; you can access them via your mobile browser and they are not listed in your phone menu. A website provides extended information which makes it impossible to fit on a mobile screen. On the contrary, the advantage of a mobile web app over a website is that the former concentrates the major information with improved functionality.
Native apps, though they are the most expensive, provide the best quality, performance, and user interaction. A native is an app that is designed to be fully complied with the guidelines and requirements of a particular operating system. In native app development, apps are built separately for each operating platform. Native development benefits from complete unity with the device and its features, like a camera, contact list, GPS, etc. Native app examples are: Google Maps, LinkedIn, Twitter, Telegram, PokemonGo, etc. These examples have both native Android and iOS apps.
Advantages of Native Apps
- Smooth work, fast operating speed, and flawless performance (these apps are built for a specific OS and take full advantage of the processing speed of the device)
- Great design and user experience possibilities (implementation of sophisticated UX/UI design and animation)
- Native UI allows users to understand navigation within the app more quickly
- Good integration with the hardware of the device (e.g. camera, GPS, phone, touch screen)
- Easy to launch in the App Store. When it comes to the question of native vs hybrid app or a mobile web app, native applications follow the OS (Android or iOS) guidelines completely.
- Better security & reliability (native apps are checked and approved by the App Store)
- Easy to implement new sophisticated features that the market demands (AI, VR, AR, IoT, etc.)
- Ability to operate offline (internet connections is necessary if there is corresponding functionality)
- SDK for developers (gives half-ready, regularly updated solutions and libraries that interact properly with a given operating system)
The major cons of native mobile apps:
- High initial investment. With native apps, you either cut off half of the market and concentrate on one platform (at least in the beginning), or develop a native app for each platform
- Good-quality development team. You need a team of skilled developers with wider specialization to build a top-notch app that will conquer the hearts of your target audience
- The maintenance and update costs grow proportionally to the line of supported OS devices
- Require constant updates to keep up with the current OS versions
- The app content is not available via search engines. A user can access the content in the app once it has been downloaded.
- Both Apple App Store and Google Play get 30% commission from every in-app payment
- Users of different devices could be using different versions of the app, which can complicate maintenance
When it is advisable to choose native app development:
- when high app performance is necessary
- in order to keep up with competitors in instances of similar app ideas or markets
- when the app market niche is unoccupied, start with unique first product version (MVP).
- when time is on your side and it is possible to plan everything in advance and wait 6 months before app launch
- if you plan to scale and update the app on a constant basis
The positive points of building hybrid apps are as follows:
- Cost-efficient development due to a range of ready-made components, modules, and frameworks available
- “Compile once, run everywhere” option reaches a wider audience of iOS, Android, and Windows platforms simultaneously
- Design and UX equality allows users to recognize app elements and predict navigation on different devices
- Flexible and adaptable development of UX/UI Design
- Growing support from development community (e.g. React Native)
- Less qualified software programmers are still capable of development
- Easy to work with, maintain, and upgrade
- Can be downloaded from app stores
Here are other important drawbacks to consider:
- Possible performance issues (delays, especially with clicks, list scrolling, swipes, etc.)
- Issues with user app experience (it is hard to align the app interface across platforms with no issues)
- Issues with animation (this is extremely difficult in a hybrid environment, things may freeze)
- Lack of complete integrity with the device and OS (e.g. so-called built-in accessibility for a user with issues like a change of the font size)
- Inability to implement complex features (e.g. in-app analytics - charts, diagrams)
- Lack of reliance on the development tools (some instruments are not able to implement some functions until the framework allows)
- Inflexible hybrid development frameworks (these cannot quickly adjust to the changing tech environment and keep up with all the updates)
- Potential integration issues (e.g. advanced storage options, notification preferences, local settings)
- Need to customize apps to a large number of existing browsers
- Potential issues with app launch in the marketplace, sometimes non-native apps are denied as they cannot comply with guidelines from both OSs
The general recommendation is not just to choose the affordable app variant, but rather the one that fits the market needs and provides the biggest value to the target audience.
Follow this article to find out more details about the differences between native, hybrid and web apps.
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