Native vs. Web vs. Hybrid - Mobile Application Development Platforms
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Comparison of Mobile Application Development Platforms: Native vs. Web vs. Hybrid

While considering our options for getting a mobile application developed, we must consider something important: native, web or hybrid. Should we get a native mobile app developed for the company, or would a web application be a better choice? Would a hybrid app be a better option for the enterprise as compared to the other two, or would it just be a waste of your expenses? What should we consider when making these decisions? What are the benefits of native apps that web apps or hybrid apps don’t provide, and what’s there in hybrid apps, per say, that you will not find in a native or web mobile application?

All the three types of mobile application development platforms have their own benefits and limitations, advantages and disadvantages, pros and cons. There are experienced developers worldwide who can get you the perfect mobile app solution, yet the question is, which type is the better option. Below is a comparison of all you need to consider when making this important decision for your company, based on a general platform type.

 

Native Applications

Native mobile apps are specifically written for particular hardware platforms on the operating system level, i.e. Android, iOS, etc., using OS-specific mobile application development tools. A native mobile app is a smartphone app that is coded in a specific programming language like Objective-C on iOS and Java on Android. The native mobile app provides fast performance and a high degree of reliability. They also have access to phone’s various devices, such as camera address book etc. The user can also use the same app without internet connection. Developers can use the hottest APIs and frameworks, but the code cannot be ported to another platform. These apps also have the best appearances and functionality. This type of app is expensive to develop because it is tied to one type of operating systems. These apps are compiled into machine code (Dalvik bytecode under Android), which gives the best performance you can get from the mobile phone.

Advantages:

  1. Native apps take full optimization while interacting with internal features of the device
  2. Native apps are easier to run
  3. Native apps run faster than hybrid apps, hence user experience is of optimum level
  4. Native apps are easier to develop and work best for developers as they have the required OS-specific tools for app development
  5. Native apps utilize the best graphics and APIs
  6. Native apps have minimum glitches and results in smooth performance, especially in gaming modules as the app is OS-specific
  7. Push notifications in native apps can alert users immediately, unlike with a web app
  8. Developer will only have to update and provide support for a solitary mobile platform, not needing to update multiple codes

Disadvantages:

  1. Apps cannot be ported to other platforms; iOS app will not work on Android
  2. Projects are more costly for developers; especially if the app is available across device versions, such as iOS 6, iOS 7, and iPod, iPhone, etc
  3. Maintenance and updates are costly and tiresome for developer, as is with developing process of the app, especially for diversity in device type and version
  4. Process of app approval from the app store is tedious
  5. No guarantee that the app will get approved
  6. No guarantee of quick popularity among the customers
  7. App needs to be downloaded and take up space on user device
  8. Cannot be used on the web

 

Web Applications

Mobile web apps are software that requires web browsers to run and are developed in a browser-supported language, e.g.: HTML + CSS, or JavaScript. They have easy compatibility on several operating systems. There is no native code used as a must and the apps qualify as mobile websites. Generally, though, a mobile website is read-only while a mobile web app is read-write, enabling the user to interact with the application.

Advantages:

  1. Easy maintenance
  2. Easy manipulation for compatibility with device versions/types
  3. Do not require approval by app stores – can be launched as per developer preferences
  4. Easy and quick app update ability without updating on app stores
  5. Wide variety of functions possible due to HTML5
  6. Do not need to be downloaded
  7. No framework/code restrictions
  8. Least expensive among the three
  9. The only requirement is common skills for app development
  10. Developers don’t need to give a cut of the profit from downloads to app stores
  11. Easily searchable on any web browser

Disadvantages:

  1. Can only run in a browser
  2. Restricted offline operations for web apps
  3. Limited scope for accessing device features
  4. Web apps are not listed in app stores, causing difficulty for users to find it
  5. Users are not always guaranteed security and safety
  6. Slower performance due to need of internet
  7. No push notifications
  8. Lack of OS-particular gestures and features causes confusion for user

 

Hybrid Applications

Hybrid or cross-platform mobile apps are those that have features of the native app but run a web application in the way that they can function on two or more platforms. A single codebase and framework are used to write the code for the application, after which the app can run on a number of platforms. A good example of a hybrid or cross-platform application is Facebook. Hybrid apps are native apps in functionality and downloadability but access the internet for user interaction.

Advantages:

  1. Integration of the web and native app features
  2. Usability of device hardware and features
  3. Ability of device to access internet
  4. Offline availability for certain features
  5. Works on multiple platforms using single codebase and framework
  6. Faster and cheaper to develop hybrid apps than writing multiple apps using OS-specific codes
  7. Native features cause apps to be downloadable through app stores
  8. Push notifications
  9. Apps need the approval to be added to app store, giving them user safety, security and support
  10. Apps are downloadable

Disadvantages:

  1. Limitations in the number of addable features to application due to being native x the web
  2. Strength of internet connection can slow down navigation speed of app
  3. No searchability by browser unless a landing page is established
  4. Hybrid updates have to be re-approved
  5. Inclusion of web codes can cause some features to be unusable
  6. Apps must be installed to be used and take up space on device

Also Read: Cross Platform Mobile App Development – Frameworks Comparison

 

All the three types of mobile applications are being developed on the global scale while having their own glitches and perfections. While an app may have a shortcoming, customers manage to find something in it to cause publicity and continue usage. Meanwhile, other mobile applications happen to be one of the best, yet some user ends up discovering a flaw. Now, it is up to your company to choose your type of application according to your requirements and budgets. If you have any queries, merely need advice on making a decision or would like to hire us as your developers, contact DevBatch now.

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