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Mobile app development has gone from strength to strength with the advent of technology. Along with bringing a paradigm shift in the way modern organizations work, mobile app development has been an important tool in fostering company-customer relationships as well.
According to the usage and requirement, there are three different ways of mobile app development viz: native mobile app development, hybrid mobile app development, and web app development. Moreover, with such diverse options, it is important for businesses to know their priorities before selecting one such development process.
In this blog, we will have a detailed look at the introduction, perks, and drawbacks of all native, web app, and hybrid mobile app development. In addition, we will also see the head-to-head comparison of the native, web and hybrid mobile app development to know which app development process fits in best according to a situation.
What Is a Native Mobile App?
As the name suggests, native mobile apps are developed for a specific platform with specific tools and for a specific set of audiences. For example, if there is an Android application, it would be written in Java or Kotlin and would be compiled using Android Studio. While on the other hand, iOS app development would be done using Objective-C or Swift and compiled using Xcode.
The developers have full access to the device’s capabilities during the app development and they use the native platform’s default solutions. Moreover, these apps are live on the device and can be accessed through the icons on the home screen. Whether it is the camera, GPS, contact list, or any other, the native apps can take full advantage of the features on the native device.
The native applications can also use the mobile device’s notification system while being in offline mode as well. In addition, they can incorporate new app-defined gestures or the standard operating system gestures in a streamlined fashion.
Downsides of Native Mobile App
Now, if we are looking at the demerits of native mobile apps, the first thing that comes to mind is the budget and team size. One cannot use the iOS apps on Swift and run them on Android devices and vice versa. Therefore, the business organization has to hire a larger team of developers if they want to release the app on both iOS and Android platforms. Also, the user base of native apps is restricted as they are available on specific app stores with applied rules and regulations. So whether it is a new update or a bug fix, the mobile app development organization has to follow the same rule of taking approvals and it can become a tedious process.
What Is a Web Application?
Web applications are nothing but websites that look and feel like mobile apps. They are typically written in HTML5 and are run on a browser. These web apps are popular as they have a native-like quality despite being working on a browser. The users first access the web apps using the web page and then navigate to a special URL that gives them an option to install the app by creating a bookmark.
However, unlike native mobile app development, web apps won't have full access to important features such as address books, etc. But, over the years, access to other features such as GPS and camera has been enhanced, but depending on the nature of the web app, this too can become an issue in the future.
Downsides of Web App
One of the larger challenges that developers face while developing web apps is that there are common app UI controls. These UI controls do not exist natively in the web app and have to be recreated. Moreover, the recreation of the UI controls may also lead to the web app not working properly.
To rectify this problem, Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) were introduced by Google in 2017 and this allowed the web apps to adopt more app-like features such as push notifications, offline capabilities, etc. This standard process is beneficial for the development teams as it allows them to create the app from a single codebase. Also, the process of an app update or bug-fixing can be done in a more streamlined way.
See More: How to Write a Mobile App Business Plan
What Is a Hybrid Mobile App?
Hybrid apps are cost-effective as they play a significant role in reducing the overall app development cost. Therefore, business organizations who are just beginning to find their feet in the market opt greatly for hybrid mobile app development. Moreover, it is also necessary to select a hybrid app development service provider that works on tools such as Sencha Touch and PhoneGap. These tools allow developers and designers to code and design apps across different platforms using HTML.
The plugins of PhoneGap and Capacitor, allow the app to extend its limitations beyond the browser and access the full suite of possibilities of the mobile device. Therefore, as the shortcomings of just being a browser app is overcome, the hybrid mobile app will have parity with the native apps and its entire features.
Downsides of Hybrid app
Similar to web apps, it is necessary to recreate the UI library in hybrid app development. In addition to this, if the application is already running in the device’s native browser and now is implemented in a hybrid, it may cause performance hindrance.
So to resolve the issue of UI library recreation in hybrid app development, select a team of developers that has prior experience in using Ionic, Xamarin, React Native and NativeScript.
Native App vs Hybrid App Vs Web App: What to Choose?
Now according to the requirements of the business organizations, there are advantages and disadvantages of all Native, Web app, and Hybrid app development. Let us summarize them and understand it according to their usage.
1. App Maintenance: Maintaining a native mobile app can be tedious for developers as they have to deal with multiple versions of the same information that too on different platforms. Moreover, if there is hybrid app development, there is no need of packaging the new changes and placing them in the app store. This process makes app maintenance easier and it can be done as frequently as needed.
2. Platform Independence: If platform independence is important for your business, it is advised to opt for hybrid app development as compared to native or web apps. In hybrid apps, codes can be reused therefore developers don't need to code for similar processes on different platforms. In addition to platform independence, hybrid apps are sleek in design.
3. Overall Development Cost: Out of the three options, Hybrid app development is the cheapest. For Native app development, business organizations would require hiring specialized talent which would cost a lot. Since hybrid app development is a perfect mix of both native and web apps, it has an easier learning curve for the developers. Therefore, even rookie mobile app developers can understand the development process and implement it.
4. Speed of the mobile app: In the aspect of speed, native app development wins the race against its counterparts. In the new-age business world, responsiveness is the key to success and that is available in native mobile apps. Therefore, businesses looking to render speed to their users must go for native app development.
5. Consistent User Interface: If the aim of the business organization is to provide a prominent user interface, then they need to look no further than native apps. Moreover, this doesn't mean that the user interface in the web apps or hybrid app development is not up to the mark. It is just that the visuals and graphics and the overall feel are a bit better in native apps.
Whether it is a native app or web app or hybrid app development process, its utility remains subject to the app’s requirement. Therefore, it is necessary for business organizations to understand their target audience and what solution they want to pitch to them.
Having clear thoughts regarding the nature of the app will allow the business organization to also select the right mobile app development partner as well. It is essential to look at the app development service partner’s previous work profile before finalizing them.At Third Rock Techno, we have a core team of experienced mobile app developers and designers that have experience in hybrid app development. We focus on doing in-depth research and understanding client requirements before rendering them customized mobile app development solutions.