Native vs Hybrid vs Web Apps - Which Mobile App Development is better for Businesses?
Mobile devices have penetrated the market so deeply that every other user uses a mobile phone regularly. By 2019 the smartphone users have reached up to 2.7 billion users.
By the end of this year, almost a third of the global population will have a smartphone with them. With such usage, there has been a rise in mobile app development.
There have been users who rely on various mobile applications daily. These include social media apps, news apps, online education apps, and more.
Looking at such a situation the mobile app development has ramified into 3 basic types of development — web app development, native app development, and hybrid app development. So which one is the best for businesses? The businesses should select the type of development depending on the business objectives and product goals they need to fulfill.
Let’s take a look.
What is Web App Development?
It is easy to confuse web app development and websites. But generally, a website offers detailed information compared to a web app. Therefore a web is considered as a condensed form of a website. Also, a web app is known to enhance the functionality compared to the website.
The web app can be rendered in popularly used browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, or Firefox. Most importantly a web app doesn’t have to be downloaded from the app store as we do with other mobile apps. In addition to this since a web is rendered on a browser, it does not take physical storage on the user’s mobile device.
If you aim to provide mobile-friendly content to a wide range of audiences then you should consider the development of web apps. Web apps are cost-effective in a way so that you can introduce your product to a lot of users. A bottleneck with this kind of development is increased load times small images if the network connectivity is poor.
How to build a Web - App?
There is no specific software development toolkit for the developers to develop the web app. But the developers can use templates for the development process.
Moreover, web development is straightforward and a quick process yet it does not offer the same feature set as a native app.
What are Progressive Web Apps?
Progressive web apps serve as a blend of regular web pages and native mobile applications. As we saw previously web apps do not have the same functionality as native apps offer like push notifications and offline availability.
However, browsers and web apps are advancing with time. Thus, progressive web apps can drink features similar to native apps which include push notifications, accessing device hardware like vibrations, and enhanced touch gestures.
The only downside here is progressive web apps are compatible only with Google Chrome. This means that iOS users cannot access a progressive web app.
If your business plans to develop a progressive web app, then the exclusion of iOS users can prove to be a massive disadvantage. The reason behind this is that iOS users spend a lot of money on apps and in-app purchases.
Advantages of Web Apps:
Following are the advantages of web apps:
- Web apps require low maintenance since they use a common code base across various mobile platforms.
- As long as a web app can be executed in an appropriate web browser, you can build web apps for all the platforms.
- Compared to native app development web apps are cost-effective.
- Web apps don’t follow standard OS protocols and don’t need approval from the marketplace. Therefore they can be launched at any time in any format.
- A web app does not need manual updating, and whenever a new version is available, it is rendered automatically.
Disadvantages of Web Apps:
Let us go through some disadvantages of web apps:
- Web apps cannot leverage device features and have limited access to the hardware.
- Web apps run on browsers. Therefore a user has to type a URL or search a specific page to fulfill an aim. This complicates the user experience.
- Since the error a lot of browsers available in the market, there are various usage patterns and performance metrics, that vary from browser to browser. Hence, product roadmap development becomes a difficult process.
- Webs apps have poor discoverability and without proper marketing, users will not be able to find them. Also, web apps are not listed in the app store.
- Web apps are slow and less responsive compared to native apps.
- They offer limited interaction and an intuitive interface compared to native apps.
- Since a web app is not listed on the app store, you don’t get any branding opportunities.
What is Native App Development?
The most common form of mobile application development is native app development. Native apps are developed for specific platforms and are developed using languages that adhere to the platforms.
Popular languages for native Android app development are Java or Kotlin. Whereas iOS app development uses Swift and Objective-C for native app development.
In addition to this, the native app development is built using an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for selected operating systems.
Major platforms like Apple and Google provide their own development tools, interface elements, and standard development toolkit (SDK).
There are many benefits of developing a native mobile app hence many companies prefer native mobile app development.
Advantages of Native App Development:
- Of all the approaches, native apps provide enhanced performance.
- Various app stores and marketplaces support native apps completely.
- Since a native app is listed in an app store, there are increased chances of a user discovering the app.
- Native apps offer interaction, an intuitive interface, and smooth execution as far as user input and output are concerned.
- With the native app development, the developers can access the complete feature set of the targeted platform.
- With native apps, the user experience is enhanced since the native app follows the guidelines of the mobile operating system.
- As a native app is approved by the respective platform the app comes with quality, security, and device compatibility.
Disadvantages of Native App Development:
- Native app development requires experienced developers to develop the app.
- Native app development is an expensive affair compared to web or hybrid app development.
- If you want to develop a simple application native app development should not be preferred.
What is Hybrid App Development?
As the word says hybrid it means that hybrid app development can work on various platforms and still behave similarly to native apps. A hybrid app is a blend of a native app and a web app.
Essentially hybrid app is a web app that offers access to additional native app features. It is possible to include native features when you deploy a rapper who acts as a bridge between platforms.
The hybrid app is made up of two parts:
- The native shell is downloadable and renders the code through a WebView.
Advantages of Hybrid App Development:
- The user does not need a web browser to access hybrid apps.
- Hybrid apps can access a device’s internal API and hardware.
- For hybrid app development, the developer requires only one codebase
Disadvantages of Hybrid App Development:
- Hybrid apps have a slow speed compared to native apps.
- You have to rely on a third-party platform to deploy the app’s wrapper with hybrid app development.
- Increased customization takes away the purpose behind the development of a hybrid app. Moreover, this becomes an expensive affair where you can save money with native app development.
- It becomes difficult for the developers to fix issues that stem from both native and hybrid app development.
- Since the hybrid apps are rendered in a WebView the performance is downgraded.
- Customizations Alice with the hybrid app development which leads to poor user experience.
Web vs. Native vs. Hybrid — Which one is a better choice for Businesses?
We saw each type of mobile app development along with its merits and demerits. Therefore, it is important to study the business objectives before you can decide which type of app development you want to follow.
Before finalizing the type of development you should consider the following parameters:
- The speed of the app
- The kind of user experience that you want to have in your app.
- The feature complexity in the app.
Be fast, responsive, and reliable before the kind of approach you decide to take up. With the increased use of mobile apps the users demand enhanced mobile experiences. Therefore it becomes essential to meet their demands.
Whichever app development approach you decide to take up, you should keep the following things in mind:
- The content and services of your app should have easy access to the API infrastructure of your app.
- Make sure that the mobile app you develop is an extension of your brand instead of being a copy of your company’s website.
- Always understand and consider the users’ expectations, behavior, and adopt the approach accordingly.
Cost Factor for Native vs. Hybrid vs. Web App Development:
It is important to consider the cost for each of the app development approaches. However, you should not rely solely on the cost factor. As far as app development is concerned, a rich user experience is a key to success.
Therefore before deciding the type of development approach you should take user experience into consideration. This helps you decide which approach to take up.
The process of selection between the native web and hybrid app development relies on various factors. These factors include business requirements, app requirements, the experience of the developer, and the timeline required for app development. It is important for you to understand that every type of app offers a different experience to the user. Hence, it is essential to understand the merits and demerits of each concept before beginning the development.