App development industry is advancing as new technologies come to light each year. Google Play and Apple’s App Store are bursting with emerging mobile apps as enterprises seek to leverage their numerous offline and online benefits.
The debate between native and hybrid web app development, however, is a never-ending struggle with no clear outcome. Both paths have their perks and drawbacks, so the choice depends entirely on the purpose of the app and your business goals.
So, to help with your decision, the blog highlights what is native and hybrid app development in its core, its pros, and cons, as well as other factors that are essential to consider.
What is Native App Development?
Native app development is centered around designing mobile apps that are specific to a single platform, Android, iOS, or Windows. Unlike hybrid mobile applications or websites, they do not require a browser to function. Instead, users need to download them from app stores, Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store.
They also require a team of diverse skill set and experience with the different technologies that are separate for native Android applications and iOS apps. Where Android apps are written in Kotlin or Java, Swift or Objective-C is used for iOS app development.
These programming languages are also platform-specific. Meaning an app built with Kotlin or Java won’t run on Apple devices, and vice versa.
Additionally, the use of native SDKs allows native Android applications or iOS apps to take advantage of the devices’ features for added functionality. It enables them to enhance app performance and experience, using features like the device’s camera, GPS, address book, and more.
Consequently, native applications also follow the native UI controls and layouts for each platform. It’s so they integrate with the devices’ OS and provide a seamless experience as any other UI element.
What is Hybrid App Development?
On the other hand, hybrid mobile app development comprises designing applications that are a combination of native apps and web apps. They offer native-like performance, but are written using web technologies, much like web apps.
Furthermore, Cordova and Capacitor enable use of plugins for extending app functionality to access devices’ features. Ionic also provides a range of supported plugins as part of its Enterprise solutions, to overcome limitations of web-only applications.
Native Apps Vs. Web Apps Vs. Hybrid Apps
We discussed native and hybrid mobile app development, so let’s have a look at native apps vs. web apps vs. hybrid apps to see how they compare and better understand their differences.
Furthermore, unlike mobile apps, users can access them via mobile browsers, like Chrome or Safari, instead of downloading them from app stores.
They are also less expensive to develop. But native apps vs. web apps, offer better performance and speed. They also support offline functionality and have access to devices’ built-in features that web apps do not.
Contrarily, progressive web apps (PWAs) are much like native mobile apps, with access to certain device features, ability to send push notifications, and better touch gestures. But they only work with Google Chrome, meaning iOS users can’t access web apps via their smartphones.
On the other hand, progressive web apps vs. hybrid apps are similar in regards to being a fusion of two separate creations. As mentioned before, hybrid apps are a combination of native apps and web apps. Similarly, PWAs are an amalgamation of regular web pages and native mobile apps.
Native Vs. Hybrid: Pros and Cons
Putting native apps vs. web apps and web apps vs. hybrid apps shows that native mobile apps are much better than web apps in every way, except the cost of development. Similarly, hybrid apps and web apps share the same origins, but hybrids mobile applications are closer to native apps in their usability, speed, and access to a device’s features.
That said, here are a few pros and cons of native and hybrid apps, so that you can decide which is better for enterprise mobile app development:
- Platform-specificity allows them to offer fast and smooth performance.
- They integrate with the device to provide a seamless interface, using its UI controls and layout.
- Support offline mode.
- The smooth interactivity of native apps offers a better user experience.
- They have full access to complete device features.
- The cost of native app development is high.
- You need experts on the development team, specializing in technologies and programming languages specific to your mobile app.
- Native app development is slower than others.
- Not ideal for simple apps.
- The cost of development is less than native apps
- It supports multiple platforms.
- Hybrid apps can access devices’ APIs.
- Faster development.
- Maintenance and support are easy.
- Hybrid apps have limited access to devices’ features.
- Needs an internet connection at all times.
- Hybrid apps have performance glitches.
- They have restrictions on design.
- User experience is of relatively lower than native apps.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Native and Hybrid Apps
You’re looking to invest in enterprise mobile apps, so here are a few more reasons to help you decide which app development is for you. With native mobile app vs. mobile web app, native apps are preferred by developers for various reasons. To make your decision, consider:
The Speed of the App
Native apps integrate seamlessly with the devices’ operating system, which not only grants them access to its built-in features, but also ensures flawless performance and fast speed. They have excellent response times and are only limited by the smartphones or tablets’ specifications.
Native apps vs. mobile web apps are better when it comes to the UX and UI. It’s because of the platform-specific UI/UX guidelines developers need to follow to get an app approved on app stores. Plus, the native applications support UI controls specific to the device’s OS, which ensures a seamless interface and interactivity of native apps.
Hybrids, on the other hand, are less efficient when it comes to providing a native user experience. Despite the technologies and cross-platform frameworks now available, native apps still offer a relatively better UI and UX because of their full access to devices’ features.
The Complexity of Features
Another factor to consider when making your decision is the complexity of features you want to add in your enterprise app. Native app development offers complete freedom of design that is not available with hybrid app development.
Hybrid apps or WebView apps target multiple platforms. Thus, you can’t use features specific to a platform.
When you put mobile web app vs. native app, the former is more cost-effective than the latter. Native app development involves writing the code from scratch for every platform you want to target. But hybrid apps cost lower because developers can reuse the code, saving them the time and effort in developing an app for multiple platforms.
Purpose of the App
Based on your app’s purpose, and what you aim to achieve, your choice of development methods will differ. If you’re still validating your ideas, then hybrid app development is a better choice to launch an MVP and test out your product in the market.
Additionally, if you want to target a broad market, then WebView apps would better serve your needs.
Native Vs. Hybrid Web App: Which is Better?
In light of the pros and cons of both development options, one can say native apps have an advantage over hybrid mobile apps, except in some instances. If you have a flexible budget, no time constraints, and want more features in your app, then stick with native app development.
Contrarily, if you have a short development timeline and need to market immediately, then hybrid app development is the best fit for your enterprise app.
That said, the app usability and your business goals, in terms of traffic, conversions, and sales, are what you need to consider when making your decision.
If you need help, then consult with our experts in native and hybrid app development for a professional’s opinion. We can help in deciding the best path for you!