Web Apps vs. Mobile Apps: Choose one or both?

Web Apps vs. Mobile Apps: Choose one or both?

As the world grows more digital, customer experience becomes a priority for every entrepreneur looking to launch a business in 2020.

Plus, with the rise in use of mobile devices, businesses need to make their mobile debut. Not only is it essential to gain a competitive edge, but also to ensure the ‘customer experience’ that will keep visitors interested in their products or services.

That said, when it comes to app development, there are two routes for startups and enterprises to take, web apps or mobile apps.

Mobile apps are your traditional native apps or hybrid applications. Web apps, however, are accessible via browsers irrespective of the users’ device’s operating system.

Thus, before you invest in a mobile app or web app development company, you need to understand which path will help you meet your business goals.

The blog highlights the difference between mobile apps vs. web apps and their pros and cons so that you choose the best fit option for you.

Mobile Apps Vs. Web Apps – A Comparison

Mobile apps can be divided into two types, hybrids, and native apps. Native mobile apps are platform-specific for Android or iOS. They offer a better user experience with native interface, offline functionality, access to device’s features, and more.

Conversely, hybrid apps are a combination of web apps and native apps. Using native APIs, they offer a native-like experience on both Android and iOS platforms but are coded via web technologies.

Web apps, however, are accessed via web browsers and compatible with any device, regardless of its operating system. Users don’t need to download or install them. Plus, their responsiveness, enables them to look and act like mobile apps, which is where the confusion arises.

So, let’s look at some features where mobile apps, specifically native apps and web apps, differ. It’ll help you decide if you should hire web app developers or a mobile app development company:

Platform

Unlike web app developers, mobile app companies are proficient in developing apps that are specific to one or multiple platforms. Meaning, they can design platform-specific native apps or cross-platform, hybrid apps.

With platform-specificity, native apps and hybrid apps have certain advantages over web apps, including access to device features, better user experience, and more.

Conversely, not only are web apps accessible irrespective of the device and its operating system, but they also don’t require downloading or installing to use. They offer the same features and functionality on a mobile and desktop browser.

Development

Web apps and mobile apps also differ at their core that is their development process. Thus, you must understand which path is best for you before choosing web app development services or mobile app developers.

For native apps, developers use platform-specific languages for coding. They use Swift or Objective-C for iOS apps and JavaScript or Kotlin for Android. Meaning, if you want a native app for both platforms, you’ll need to build two separate versions of the app.

That said, hybrid mobile app development allows developers to reuse a single codebase for multiple platforms. Meaning, an app for Android can also run on iOS.

Conversely, web application development companies utilize web programming languages, namely HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS3. It allows them to run on browsers like regular websites. While hybrid mobile apps and web apps are built using the same web technologies, cross-platform apps are more native-like than web apps.

Additionally, the development frameworks, cost of developing a web application or mobile apps, and their deployment processes are all factors that separate the two.

Mobile apps need to follow the operating system’s specific guidelines to pass through Play Store’s or App Store’s standards and security check. On the other hand, web apps don’t have such a hurdle.

User Interface

For the user, there is no significant difference between the UI of native apps or web apps. However, for the mobile or web development company, you hire that is not the case.

Native mobile apps follow specific UI requirements of each platform. They feature native APIs that ensure a seamless interface for excellent user experience. The graphical UI that mobile app developers use is such that it allows fast loading and is viewable via mobile devices.

A web application development company, on the other hand, will ensure a flexible UI for their web apps that are compatible with multiple devices. Therefore, the UI needs to offer an exceptional experience irrespective of the screen size.

Accessibility

Native apps are designed to be completely compatible with the users’ devices. The use of Native APIs enables these applications to tap into the device’s features, offering additional functionality, high performance, and seamless experience.

Both native and hybrid apps can access device features like Cameras, GPS, or microphone. Web apps, on the other hand, cannot utilize any attributes that are specific to the operating systems.

Furthermore, the web application development process allows web apps to load directly from the server every time a user accesses it, which means it is updated automatically. Conversely, with native apps, users may need to initiate an update and incorporate any new feature, bug fixes, and more.

Thus, you need to be clear of the purpose of your app and its features. If you want your app to provide added functionality like camera or location tracking, then custom web application development is not for you.

Cost of Development

Another factor that separates web application development from mobile apps is the overall cost of creating an app, its deployment, and post-launch maintenance.

Native mobile apps, in particular, require a hefty investment. It involves writing code from scratch for every platform you aim to target, which means developers invest more time and effort. Additionally, native apps offer fast performance, efficiency, and a seamless interface, which raises the overall price of the app.

Hybrid apps allow developers to reuse the code for multiple platforms, which shortens the development time. Thus, it lowers the overall cost of development as well.

Contrarily, custom web application development is the most cost-effective option than native or hybrid app development, primarily because of less coding.

That said, native apps and hybrid apps require less post-launch maintenance than web apps. Meaning, while the initial investment would be higher for mobile apps, developing a web application would cost more down the road. Web apps require regular maintenance to maintain their quality and performance across different platforms.

Internet Connection

Another advantage of native apps over web apps is that native apps provide offline compatibility. Before you hire mobile app developers or a web application development company, you need to decide if you want to offer the convenience of offline function.

Web apps require an active internet connection at all times for users to leverage app function. Plus, they update automatically, whenever the users run them. Conversely, most native apps can work regardless of a network connection, except for when you need to install updates.

In a nutshell, these differences between mobile apps and web apps are essential factors you need to consider that will decide if you should hire a web application company or a mobile developer.

Pros and Cons of Mobile Apps Vs. Web Apps

Now that you understand how mobile apps and web apps differ let’s look at the pros and cons each development path offers. You need to consider these advantages and drawbacks of mobile and web apps before deciding between a mobile or web application company:

Pros of Mobile Apps

Native apps offer faster performance and a shorter load time than web apps.

Native app development allows your app to access the device’s features, in contrast to web-based software development.

Integration with the device OS and access to native features grants mobile apps greater functionality.

Mobile apps, mainly native applications, can function offline.

Ensure better security and safety as native apps must gain app store approval.

Mobile apps are more convenient to develop because of massive community support and availability of developer tools, SDKs, and interface elements.

Cons of Mobile Apps

Native app development is more expensive than web-based software development.

Unlike the web application development process, developers need to code from scratch to ensure platform compatibility with native apps.

Maintenance and updates are expensive.

Gaining approval of app stores can be challenging, particularly for iOS apps.

Pros of Web Apps

Web apps function in-browser. So, hire a web application development company, if you want to eliminate the need to download and install your app.

The use of a reusable codebase allows for easy maintenance.

They update automatically.

Web app development service is easier and faster than mobile apps.

They offer faster deployment into the market since they don’t require app store approval.

Cons of Web Apps

Do not support offline function.

Web apps offer slower performance than mobile apps.

They can be challenging to discover because of a lack of a hosting platform like Play Store and App Store.

Without the guidelines of app stores, web apps may be of poor quality with gaps in security.

Which is the Better Option?

To conclude, mobile apps and web apps offer several factors that are essential to consider when choosing the right option for your business. Mobile apps are more costly than web apps, but they provide offline function and access to the device’s features, hence their added functionality.

Similarly, native apps offer a better user experience than web apps. But web apps allow faster development and deployment, as well as multi-platform compatibility.

That said, you also need to consider your business requirements and target ROI when making your decision.

So, are you to develop your app? Reach out to our experts and make your mobile debut with a custom web app or mobile app that fits your business.

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