Mobile App dilemma: what to choose Native or Hybrid development?

2014-11-24 by Marina Astapchik

Need to improve your business? – Catch possibilities, grab customers` attention — that`s what business gurus tell us at their trainings. But how to grab the attention of those whose attention is already stolen by the most absorbing thing of the 21st century — the Gadget? Easily, but only if you know what to do. Create something that will stuff your customer`s gadget and you will get what you want. How?

Turn to mobile app development and get an app for your business. Mobile apps are everywhere in every gadget and in life of practically every person. We buy them at marketplaces or download them for free. They greatly simplify our life as they can be useful, informative or just entertaining. And they can be very profitable to such an extent that many travel agencies, real estate firms, bars, restaurants, hotels and other companies already have them.

So day has come when you are longing to have an app to make your business more up to date and mobile. And you go to the IT Company and ask them to develop you a good app. But, IT developers are not easy people to understand, they strike your mind with a barrage of obscure phrases and words, and you notice that you keep nodding every time they ask something so as not to look an ancient "Dinosaur".

Well, so as not to be involved in the situation like that and to be sure that your mobile app will ideally be suited for your type of business, read this article first. It will help you with making your choice while you meet with mobile app developers and you will not feel uncomfortable there.

The first and the most important dilemma that will arise will be: What to choose Native or Hybrid Development?

To start with, mobile apps can be of three different types: a native app, a web app or a hybrid app. Each one is best for a concrete goal and each one will be best for you if you choose it upon your specific requirements and needs.

1) A native app and what it is good for.

A native app is a kind of an app developed specifically for one type of a mobile platform either only for iOS or for Android or for Windows Phone or etc. That means that it will work on one platform and will not be suitable for another. Such apps are usually downloaded through official marketplaces. Furthermore, native apps are installed into the software of the gadget and they can use its functions (camera, microphone, accelerometer, geolocation, address book, player, etc.) efficiently. Native apps do not obligatorily require an Internet access. Besides that they are very thrifty in the issue of memory and battery consumption. Speaking about the speed of data processing, native app is truly the fastest type and the most functional one of the three.

As you see, native apps are full of arguments to become your choice. But, they also have some drawbacks you need to be aware of.

Here they are:

1. Due to the fact that native application development requires knowledge of specific programming environment, native apps become more complicated than the other ones to develop. Not every app developer can create a good native mobile app.

2. Native apps operate with only one mobile platform. That implies that if you order a native app, it will be available for owners either of Android or iOS or one of other platforms. If you want your app to be native and to be available for both iOS and Android, you will need to order two native apps to be developed.

3. In case you need to change something slightly in your native app, you will need to create an update to your app.

4. All three previous points push me to the conclusion that native app development is not a one-day task and is therefore rather expensive. The whole process becomes even more expensive if you decide to create two native apps for two mobile platforms. The absence of possibility to make changes in the app creates the necessity to develop updates. And it also increases costs.

At the same time, notwithstanding the fact that native apps are more expensive and more time-consuming in development, they become the choice of people who need the fastest and the most functional app. Such apps are ideally suited for games, social networks, geolocation services, photo sharing services — for those apps where processing speed and functionality are the key factors.

2) A web app.

This is a kind of a web app optimized for different mobile platforms and created with the help of HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. It may happen that a user will not notice the difference between a web app and a website. But the difference lies in the ability of the user to change information, interact with the web app, while information presented at the website is static and not changeable.

In order to use such an app you will need a permanent access to the Internet, in other case, it will not work. Furthermore, such apps are not installed into the gadget`s software and therefore they are less functional and speedy. But they definitely have some benefits over the native apps: they do not require deep knowledge in mobile application engineering that is why the process of development and support is faster and easier. Such apps cannot send push messages and they are less expensive than native ones. One more important detail to be mentioned is the fact that such apps can operate at different mobile platforms without any additional adaptation.

Web apps are not widely spread, but they are reasonably a good option for those whose main aim is simply to deliver information to the customer. If you search for some info in the Internet, the first type of app to be found will be a web app. These apps are the first in the matter of info search.

If you once decide to extend your web app`s functionality you will need to rewrite the app from the scratch. Such apps do not differ a lot from regular websites and this fact can easily drive off your customers.

Web apps cannot be sold through marketplaces and require specific payment systems to be created once you decided to sell such an app.

3) A Hybrid App.

You have probably guessed that this kind of an app is a mix of features of the previous two types: a native and a web app. It is created as a native app but can function at different platforms. Such apps are also installed into the gadget`s software and do not require permanent internet access.

Their "shell" is written with the help of native programming languages while their "filling" can be written to a certain degree with the help of HTML5. They are less expensive than native ones and less functional. But they are more functional than web apps and speedier. In comparison with a web app, a hybrid app does not require a browser to be launched and updated. Such apps are usually distributed through app stores and therefore should fit definite app stores requirements.

Their satisfactory quality and affordable costs for development and maintenance make this type of app the most winsome and popular one.

In a nutshell, it would be erroneous to say that one of these three types of apps is the best one. Each of them serves a special goal. Need a fast app with reach functionality and smart interface — choose native application development. Have a small budget — choose a hybrid mobile app development. A web app would be ideal if your company is to be the first in the search bar and if your aim is just to deliver a kind of info to the customer.

Elinext Group iOS mobile application projects:

Mobile application for iOS "LingJob" Case Study
Ariel Deep Down Cleaning Case Study
Pantene Pro-V Game Case Study
CanaryVoice Case Study
QPR RoadShop Case Study

Industries and Technology Areas

Industries: IT

Technology Areas: software development, mobile application development, iOS 8

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