Native App VS. Hybrid App, Web App & PWA – Part 1
The demand of the target groups has long since clearly confirmed it: An App – whether developed in iOS, Android, as a web app, native or hybrid – either enriches existing services, simplifies outdated processes, or often simply brings more fun to the target group!
But beware: Companies quickly plunge into app development – and hardly make any progress due to many technical issues and high budgets.
In this article, you will get light once on the topic of App Development & App Project Planning.
Develop App: Native App VS. Hybrid App, Web App & PWA – Part 2
When you create a new app that needs to be consistent with as many operating systems as possible. There are several ways to make a decision not always that easy!
What is the ideal setting? Which Component Libraries should you work with? Do you want to develop an app for both iOS and Android devices?
Ultimately, your decisions depend on the budget you have, as well as the features and design options you want to integrate into your new application for your customers.
Now we start with an overview of the terms of the Application Cosmos – let’s go!
Whether you’re looking to delve into app development for the first time. If or just want to improve existing apps with new features, this beginner’s app guide will help you navigate.
Let’s start with some important definitions:
Native Application refers to applications on mobile devices that are specifically designed and developed for an operating system, that of the respective end device.
They are usually free or paid applications via app stores that are linked to the respective operating system.
A native app is therefore an application that has been developed specifically for a ONE-specific operating system. A native Android app requires an Android phone. An iOS app works on iOS mobile devices. Android apps are searchable in the Google Play Store. On the other hand, you can find a native iOS app in the App Store to download to an iPhone.
Native app components are used to represent the user interface (UI) so that the user feels comfortable or “at home” on their operating system. Native apps have identifiable designs and functionality for each operating system.
When developers build native applications for iOS and Android mobile devices, they use a programming language such as Java or Kotlin and Objective C and Swift, respectively.
Benefits of native apps
The biggest advantage of native applications is that they ensure the best possible performance, speed, and user experience on the respective operating system (iOS or Android).
- A native app can access all specific device features, including information and hardware, such as the phone’s camera, push notifications, and GPS.
- Provides the ability to use certain features and data offline on your mobile device.
- Updates to the operating system in native apps can be used directly. For other approaches, you usually have to wait for an update of the framework or the libraries used.
- Compared to generic apps, stronger and more reliable core security and an option for proprietary remote control of devices.
- Impressive UX that meets users’ extensive expectations of their beloved devices once the application is downloaded.
Disadvantages of native apps
Ironically, the main drawback of native apps is the fact that each app has to be developed individually for the respective operating system.
Because there is a lack of cross-platform capability, a cross-platform app costs more to develop for each operating system. Even if you hire two teams to work in parallel, the cost is almost twice as high – almost, not necessarily.
This means that you get secure, reliable, powerful applications and updates that require a budget. The work is distributed in double/triple source code for iOS, Android, and web browsers. But while you need to factor in a few more items when planning your budget for native application development, there are ways to reduce costs and save on the other side.
As you can imagine, other companies with the same problem have accessed app and development teams.
Developers come with unified, widely deployable solutions in the form of platforms, frameworks, and libraries for cross-platform and hybrid applications. Such as Xamarin, which also works with Windows applications. These application creation tools make the entire code writing process much easier and ultimately save your budget—a short definition:
What exactly does that mean?
Hybrid apps are basically websites that are packed into a native container so that they can be made available as an app on a mobile device. Once developed with web code, a hybrid application can be “exported” to a specific operating system. It can be used in both browsers and mobile devices.
The most popular hybrid application development tools are React Native, Phonegap/Apache Cordova, Xamarin, and Flutter.
However, these developer tools evolve quickly, and you typically need to consult an expert for a specific platform to stay up-to-date with the latest developments.
Benefits of hybrid apps
The biggest advantage of hybrid apps is that you save time and money because you’ll develop a website for a wide audience that can access your app on the web and a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet.
Solidhybrid applications can be exported directly to a mobile device as an app from the store.
Many enterprise applications need to be hybrid applications to meet all varying user requirements through browsers and mobile phones.
The development of hybrid applications enables time and cost savings in initial development, but also maintenance.
Disadvantages of hybrid apps
In general, hybrid applications offer lower performance and affect the usability of “natural” operating system features.
The fact that the user usually uses individual web components in the app and not the usual native elements is often taken as a disadvantage of hybrid apps to benefit from the lower costs and the wide marketing.
Another significant drawback of hybrid applications is the challenge of integrating the operating systems and hardware. Software integration for a particular software can be more demanding and requires more time for testing and quality assurance.
If you need a long-range in a short time, developing a hybrid application might be the smartest choice.
A cross-platform application is developed in an intermediate programming language that is not part of the device’s operating system. It is later compiled into the respective operating system using a cross-platform application framework such as Xamarin, React Native, Appcelerator, or Native Script. Part, most, or all of the code can be shared across all target platforms, including iOS and Android.
As mentioned in the hybrid applications section above, you should distinguish between developing hybrid HTML-5 applications and native cross-platform application development (or rather, consult one or more experts).
Cross-platform applications typically mix native and mobile application concepts, while hybrid applications have a different method of UI rendering, behave like a web browser, and provide a basic web view.
Native frameworks (e.g. React Native ) have their own appearance to make the user interface more efficient and fluid. However, the behavior and “feeling” of the UI can still differ from a native application because the native UI is completely overwritten by its own rendering (all interactions and animations are “recreated”).
Benefits of Cross-Platform Apps
The main advantage of cross-platform applications is the balanced trade-off between native performance and ease of use on the native device.
Most cross-platform app frameworks can also be used to develop native plugins, which can then also be integrated to provide specific functions or UI elements natively with full performance and a native look-and-feel.
If applications need to implement complex logic, saving time and money is a big advantage.
Disadvantages of Cross-Platform Apps
Although you can take advantage of almost all native features, the biggest drawback of cross-platform applications is that they are still limited. You can see pitfalls lurking behind the corner, usually only when the app is developed.
Therefore, reduced performance is a major obstacle to this development compared to native applications that receive a lot of support from their creators.
It takes longer to wait for new features, and it’s a bigger challenge to write code. This can lead to significant additional costs.
Cross-platform applications can experience significant delays if the framework provider does not provide new feature updates as soon as possible.
The web application is optimized for the use of mobile devices. It can therefore be accessed anywhere and independently of the platform.
As browsers make more and more functions of mobile operating systems accessible (e.g. GPS.) and the Internet is getting faster and faster, the disadvantages of a web app disappear. In fact, browsers, not apps, could be the future of mobile phones!
Benefits of a web app
- Almost everyone knows how to deal with modern web applications and how to deal with them is usually quickly learned.
- You save almost twice the development effort for multiple operating systems while still capturing all users through a standard browser.
- A web application runs on all compatible browsers and all platforms.
- There are no compatibility issues because all users are accessing the same version.
- After all, Web applications require less support and maintenance, which in turn reduces costs for both businesses and users.
Disadvantages of Web Apps
Web applications have virtually no drawbacks on their own – unless you have fundamentally wrong expectations. There are certain limitations of web applications that you should consider:
- You always need Internet access and the apps don’t work offline.
- You can’t publish the apps to Google Play or the App Store per se.
It makes little sense to compare a web application to a mobile application in the classic sense since mobile applications run on a completely different operating system.
Personalized experiences may be more challenging for web applications, but nowadays it’s easier to reach the audience through the browser with excellent results.
Progressive Web App (PWA)
PWAs provide a responsive design that replicates native app development for web pages and cross-platform apps by using specific tools and technologies available for web browser APIs.
A big advantage of progressive web applications is that you can publish them to the app stores and provide better marketing opportunities for a broad user base.
It requires knowledge of tools such as Android Studio, as well as practice in creating a Trusted Web Authority (TWA) and verifying the relationship between the website and the app. The entire publishing process can be completed fairly quickly.
With the extensive support they have and the enhanced monetization options for creators, PWAs could even mean the end of mobile app stores.
Remember that you don’t need to access an app store to install a PWA.
Develop App: Native App VS. Hybrid App, Web App & PWA – Part 2
Rahaf Ebraheem Itechonics - Web Developer