The mobile application is playing a vital role for individuals and businesses of different sizes. The astronomical rise in mobile usage (7.1 billion users installed various types of apps and are expected to spend $34 billion by 2022) is forcing businesses to innovate and create new ways of attracting, engaging, and converting the target users. Apps have evolved into a powerful tool in businesses’ arsenals, allowing them to maintain a close relationship with their customers while earning a fortune (the global app revenue is expected to reach $808 billion by 2022).
Start-ups are taking advantage of the importance of unescapable mobile applications as an opportunity to get ahead of the pack. There are two ways to build a mobile app—the hybrid or native way. The development approach is one of the important decisions that lay the foundation of app success. In this blog, we will learn about different development approaches, the differences between them, and identify which one is better for your mobile app development needs.
What is hybrid development?
Hybrid app development resembles cross-platform application development wherein the app developed once will run on multiple platforms such as Android, and iOS. Hybrid apps are a combination of native and web apps where web apps are put into native containers that behave as mobile applications. Hybrid apps leverage the rendering engines of the browsers and technologies such as HTML, CSS, Java, and others. Plus, the apps are accessed through a browser and are never installed on devices.
What is native development?
This development approach involves writing code once that makes the app work on a particular platform. Using different programming languages means separate developers are hired to build platform-specific apps. For instance, when you hire an iOS app developer, they build native iOS apps that run solely on the iOS platform but not on the Android platform. Each platform provides a guideline that enables full-fledged solution development with fewer errors and higher performance. Native iOS development leverages Objective C and Swift as programming languages, and Android development requires Java and Kotlin as programming languages.
Native vs. hybrid: which is a better development approach?
Native apps are built for specific platforms using the core programming language that optimizes memory consumption and storage capacity. The native APIs leverage enable developers to access native functionalities that enhance the app’s performance.
When web view-based hybrid apps are loaded in the browser, they require a high-speed internet connection in order to use the app’s features wrapped in a native container.The hybrid app’s performance relies on internet connection availability, which makes it not up-to-the-par with native apps.
Result: Native apps gain the upper hand over hybrid apps in terms of performance.
Development time and costs
Native development is a time-consuming and costly endeavor because when apps are developed for multiple platforms, then separate development efforts, time, and resources need to be invested. When it comes to scalability, the changes need to be made multiple times to roll them out effectively on every platform.
In hybrid app development, the app is coded once and will run everywhere. That means the app that runs on multiple platforms is developed at the cost and time of one app development. It’s a time-efficient and inexpensive option. Updating hybrid apps is hassle-free as the changes made in the code once will get reflected on all the apps that are published on different platforms.
Result: As a result, hybrid apps win when it comes to developing and updating apps in a short period of time and on a limited budget.
Native development means writing code for every operating system. The developers need to create logic and write programmes individually for a single OS, which cannot be used elsewhere.
On the flip side, hybrid development facilitates code adaptability where a single codebase enables porting apps on various platforms.
Result: Hybrid development facilitates code adaptability.
UI design responsiveness
The native app UI is engineered and tailored to specific platforms according to UI principles and standards defined by the specific OS. For instance, the Android platform provides minimal design principles that designers must follow to build Android apps. The iOS platform provides human interface guidelines for design that help in rendering the best user experience. The UI design according to platform enables building a layout that works well on mobile devices, makes navigation seamless, and delivers a wow experience.
The hybrid app design has not yet reached a native-like design experience. This development option makes the businesses compromise on design aspects because several components don’t perform well on all the devices.
Result: The native app development approach keeps the users engaged with exceptional UI design that renders great experiences.
Security is a cardinal aspect of app development that depends on how the app’s code is written and the platform on which it is to be built. Native app development edges ahead in terms of security as they are built using security features of the respective OS and require app store approval where security testing is considered.
The hybrid apps accessible through web browsers are less secure as there are chances of data theft, weak authentication, and server vulnerabilities.
Result: For data-intensive apps where security is important, native development is your go-to option.
Accessing hardware functionalities
The easy interaction with mobile device hardware capabilities enables developing an app that performs to the notch. Native development allows for the use of mobile device capabilities such as the camera, GPS, or map, eliminating the need to build the functionalities from scratch.Uber, for example, uses a smartphone’s built-in map capability, whereas AR apps use a smartphone camera to scan a real-world object and superimpose a virtual world.
On the other hand, hybrid apps can utilize the hardware capabilities moderately as they are built using web technologies and wrapped with native codes.
Result: Native development wins by a large margin if the app requires accessing device capabilities.
Support and maintenance
The long-term projects need regular support and maintenance services to keep the app running. That’s where hybrid development is the best bet to go because maintaining the hybrid app is an equivalent to maintaining the web pages, which can be done multiple times a day easily. App maintenance is 4 times higher than app development, which also makes going the hybrid way the best way.
Native development facilitates expensive maintenance as it requires developers to analyze everything, develop all the changes required in the new version, and then deploy them after getting approval from the app store.
Result: Hybrid development can keep the business running at a lower maintenance cost.
In the tug of war between native development and hybrid development, you are expecting a straightforward answer here. As discussed above, both development approaches have their pros and cons, which makes them perfect for a project with specific requirements.For example, cross-platform application development is your best buddy when you want to build and update an app quickly in a pocket-friendly way. Native development becomes a boon when quality, security, and performance matter a ton.