Native Apps, Web Apps or Hybrid Apps? What’s the Difference?
If you are thinking of investing in a mobile application for your business, you will first have to go through a plethora of technologies and select one type which is best suited for your end goals. Is it a Web app, a Native app, or a Hybrid app? We will walk you through the pros and cons of each kind to help you develop a sound understanding of all the technologies available at your disposal. Let’s dig deeper into the article.
The first question you are likely to face if you’ve stepped into this venture is– what kind of app should you go for? This decision will be based on several factors such as the budget, the level of user experience, the type of your business, and of course the deadline. So, to say that there is a winner app among the three types will be wrong! Because each has its features and limitations.
A web app can be accessed using web browsers such as Chrome, Safari, and Firefox over an internet connection. There is a stark difference between web pages and web apps. A website usually displays information (e.g., Wikipedia), whereas web apps are interactive and functional (e.g., Facebook, Gmail, Photo Editing etc).
- Web apps only need a compatible web browser to run, regardless of operating system or device.
- They do not require space on your hard drive as they are not installed.
- These apps are light on the budget because they do not require regular maintenance and support.
- All the end-users get the same version, thus eliminating compatibility requirements.
- Web apps have limited access to the native features of a mobile such as camera and GPS.
- The user must have a good internet connection to access web apps.
- One of the major downsides is the unavailability of web apps on google play and app store. This decreases the probability of users finding out about the app.
Moving on to another very popular type of applications. Native apps, just like the name, are native to the specific operating system such as android and iOS; meaning, they are built using a specific programming language for a specific platform. Examples of such apps are WhatsApp, Twitter and Pokémon Go.
Swift and Objective-C are languages used to write Native iOS Apps, whereas Java is used for Android Apps. Now let’s have a look at the features of these apps and of course, their limitations.
- Native apps can be downloaded via google play and app store, allowing a large group of audience to get to know about your app and use it. They can be accessed by tapping the icon on your home screen.
- If you want the best user experience in terms of UI/UX design, then Native apps can give you exactly that! They will offer a recognizable and matching look with the other default apps on the mobile phone, eventually becoming easy on the eyes of the user. Not to mention, these apps are extremely fast and responsive.
- Since these apps are designed specifically for the device, they can tap into the native features of your mobile phone such as a microphone, camera, location, Bluetooth, contact list, etc.
- Adding to the foregoing attributes, Native apps, unlike web apps, are also accessible if there is no internet connection and they can use the push notification and related features to grab your attention.
Native apps require a lot of money to be built and once you publish the first version of your app on the store, it will require maintenance and upgrades on regular intervals which cumulates into an even bigger cost.
Native apps will have to be separately developed for every platform you want your app on.
Building this type of app is time-consuming as the coder will have to code separately for android and iOS platforms. The minimum development time is around 18 weeks and it only dilates depending on the intricacy of the project.
- The major advantage of a Hybrid app is its ability to work on both platforms using the same code base. This effectively reduced the development time and of course, money. Moreover, as there is only one version of the app, so, the maintenance is a lot easier.
- The developer can directly change the Hybrid app which will be automatically updated on the app store, thus, increasing security.
- We can find these on app stores, hence inviting a large audience.
- Just like the Native apps, Hybrid apps can have the same access to the device features.
- Other than this, Hybrid apps can store data offline.
The major drawback is its performance and user experience. Since the Hybrid app loads in webview, it is only as interactive as a webview. The design of the app will vary from device to device, consequently diminishing the user experience.
The cost spent on customizing the Hybrid app to work on all the platforms may sometimes add up to be comparable to the budget of a Native app.
Other than compromising on user experience, Hybrid apps are relatively slower than Native apps.
Apps are a great way to expand your business so take the opportunity to launch your very first app on the play store and get acknowledged by millions of people. However, take notes that you need to gain sufficient knowledge about various technologies, and the effect they can have on your start-up, before opting for the kind of app you want.