Many companies/institutions taking their initial steps to develop a mobile program are facing an important decision that will influence the outcome of this initiative. The process of selecting a development approach for a mobile application, namely native, web and hybrid, entails many parameters, such as development cost, project time frame, and targeting specific group of people and app functionality. Each approach carries inherent benefits and limitations, and finding the one that best addresses the organization’s needs could be a challenging task.
The target of this article is not to identify the best implementation approach, as none exists, but rather to list the advantage and disadvantage each carries and to describe the different scenarios, or project requirements, that best fit one or the other.
This type of mobile app is built specifically for a particular mobile device and its operating system. They have executable files that are downloaded directly to the mobile device and saved locally. The most popular way to download a native app is by visiting an app store, such as Apple’s app Store, google play store.
These native apps are free to use all of the APIs that are developed available by the operating system vendor and, in many cases, has unique properties and features that are typical of that specific mobile operating system. These apps are developed using Objective C, Java, or some other programming language. Native apps have a major improvement over hybrid apps—the ability to leverage device-specific hardware and software. This means that these apps can use of the new technology exists on mobile devices and can easily integrate with available apps such as the contacts, calendar and email.
Native apps have capability to use device-specific features and APIs is often at the top of list.
Using native code we can have some advantages and disadvantages.
A class UI, improved performance and more imperative user experience. Access rights to functionalities of underlying mobile operating system and mobile device specific hardware components.
Access to mobile device diagnostics such as the battery or network status.
These apps are platform dependent. We cannot use same code for other platforms. Developing native apps takes more time compare to hybrid apps. Development cost is high compared to hybrid apps.
You can quickly identify and fix bugs and issues without having to deploying the app to a store, meaning that you can improve and fine tune your application on the fly and users will always have the updated app. Whereas changes to native apps takes a time to deploy and testing. These apps are easier to develop, support, although you can reach a broad audience quickly and inexpensively, certain features are either not available or will require extra effort to implement. For example, the ability to run apps offline is poorly supported on most mobile browsers.
Developing and delivering web apps does not require high-level coding skills, payments to app store platforms and approval processes.
Cross-platform compatibility (write once and run anywhere methodology). These apps will work across multiple devices – iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc. through the mobile web browser. Relatively cheap, easy, and fast to build. Maintenance is easy, as these apps have a common codebase across different mobile platforms.
These apps does not have access to use device specific hardware and software components (GPS, Camera etc.) Does not support the custom or complex graphics. Lack of user interface and experience compare to native apps. Expensive to support web apps for different mobile browsers.
These applications are built as native apps. The applications can be installed just like native apps from the app stores. While executing the app, the web content can be embedded on the device as part of the local footprint, to enhance the responsiveness and performance of the mobile application.
These apps run inside a thin wrapper native app. The hybrid apps are platform independent, because the same HTML code components can be reused for several mobile operating systems.
Slightly lower performance due to rendering of web pages and accessing data through multiple layers. Security concerns.
Which app suits your business?
Ultimately, the choice between Native, Web and Hybrid app depends entirely on your projects needs or requirements and budget. Determine your specific business needs while taking into consideration your timeline, performance needs, developers’ skill level, and your customer’s platform preference, then make your choice based on your unique situation.