Hybrid v/s Native Mobile Application

In today scenario people have rapidly migrated from desktop devices to handheld ones. With the advancement of technology, mobile devices facilitated and enabled us to do everything that a desktop could. Cell phones, tablets, etc, there are a lot of ways to work today.

So, what do you do if you want to connect to your audience through smart devices? To connect with mobile users, businesses need to get their presence on small screen devices with the smart application. So, what app do you need to choose for your device? Should it be a hybrid or a native one? So this article is all about the pros and cons of these two apps.

Brief of the native and hybrid app:

Native apps are developed in a platform-specific programming language, making them compatible only with the corresponding platform.

  1. A native app is made and coded for a specific mobile platform in its native programming language like iOS (Objective-C or Swift), Android (Java, Kotlin), Windows Phone (C#).
  2. All these platforms have a different guideline as they differ in typography, graphic styles, gestures, visual effects, data entry etc and developer has to stick to them.
  3. Native code is faster than HTML and JavaScript so graphical applications, HD games, intensive animation applications perform well.
  4. Native SDKs allow accessing device features without dealing with the complexity of native plugin.
  5. Not many dependencies on open source libraries and platforms like Cordova and Ionic.

Hybrid apps, on the other hand, are developed using web technologies such as HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS in combination with native elements.

  1. They are essentially platform-independent websites displayed using a native web view, which is a native component provided by operating systems like Android and iOS to load web content.
  2. The single code base for all platforms means write once and run anywhere but for native app scenario, we need to build and maintain separate app and code for each platform.
  3. The same development team can deliver an app for any platform including website as well because all required are web technologies.
  4. This app has the same and consistent user experience across platforms regardless of user moves between different devices or browsers.

Pros and cons of native and hybrid apps:

Both the hybrid and the native approach to mobile app development have their pros and cons which companies or developers must keep in mind when deciding how to enter the mobile market.

  1. Cost

Cost is probably the most important factor that influences how companies develop their apps. Here, the hybrid approach has the upper hand. Because hybrid apps can be built for any platform from a single code base, they are much cheaper to build than native apps.

  1. Time

It’s almost always faster to build a hybrid app than a native app. Why? Because hybrid apps are developed with web technologies such as HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS, which make it possible to go from a rough idea to a working prototype much faster than platform-specific programming languages.

The fact that hybrid apps can share a single codebase to run on multiple platforms also dramatically shortens the time to market.

  1. Maintenance

Developing native apps means there are multiple codebases to maintain (one for Android and one for iOS, at least). Because Android developers are typically not fluent in iOS development—and vice versa—companies that decide to develop a native app should be ready to keep at least twice as many developers on their payroll as companies that choose the hybrid approach.

  1. Performance

Native apps are built with platform-specific programming languages, which allow developers to fully optimize them for maximum performance. Hybrid apps essentially add an extra layer between the target platform and the source code, which inevitably results in at least some performance loss.

  1. User Experience

Most users don’t care about the technology that powers the apps they’re using. All they care about is the user experience itself. According to a study commissioned with Equation Reach, 79% of users would only retry an app once or twice if it failed to work the first time. But having a working app is not nearly enough these days. The app must also look and behave in a way that’s consistent with the platform and support common gestures and platform-specific features.

While hybrid apps can look and feel like native apps, the user experience they offer is still not as polished as the user experience offered by native apps. That said, frameworks for mobile hybrid apps, such as React Native, Xamarin, Ionic, NativeScript, or PhoneGap are constantly getting better, simplifying the creation of native-like user experiences.

Summing up

Hybrid apps are perfect for developing minimum viable products with limited budgets and timeframes, while native apps are suitable for products that require flawless performance and custom features. The choice between hybrid and native is based on goals and priority of the organization. Hopefully, this article helps to choose the right approach.