Whenever the company decides to make a mobile application, they face the choice “native vs hybrid app” and the most important they are looking for efficient ways to implement the idea. In this article, you will learn what is the difference between native app and hybrid app, find out their pros and cons and how it influences the overall development process and app performance. We will go through the technologies used for iOS and Android platforms in the light of native vs hybrid app development so you can pick up the most suitable one for your project.
List of Contents
- Going deeper into mobile development. Native vs hybrid app in general
- Hybrid app development
- Native app development
- Which is better native or hybrid app
The mobile application is viewed as one of the most dynamic business tools. They have become the new standard for building up a connection with customers. It is not only about software products, but any other services such as banking, car sharing, or delivery of goods are bound to have mobile applications for both Android and iOS. It enables companies to provide their users with convenient and up-to-date experiences. Business is driven by constant innovations, thus a lot of industries have been using mobile applications for at least 6-7 years. It is great that companies have the native vs hybrid app development choice as both of them turned out to be a reasonable solution for many companies. At present, some service businesses, like Uber that is one of the successful hybrid app examples, prefer mobile apps over websites. It helps improve retention by having the ability to interact with the customers directly. Customers receive an increased level of accessibility such as push notifications, new payment options, etc.
This is a vital mechanism for modern business however it also requires investment in mobile app development and maintenance. Each company is eventually facing the question “which is better native or hybrid app?” We are going to find the answer in this article however we suggest changing the question to “what fits better your company?” Since both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses as well as different companies have different objectives, budget and time restrictions, marketing strategies, and business life cycle stages. There will not be the right answer for everyone. Therefore both hybrid and native application development might turn to be the best approach for different companies.
Going Deeper into Mobile Development. Native vs Hybrid App in General
When you make your decision, it will be great to understand what options your company has. Anyway, you’ll end up comparing a native app vs a hybrid app. Both approaches are a good fit for certain circumstances. What is the difference between a native app and a hybrid app?
The native applications are created for a particular platform either Android or iOS, whereas the hybrid development process relies on cross-platform functioning. That is to say, native apps are built on programming languages that can be supported only by a certain platform. Java, Kotlin are usually applied technologies for Android development, and Objective-C, Swift – for iOS.
Taking into account all native vs hybrid apps pros and cons, the developers can suggest the right approach to meet your requirements. Those apps are characterized by faster performance and better security, but the development cycle will be slower. In addition, each platform will have its own codebase, which will increase the investment of money and time.
As for cross-platform frameworks, versatility will be the notable advantage that speeds up the development cycle and cuts down expenses. The slower performance will be a minor trade-off.
When comparing native vs hybrid app benefits of each approach are vivid and clear. This is the task of each company to clarify their purposes from the very beginning to get the expected results. Specialized apps provide better security so they are widely chosen by financial institutions like banks, insurance companies, etc. They are ready to spend more money on the development and maintenance of the more expensive mobile applications to provide security for their customers. The big companies might also be interested in native ones as they can afford the applications for different platforms. Amazon and PayPal can be mentioned as such applications examples.
The cross-platform framework is more appealing for startups with restricted funding and business focused on content delivery. It will be a great approach for applications connected to travels, reviews of different goods, photos, and customer ratings. The well-known hybrid app examples can be called Uber, Twitter, and Instagram. Native app vs hybrid app alternative has not caused competition but revealed more opportunities for the companies to provide their users with the best experiences. The main target of the company and developers is to execute them well. In the next paragraphs, we would like to give you more detailed information on native vs hybrid mobile app development, its pros, and cons.
Hybrid App Development
Technologies used for hybrid app development
As we have already mentioned, mobile development companies are working with a combination of technologies. There are three most popular frameworks for hybrid app development:
- React Native. Facebook has created this open-sourced technology for cross-platform compatibility. The simplified UIs have considerably increased performance specifically reloading. React Native is mostly utilized because of the short development time. The software engineers have access to ready-to-apply units, however, the framework might lack certain components. Both Facebook and the community regularly provide updates.
- Xamarin. The open framework is strongly supported and maintained by Microsoft. They have recently offered a new hybrid mobile app development approach that enables the availability of the code across platforms. It has helped improve development speed and simplify maintenance. The developers can use the logic in common, however, the UI regulations will stay specific for each platform. Xamarin will not deal with complicated graphics but is suitable for simple apps. This technology is usually chosen for business-directed projects.
While comparing native app vs hybrid app, you should definitely find all hybrid app development process pros and cons. All mentioned above technologies are characterized by the following peculiarities:
Advantages of hybrid app development
- Single code base – This is the advantage that causes all the following benefits. These apps are preferred by companies and developers as they can perform on both platforms. There will be no need for building two separate codes for iOS and Android by reason of the code common functionality.
- Lower cost. The company can make huge savings by developing one mobile application while addressing users on different platforms. You have the necessity to hire one team with some expertise in both but only good expertise in web development would be enough. Your expenses will be almost the same as building only one that is designed to run everywhere.
- Simpler to build and test – The team will reach the expected result faster. They don’t deal with each platform separately. The code is created once and testing time is also going to be reduced.
- Easier to maintain – All required changes and updates will be maintained simultaneously on both platforms. It is not only convenient for the developers for the users as well. A lot of issues are possible to fix from the server-side, and the user will just get the updates automatically.
- Faster delivery time – As we mentioned above you don’t need to have two iOS and Android teams or a large cross-functional team, you just need to find one relatively small team of professionals. They can create a cleverly marketed product that will be interesting for different users. The hybrid applications have recommended themselves as content-oriented.
Disadvantages of hybrid app development
- Bounded efficiency – Cross-platform framework depends on plugins to be connected with the device features. Sometimes developers have to create them manually to approach the particular function of the device.
- Internet connection – As for native vs hybrid app efficiency, there is one significant difference. Cross-platform frameworks require a regular internet connection. Some functions won’t be available when the user lacks a connection.
Native App Development
In consideration of native vs hybrid mobile app development, we should remember the important features of native applications They are built specifically for only one platform, thus the applied technologies will differ. In order to handle the native app development of Android mobile apps, the engineers can apply Java or Kotlin, Swift or Objective-C will be needed for iOS native app development. Companies that usually choose this approach have the necessity to build two applications simultaneously. It is clear that the engineering process is longer and requires more effort. But the final result is going to balance it. The customers are able to have a more responsive and faster experience. The better performance is the advantage for complicated mobile applications dealing with animation and rendering. Moreover, data security is another beneficial feature. As we are looking for the difference between native and hybrid apps, let’s check the possible frameworks.
Technologies for iOS native app development
- Objective-C – This programming language is known for great development experience, available libraries, and a vast pool of experts. Objective-C is a mature framework, which also obtains compatibility with other programming technologies. Despite those benefits, we realize that new languages appear and sometimes it will not have the ability to support all the latest features.
- Swift – It is a relatively new programming framework introduced by Apple that has become the alternative for building iOS native applications. The developers have pointed out its quicker performance and it is easier to learn and work with. It is constantly developing which’s why may lack some components. However, it is said that might replace Objective-C in the future
Technologies for Android native app development
- Java – The programing language that is not only primarily used for Android mobile applications but for other purposes. Much of desktop and web development is based on Java. It has become a special system of tools, the developers have access to a powerful library. It helps to simplify the overall programming process. However, applications on Java require more memory and perform slower compared to other frameworks.
- Kotlin – It is a programming language specifically developed to work with Java and Java Virtual Machine. Because of that, its usage is supported and approved by Google for the development of Android applications. One of the main advantages of Kotlin over regular Java is that its type interface allows working using shorter syntax. This fact reduces the time for the programming needed to make an application for Android. Now it is included as an alternative to the standard Java compiler for the Android Studio. Expedia, Square, Pinterest, and Flipboard can be named among the most demonstrative examples of the companies that use Kotlin for their Android applications.
As for the advantages of hybrid vs native app performance and development, those can be summarized in a few simple points:
Advantages of native app development
- Better performance – When we analyze hybrid vs native app performance, it is clear that the native applications will be faster. They are built with a framework that is native to the platform.
- Data protection – It is much easier to make the native application secure. That is the advantage that a lot of companies are interested in providing for their customers especially in the enterprise sector, fintech, and applications with sensitive data.
- Overall functionality – The application will have the important ability to connect the device hardware features and different databases. There is no need for plugins or extra tools.
- Customer experience – They will definitely have high performance. In addition, they can work in offline mode, which is still an issue for the hybrid app examples.
- Comprehension – The developers are already aware of all strengths and weaknesses of using well-established technologies. They will help to find the right approach for receiving final desirable results.
Disadvantages of native app development
Be attentive while checking the list of disadvantages, it might depend on the chosen platform as well.
- Time and money-consuming – It definitely requires time to build complex software. The distribution of users across two main platforms doubles the amount of work and testing needed to keep two separate applications for both iOS and Android up and running.
- Distributed codebase – Having some features unavailable for iOS or Android is an infamous practice that has its place even in 2019. This happens due to limitations in budget or restrictions of the platform. Sometimes, applications in the App Store can be abandoned for years while the Android version receives regular updates and vice versa. In opposite, the hybrid application encourages developers to approach UI and features in a more thoughtful manner and introduce only features that can work on both operational systems.
Which is Better: Native or Hybrid App?
When we have already checked all native vs hybrid apps pros and cons, you can notice the core difference between hybrid and native app development lies in approaches to its implementation. Native apps are two completely different pieces of software designed for either the Android or iOS platform, while hybrid ones are the same software working on both platforms with minor tweaks. This significant difference precedes the list of the following criteria.
The companies need to set exact goals that they are interested in. The native vs hybrid app choice will influence the final results. However there is not one perfect match, everything depends on the project. Therefore each kind of mobile application will be perfect for different cases.
First of all, determine your audience and what services you are going to provide. If the application is content-oriented, the cross-platform framework will be a reasonable choice. When your company is a financial institution, it is better to choose the native application due to its better security.
Secondly, observing hybrid vs native app performance, many developers have acknowledged that the native mobile apps are chosen because of better performance. However, cross-platform frameworks are constantly improving to keep pace.
Make sure, you draw up your budget, hybrid app examples will be less money and time-consuming. You don’t need to have two separate Android and iOS teams working on two different applications. If it is a simple user-oriented app, the choice between a native app and a hybrid app is quite vivid, it will be much better to go for hybrid mobile app development as one experienced team can create a cross-platform app that will work properly via both platforms.
As for maintenance, it might also be easier to manage one mobile app rather than two of them at the same time. In the light of native app vs hybrid app comparison, the hybrid ones are definitely much easier to support and maintain.
Finally, all companies are oriented toward the best user experience. Most of the time, the customers will not notice the difference between hybrid and native app performance. Both variants are constantly improving with new features and technologies. Native app examples might perform a little bit faster as they are originally created for a certain platform. However, a cross-platform framework is often chosen for its versatility.
Consequently, there won’t be one correct answer to the question “which is better native or hybrid app?”, your company will need to be oriented by its own principal criteria.
The aforementioned native vs hybrid apps pros and cons can define your choice in accordance with your needs and available resources. In this case, when you are limited on time and resources, the hybrid application will be the solution to go with to enter the market in a fairly short timeframe. Although, a lot of companies that rely on complex functionality, offline performance, and great data protection will rather go with native app development.
We hope that this article has helped you find the difference between a native and hybrid app and making the right choice will be easier for you. Each type has benefits that are essential for certain projects. Moreover, you can choose the technology you prefer considering your development capabilities. Taking into account all these criteria, we can make the conclusion that each approach fits some specific case. Your task will be to outline your own most important criteria and don’t forget to consult the professionals. This is the best way to choose as every qualified team of developers listens to you first and only later can advise the solution.