Differentiating Native vs. Hybrid Mobile Applications

What Are Native Apps?

Native Apps are downloaded from a Play Store or App Store. Some of the native languages are C#, Java, and Swift. The software lives on the software device and has full access to the platform’s APIs, has awesome performance, and the source code only works in the target platform. A native app means that you are building with Swift for iOS or Kotlin for Android. Nobody uses Objective C anymore. Kotlin has been replacing Java mostly. Most of the companies who wish to start with their App Development are going to go native because Native Apps are highly performant, more developers are available, and it is the fastest type of App Development as there are no intermediary layers. Sometimes the technology that you choose is dictated by who is on your team — what they know and what they don’t know.

What Are The Benefits Of Native Apps?

Native Apps offer silky-smooth performance, the best user experience, and icons available on the device. They can receive push notifications, runs inside the operating system, and can use the platform’s APIs. It can run the camera, audio, network, storage, GPS, and anything else that the device is capable of.

What Are The Challenges With Native Apps?

Developers need to know each of the platform’s languages. The source code only works on the target platforms — iOS, Windows, and Android. They’ll need their own unique project code. It is slower to market due to individual source codes. The initial investment to develop native applications is higher than hybrid applications. These require constant updates. The app content is available only once the users download the app. Apple app store and Google Play Store get 30% commission from every in-app payment.

How Does Native App work?

Developers write the source code on IDE (Integrated Development Environment), using an SDK (Software Development Kit which is a predetermined set of developer tools), and add resource files such as images, and audio. When they are ready to submit it to the Play store, it does not need to compile and package the application. iOS packages a .ipa File (archive file that stores an iOS App that can only be installed on an iOS, iPhone, iPad touch, iPad, or ARM-based macOS devices). Once it is packaged it can be submitted to the Apple App Store. Android packages an .apk. Once it is compiled or packaged, it will be ready to get submitted to the Google Play Store.

What Are Hybrid Apps?

Hybrid apps are written in HTML, JavaScript and TypeScript. They have a single code base, a middleware layer between the app and the platforms. The hybrid code uses the middleware APIs, instead of the native application APIs. The middleware then translates the APIs, into the native platform APIs. As you write one source code, it should translate and run on iOS, Android, and Windows. Hybrid apps are usually very buggy and provide for slow user experience. They are cost-effective and slow to update.

What Are The Benefits Of Hybrid Apps?

The idea behind cross-platform or hybrid apps is that hybrid developers write code once and deploy it across multiple platforms. Facebook made it really popular with React Native app development. It is a popular web component framework that allows for building web apps — you can write code in JS and react but pull out features of the device/phone/GPS. But writing code once to save time, effort, and money particularly does not go that way. It makes web technologies iterate faster. Writing code in JavaScript, it compiles, and changes are reflected instantly.

What Are The Challenges With Hybrid Apps?

They may be dependent on middleware, slow to update, and error-prone. Some bug fixes are outside control. Slower performance and issues from device fragmentation. Performance delays — scrolling, swipe delays, and issues with user app experience, animation can often freeze, change of font size with every device, in-app analytics, charts and diagrams can be difficult to implement, inflexible hybrid development app frameworks.

How Does Hybrid App Work?

It has a native layer with embedded HTML having basic access to APIs. It is available on the App Store and its web portions can be updated on the server-side. By developing a hybrid app, you can make a single source code access all platform APIs. It takes less time to deploy web portions and can be updated quickly. It is available on the app store application icon on the device.

Native vs Hybrid Mobile App: Which Development Approach Should We Prefer?

Amongst the technical aspects — Programming languages, frameworks and tools, UI/UX design, platforms, app store distribution, updates and support, app ecosystem, feature set, navigation, hardware capabilities, and internet access must be considered while discerning the differences between native and hybrid applications.

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Business Development Manager

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