Native v/s Hybrid Application Development

Native vs Hybrid

If you’re running an early stage startup, you know how to make the most of limited resources. From getting the most bang out of every marketing buck, you must execute quickly and efficiently to ensure your company’s success.

Hybrid apps are basically web apps hidden behind a native app shell. They are cross-platform and can be immediately distributed between app stores without the need to develop two different versions for Android and iOS. Most of hybrid apps are built using cross-compatible web technologies (HTML5, CSS, Javascript etc.) and then they are wrapped in a native app using platforms such as Cordova.

This is one reason hybrid app development is so attractive; It allows you to build iOS and Android apps simultaneously instead of having to write code twice using each platform’s native language. The result is two apps for half the work, precisely the kind of efficiency an early stage startup craves.

Native development is far from easy. Despite the large number of resources that can be found, it may not be understandable to everyone. As code must be written specifically for each platform, the same code will have to largely be rewritten with little to be shared. The logic may be the same, but the language, APIs and the development process is different. This process can be relatively long for complex applications.

If you are new to mobile development and want to build performance critical mobile apps and/or take advantage of native APIs, you would need a good resource on learning mobile native development. We will now discuss pros and cons of both, native & hybrid app development

NATIVE APP DEVELOPMENT

Pros

High performance - Native apps are developed specifically for a given operational system (according to its guidelines), so they are faster and more refined than their hybrid counterparts.

Better UI / UX - Both Android and iOS apps have some individual characteristics, which are not present in hybrid applications, there is certain restriction in terms of animation, slider etc. that are only available in native application development.

Easy access to built-in capabilities - Native apps have no problem tapping into all the device’s functionalities, such as; camera, microphone, calendar, GPS etc. while hybrid apps grant only a limited access to them.

Internet connection is not mandatory - Depending on the functionality, native apps don’t necessarily require internet connection to work (when it comes to hybrid apps, it is usually a must).

Cons

Cost - Native apps tend to be a more expensive proposition to the developer. This is especially the case for developers who would like their app to be compatible with multiple mobile devices and platforms. The cost of app development and app updation is also higher for native apps, especially if this app supports more than one mobile platform.

Maintenance - Users of different mobile devices may be using different versions of the app, which makes it difficult for the developer to maintain and offer support.

Process - While the app store can be beneficial to a developer, the process involved with approving an app can be arduous, and need not always result in success.

HYBRID APP DEVELOPMENT

Pros

Cost Factor - The lowered cost of developing a hybrid app instead of a native application is one of the biggest pros of this solution. You don’t have to create two separate versions for Android and iOS, instead you get an app ready for both platforms (assuming you don’t care about getting a native-like interface)

Lower Requirements - One language can be used on all available platforms (assuming you are using Cordova or PhoneGap wrapper). Xamarin might also be a very interesting alternative here. It basically gives you all platforms and, to some extent, a native look & feel, while only using one language - C#. There is no need to learn iOS or Android specific languages (assuming you know how to use PhoneGap or Xamarin).

Cons

UX - A hybrid app will never give users a fully native experience. Native apps use system interface components which are well-known by users and also allow developers to create meaningful, descriptive transitions and transformations which help maintain the workflow. This cannot be achieved with a hybrid app without sacrificing performance.

Better UX means engagement and in the end that’s what decides whether your user base will grow or not. Remember, users rarely give apps a second chance - first experience is crucial, so mediocre UX will simply put off your potential clients.

Efficiency - Hybrid apps are usually a lot slower and less refined than the native counterparts, so running high-performance apps and games can be a frustrating experience.

Design - Even if the design is good, it still won’t have the native feeling, because you are trying to match one version to two platforms.

App Store approval - Little bit of difficulty also occurs with hybrid application i.e approval process of App store. If you are not careful and violate any of the App Store rules your app might face rejection.

Conclusion

Both native and Hybrid App are different ways to fulfil the different needs and preferences of users and developers, and none of them can be thought of a perfect solution. They have their own strengths and weaknesses and it is up to you to decide which of them fits you better and which one you will use in your application based on the functionality of the application.