Monday, August 17, 2015

Native vs Web vs Hybrid Apps: What makes them different from one another?

With technology advancing at a lightening speed, it has become imperative to build mobile apps that can enable you to reach out to a wider group of target audience. Now, the question here is that which method must be adopted for building a mobile application. Whether you should opt for native apps, web-based apps or the hybrid apps. Well, the method that you choose for building your next mobile app purely depends on multiple factors viz: your budget, the available time-scale, the purpose and core functionality that you intend to serve via your app. 

Today, through this post, I'll be making an attempt to clear the air regarding the native, web and hybrid apps which have introduced a whole new revolution in the world of app development. Here's hoping that by the end of this post, you'll be able to decide the most appropriate methodology for building your app. 

Starting off with Native Apps 
Native apps are basically the mobile application that are specially being designed for a certain group of platforms including iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry and many more. Built using their respective development tools and languages(for eg: Eclipse, Android Studio and Java for Android apps, Xcode and Object C for iOS apps) Native apps run only on the platform that they have been designed for. 

Native Apps- Pros 

Firstly, let's have a closer look at the pros associated with Native apps: 
  • Apps work in the offline mode, a visible advantage for people who find it hard to stay connected with the internet on a consistent basis
  • Apps use the best and latest hardware resources for offering excellent user experience
  • Apps have an easy access to all the latest API's that have been released for the target platform.
  • Since apps are built in platform-compatible languages, they can have a quick access to all the IDEs that come with tools helping in development and debugging of the app development project. 

Native Apps- Cons
  • Now, let get to know about the cons associated with Native Apps
  • Unavailability of native app developers 
  • App updates need to be manually downloaded by the users, ending up into the need for maintaining multiple versions of the app on your web server
  • A massive budget is involved as you're expected to maintain multiple teams that are dedicated to different platforms which need to be supported by your native app

Next come the Web Apps

Web apps are basically mobile optimized websites that appear as apps and run on a mobile browser. Being platform independent, they can load within any mobile browser like Google Chrome or Safari. In order to access such mobile version of a website, you aren't supposed to have available space on your device. Web apps serve as excellent means for individuals and corporations which are inclined on making a specific piece of content or functionality available on the mobile devices. Since web apps use HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript and other popular languages, you won't be permitted an access to the standardised SDK(Software Development Kit).  

Web Apps- Pros
  • App distribution is easy. All you need to do is simply deploy the app on your web server and users would be able to access them via their browsers.
  • Since web apps run on browsers, they can easily reach out on all the available mobile platforms
  • Apps are of type: write-once, run everywhere
  • Development and testing of web apps is convenient and cost-effective simply because they are similar to the normal web apps

Web Apps- Cons
  • Apps don't have any access to the native functionality
  • Apps don't work in the offline mode
  • Apps are slower and less intuitive
  • Apps don't appear on popular app stores like Apple Store and Google Play, thereby making you miss out on a vital source of traffic/downloads. 

Finally, coming to Hybrid Apps 
Popularly known as cross-platform apps, Hybrid apps are the single mobile apps that are built on HTML5 and effectively optimized for a wide range of mobile platforms. Just like the native apps, the hybrid apps can also be downloaded from the online app stores like Apple Store and Google Play. Quicker to build, as compared to the native apps, hybrid apps can be developed using popular tools like PhoneGap/Cordova and Appcelerator Titanium. 

Hybrid Apps- Pros
  • Apps can be easily deployed in platform specific app stores
  • Apps can easily access native layers
  • Apps can work in the offline mode
  • Apps can be developed quickly simply because cross-platform web technologies don't involved a lot of coding 

Hybrid Apps- Cons
  • The performance of hybrid apps doesn't match with that of the native apps. The sole reason for this is that these apps execute on the platform's web engine; thereby creating an additional layer between the application and end user. 
  • App development involves the need for hiring a massive pool of developers. The reason here being that the hybrid apps are built using the standard web technologies.

That's it for now!

Final Words 
Now that you're well abreast with details about all the three app types viz: native, web and hybrid; the decision of choosing one that fits your requirements would definitely become a breeze. 

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