Native vs Hybrid mobile app development

If I would guess and predict you're reading this post from your mobile phone instead of a desktop/laptop, what is the chance of me being wrong? I can say with confidence, that roughly over 50% people reading this article are on their mobile devices. Thanks to smartphones, the internet, and web-based businesses are at their peak.

Do you know we've been already seeing more users experiencing the web on their smartphone instead of computers since 2016? The mobile market has evolved in the last decades. Moreover, so did the technology. With new standards and ideas in place, we're nowadays bound to our smartphones, which are much faster, efficient, and compact than full-fledged systems from the 90s. Long gone the dominance of brands like Nokia and Blackberry. Companies like Google and Apple are the new royals in the mobile world. Thanks to their innovative ideas and top-notch engineering, us millennials have seen the rise of mobile operating systems like Android and iOS. With the emergence of these systems and comparatively massive drop in development cost, smartphones are accessible to even the most underdeveloped countries. So the mobile audience has been growing ever since. Businesses and organizations aren't unaware of these facts. They've switched to a more mobile-first strategy for the last couple of years, due to the possibility of gaining rapid traction. With the right mobile app, you're guaranteed to reach out to your potential customers in no time. So, mobile apps are hailed as an essential part of every new business. We've seen a change in trends and witnessing many diverse ideas behind mobile apps. What was once developed with some limited scope in mind is now planned and researched for months. This vast importance means developers are looking for newer and efficient ways to go when developing a mobile app. More modern development ideas are taking place at a fast pace, and some has even strengthened their position. Such an approach to mobile app development is the Hybrid app development. Today, we'll be discussing the ins and outs of Hybrid app development, compare it with its traditional counterparts and outline when to go for which development scheme.

Developing Mobile Apps: Current Scene

In short, every other smartphone used us by today are either Android or iOS smartphones. Nokia and Blackberry once used to hold this position, with Nokia been the choice of over 60% of users and blackberry up to 30%. As Nokia failed to embrace the newly originating open-source Android platform and Apple started to ship their own iOS system to their devices, Nokia and Blackberry soon became obsolete. It happened solely due to these companies misreading their customers. Currently, Android holds the first position based on the number of users with an astounding 84% of mobile users at this platform. Due to its open source certificate, Android is the go-to OS employed by many different brands like Samsung, Sony, LG, and Huawei. With their standing at 14%, Apple also has a respectable share. Their premium build and the dedicated iOS platform has their own loyal fanbase. Android, is a UNIX based operating system written in JAVA. It thus exposes itself with a massive open source developer community. Whereas iOS is like a proprietary version of UNIX like the MacOS.

Native and Hybrid Apps: Definition and Overview

So what are all those fusses about different app types like Native and Hybrid? If you're trying to establish your business idea as an app and want to take the proper approach, then you're in the right place. In general, a Native app for any operating system means the app is developed with a particular programming language keeping that platforms architecture in mind. Android uses the JAVA programming language to code its Native apps. Android native apps are familiar to you by the stock apps like audio player, browser, camera that came installed on your phone. Google's Play Store is a great source of Native Android apps. Whereas, Apple's iOS utilizes either Objective-C or the Swift language to build their iOS apps. Those are Native to the iOS. Hybrid apps are kind of a new concept. These can be thought of basically as web apps wrapped in native elements. The primary tools to develop these apps are HTML5, and JavaScript, two imperative languages of the web. You can think of a Hybrid app as a child of Native apps and Web apps. Thanks to the lightning-fast Node.js runtime of Google's Chrome browser and a plethora of open source JS frameworks like React.js, Vue.js, and Ionic, Hybrid apps have been enjoying a massive growth these days.

Hybrid Apps over Native: Why

You might be asking yourself why should you go the Hybrid way instead of the Native approach chosen by the manufacturers. What's the point that makes Hybrid apps stand out from their Native counterparts in terms of a business perspective? Actually, before we delve into answering such questions, let us give you some information about the purpose of Hybrid apps. As we've already told you, a Hybrid app is just another web app or progressive web app packaged in a native wrapper. This means Hybrid mobile apps are developed the same way web pages are developed. So, any decent web developer who has prior experience working with web technologies like HTML, and JavaScript are already equipped with the ability to create a Hybrid mobile app. Developers no longer need to be an expert in Native languages like Java or Swift to create a mobile app. Thus, mobile apps are exposed to a huge community of developers who can curate their ideas into a mobile app pretty quickly and ensure future support to these apps. Additionally, Hybrid apps are cross-platform. So, developers write code once and users can execute the app on any platform. This saves time and increases productivity.

Development Cost

Whether you're a starting entrepreneur or the management head of a large corporation, development cost matters to everyone when developing a new mobile app. Remember your app is your identity and mobile apps are usually targeted to a large number of people. So, a realistic development cost is necessary. Hybrid mobile apps are far more cost effective and guarantees to provide the most bang out of your bucks. As you do not need to develop different versions of the same app for different platforms, employing a single dedicated team is enough for a Hybrid app. Thanks to frontend frameworks like Facebook's React Native and Google's Angular, open source modules and packages are being available for developers to use every day. This saves from writing much-dedicated codes, and your engineers can directly use other's contribution. So, development is far less resource consuming for Hybrid mobile apps.

Time to Hit Market

If you're struck by a randomly creative idea that has perfect business potential, you wouldn't want to wait for releasing that idea as a mobile app for the customers. Otherwise, who knows you may find your competition using your ideas. From a business perspective to market dominance, “any idea is as good as the first company who develops it.” We know how much important it is for you to stay ahead of your competition and hit the market with the right product at the right time. When it becomes critical to delivering your app fast, you need to side with the Hybrid app development process. Hybrid apps do not require specialized teams with any specific language or technical knowledge. As common web technologies suffice for Hybrid apps, it's three to five times faster to develop. Also, as you do not need to build different apps for various systems, your app will be ready before you know it. Even if a company start to curate its own ideas into a Native app, another team utilizing the same idea fueled by a Hybrid app will hit the market much faster. Remember, your customers do not care much about anybody stealing your idea. Instead, they will think of the first app they get as the authentic business. So hitting up your potential clients before your opponents is a must if you want your idea to be successful.

Managing A Single Code Base

Mobile apps are far more powerful and diverse in nature than they used to be. A high-quality professional mobile app is no far less than a desktop app. As these app gain traction, they need to maintain regular updates and add regular features. So mobile apps are increasing in size and functionality every day. There comes a time when managing a mobile app can become a nuisance. As the code base start to grow, so does the scope of potential flaws. Large code bases also affect developers productivity and can barren your app with redundancies and complexities. So, managing the code base for mobile apps are just as crucial as with desktop apps. Thanks to their single code base, Hybrid apps makes this task look undoubtedly easier. An easy maintenance means your app will feature regular updates without facing technical hindrances. This, in the long turn, will turn your customer's trust and give your app the chance to thrive.

App Size Matters

We, business people or corporations have loads of resources and robust systems. So, we often overlook the system requirements of our apps and predict falsely our users will face the same app experience we face at our labs. However, ordinary people do not want or like large apps unless they provide an advantageous feature. Light apps are far easier to download and install, and if people don't like the app, they can always delete it and download another alternative. So, it's a common tendency of customers to look for light applications for their smartphones. As Hybrid mobile apps incorporate a frontend interface and load most of their content from the server, they do not need to download large static files and packages required by Native apps.

When to Go for Native Apps

Although Hybrid apps have their own set of advantages when it comes to performance and user experience, Native apps easily win the floor. Also, yes, you guessed correct, performance and user interactivity do matter. Native apps were and will always be the best option for resource sensitive tasks like gaming, 3d rendering, image processing, etc. So if your app deals with such functionalities, do not hesitate to go Native. Hybrid apps will just not cut into these areas. Though they are much harder to develop and costs significantly extra, Native apps shine in the long run. The seamless fast and interactive experience offered by Native apps are great when it comes to catching your customer's attention. It is much easier to access the system utilities like the camera, microphone, and filesystem in Native apps. This is because they use system specific guidelines and comes with the logical capacities needed to directly interact with these elements. Customer experience is another vital role where Native apps outweigh Hybrid ones by a significant factor. Your customers wasted a lot of time before getting fully acquainted with their phone's UI and directional components. Hybrid apps often force users to use the app in a different way than Natively installed apps This discourages users as they do not want to learn any more extra functionalities. As you should understand by now, both Native and Hybrid apps have their own benefits and drawbacks. When developing your idea into an app, you've to consider a lot of factors before deciding which way to go. It all comes down to your business strategy and the feasibility of different apps. If you work on a Native app for years and then find out the idea has been already utilized, all your troubles will go in vain. In such cases, developing a Hybrid version of the app and unveiling it to customers is a much better option. If you do not see the response you anticipated from your customers, you can always switch ideas or drop the project if you developed a Hybrid app. However, if your idea becomes a success then building Native apps should be the next priority.

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