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Choosing Between Native vs. Web vs. Hybrid App

Business owners considering mobile apps development whether for clients or internal company usage may choose among three options of apps – native, web or hybrid applications. Let us analyze each type, its pros and cons, and decide which of them will be the most suitable option in each case and will meet the requirements in mobile app development.

Native Applications

These apps are developed for a definite platform & are directly installed at a user’s smartphone or tablet (filling some storage capacity). Such applications have to be downloaded by a user in an app store of a platform needed.

With native applications companies may create a customized product to provide a user with an app that is easy to use along with the other channels that are being used already. Such continuity is one of the basic advantages of native app development.

Some other benefits of native apps:

  • - Geolocation enables companies to customize their services and personalize loyalty programs. Customers may get notified about physical shops nearby or have a chance to get a regional discount.
  • - Data of user’s activities (or inactivity) can be easily collected and analyzed, and in such a way evaluation of app effectiveness or its options is simplified.

And presumptive drawbacks:

  • - Native apps are usually more expensive in developing, especially for companies that need apps on multiple OS platforms
  • - Native applications are to be approved by each app store, and the process of drawing attention to it might be difficult (unless it is an app for internal company usage)

Web Applications

It seems quite clear – such apps run through a web-browser on a user’s device. These applications are actually custom-designed websites that are built in order to look & be used like native apps, though in reality they are not stored on a user's device. They can be compared with the cloud storage and data on a hard drive of the computer. When thoroughly designed (this includes sizing and scrolling), web applications often run as native apps.

Here are some key advantages of web applications:

  • - Web-based apps are easier to control and they can run on any OS platform
  • - Developers can offer applications without approving them by any app stores
  • - Faster cycle development using CSS, HTML and JavaScript

And some disadvantages:

Web applications do not access a user's device. As a result, this limits some additional app options that might have been useful for customizing an app

  • - They can be used only through the web, which means safety control is vastly decreased
  • - Searching for an app might be difficult because there are no any cataloged app store with search option in it

Hybrid applications

Hybrid app is a middle type between native & web applications. Actually they are made so they look and feel like native applications. They also have to be installed on a user's smartphone and can be found in app stores. The difference is that they necessarily must be hosted within a native app and run through the WebView, so in such a way to get an access to the user's data for wider possibilities.

Additional options of hybrid apps:

  • - Hybrid applications have the best functionality and customization for a user
  • - Developers are not limited by a single platform, they can build a hybrid application that will work with several platforms (if it runs as a native app)
  • - Hybrids is a great option for developers that create visually intense applications, for instance, games (they would not perform properly as web apps)

Anyway, there are some disadvantages that are worth considering when choosing a hybrid app:

  • - In case of very complicated applications it is better to do them native
  • - Its development demands additional time & efforts (compared with web apps), in order to make it feel & look for a user like native
  • - App stores may refuse hybrid apps that do not work smoothly

Choosing an appropriate type of a mobile application is a very important stage in its development, that is influenced by several factors, such as technical evaluation by developers, necessity of the access to the data on a device, influence of the Internet speed on an application, etc.

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