Web vs. Native vs. Hybrid: Which is Best for Mobile App Development?

Web vs. Native vs. Hybrid Comparison

The number of smartphone users is estimated to be 3.5 billion in 2020 and it is evident that the mobile app industry is snowballing. A study by eMarketer also reports that adult smartphone users spend an average of 4 hours per day using mobile internet, of which 88% is spent on mobile applications instead of a web browser. For anyone to sustain and grow in today’s competitive market, mobile app development turns out to be winning strategy.

Mobile applications can help businesses reach a more comprehensive, mobile-first audience base that is increasingly using apps to get things done – from entertainment to social media, music, productivity, travel and local, communication, tools, video player and editing, etc. Reaching these mobile users at the right time with the right solution is a great way to get noticed and boost sales.

However, developing a relevant and high-performing mobile application is not a cakewalk. One of the most significant snags in determining the type of mobile application they need: Web, Native, or Hybrid. If your mind is constantly boggled with which type of mobile app is right for your business, this post will help you make a wise choice.

Let’s get started with understanding different types of applications available and which technology you should consider for mobile app development.

What are Web Apps?

It is not surprising to get confused between a website and a web app. However, the fundamental difference is: a website is ideally informational, whereas a web application delivers more interactivity and functionality. It runs on any browser or device. The application is programmed and built independently of any operating system like iOS or Android.

Typically, web applications are developing using programming languages such as CSS and HTML. A user does not need to download and install a web app; it can be run on the device’s web browser using a URL. A web application can be loaded in any browser like Safari, Chrome, or Firefox. Most importantly, it does not consume storage on the user’s device. This survey has thrown some additional light on how increasingly organizations are investing in their web strategies.

So, if you want to service your audiences with mobile-friendly content across all devices and browsers, then web app development might be a good option. It is a cost-effective yet powerful way to showcase your products and services in front of a broad audience base.

Pros and Cons of Web Apps

To make a sound decision when it comes to web application development, let’s understand the advantages and disadvantages of building web applications:

Pros:

  • Web applications feature a simple codebase and are, therefore, easy to maintain. The glitches can be easily identified and fixed by the developers
  • The codebase can be shared across different platforms as web applications are cross-browser and cross-device compatible. It means you can now reach a broader audience base with your app, but in a cost-effective manner
  • Web apps do not need to be uploaded in an app store. These run on any device and browser through a URL. It means a user does not have to download and install it on their device. As such, accessibility is better. Additionally, developers do not need to spend time in distribution, deployment, or building new features
  • Since developers need to deploy a single codebase across multiple mobile operating systems, the development time and cost is relatively lower

Pros and Cons of Web Apps

Cons:

  • Web applications lack critical UI design elements and other features like the load on the home screen, work offline, push notifications, etc. that you would get on a native app
  • User interactions are not as seamless or smooth as in other types of mobile applications. This can impact your user experience
  • In the event of poor network connectivity, web apps can operate slowly
  • Since web applications are not uploaded in app stores, your potential reach may be affected because most users begin searching for applications on app stores

What are Native Apps?

A native mobile app has been programmed to run on a specific device and written in a platform-definite programming language. For instance, Objective-C and Swift languages are used to build native apps on iOS; on the other hand, Kotlin and Java are the preferred programming languages for native Android applications. Whatever platform you choose for native application development, you will have dedicated development tools, SDK, and interface elements for each platform.

Since native apps are developed in a platform-specific programming language, you cannot build an application that will run on both the platforms, i.e., iOS and Android. That means an app built for iOS will not exist for download at the Google Play Store or work on an Android device. The same applies to native apps built for Android. It will not be available in the App Store or cannot be used on an iPhone device.

Pros and Cons of Native Apps

Here are some of the key benefits and limitations of native application development:

Pros:

  • Native applications are customized for particular platforms, and therefore, they are highly responsive
  • Native apps are high-performance and feature high speed that helps enhance the user experience
  • As they are available for download in app stores, you can potentially reach a broader audience base who are active users of mobile applications
  • These are more intuitive and interactive and run more efficiently. Additionally, native apps can use key features of a device to deliver an unparalleled user experience
  • Every mobile platform has its standard UI practices and native app developers need to follow these to deliver an improved experience
  • The coding is most often efficient, clean, and error-free. Native apps are also less hardware dependent

Pros and Cons of Native Apps

Cons:

  • Native apps are built using complex programming languages, which require a proficient developer with experience in building these type of applications
  • Building native apps are costlier than web or hybrid apps. This is because separate applications need to be built, deployed, and maintained for each mobile platform if you want to maximize your reach
  • If you are planning to develop a simple application for your business or users, native apps may not be the best choice
  • Native apps do not support cross-platform compatibility. An application built for iOS will not work on an Android device
  • The process of updating and maintaining a native app is quite intimidating

What are Hybrid Apps?

When the best of web and native comes together, you get a hybrid mobile app. They render the look and feel of a web app but can be downloaded and installed like a native app. Simply put, hybrid apps behave like native apps and work across different platforms like web apps. These applications are built with CSS, JavaScript, or HTML and run in a web view.

On the one hand, hybrid apps are platform-agnostic; on the other hand, they are multi-platform compatible, i.e., the same codebase can be distributed across diverse platforms. These are the perfect combination of the best of both worlds. They harness the benefits of native while allowing the same app’s availability on both iOS and Android platforms.

Thus, businesses can maximize their reach through hybrid application development by making the app available on both the leading platforms. Additionally, developers can access dedicated development tools, SDK, and interface elements as in native apps.

Still not sure what you are looking for? Let’s give you a call and dispel all your doubts.

Pros and Cons of Hybrid Apps

Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of building hybrid apps.

Pros:

  • Hybrid apps are faster to develop because a significant part of the development process is done through standard web technologies
  • Developers need to build only one codebase that can be deployed across multiple platforms. No need to write unique codes for each platform. This also helps save time in the development process
  • Hybrid applications have accessibility to a device’s hardware and internal API
  • Building and deploying updates for hybrid apps is more straightforward. The applications are also easy to maintain with minimal glitches
  • Reach a wide audience base cost-effectively by building hybrid apps that can be distributed on both App Store and Google Play Store

Pros and Cons of Hybrid Apps

Cons:

  • Since hybrid apps run on a web view that powers the JavaScript code and displays the UI, their performance can be affected based on the user’s device
  • Hybrid apps are comparatively slower and fail to deliver some native-like experiences. This is because these apps are developed simultaneously for two platforms
  • Hybrid application development is costlier than web apps because they depend on a third-party system and need a wrapper
  • Hybrid apps are less intuitive and interactive than native applications, and therefore, are not suitable if you want to build highly interactive apps for improved user experience
  • Users may often experience a poor UX with hybrid apps
  • If you are trying to make customizations, the core advantage of the hybrid may be compromised

Read More : Hybrid Vs Native App: Which is the best bet in app development?

So Which is Best for Your Business – Web, Native, or Hybrid?

When it is about mobile app development, there is no absolute fit for any business. Each of these app types has its benefits and limitations, and the choice depends on what your business objectives are. Before you haste, it is crucial to consider the following factors:

  • What is the size of your target audience?
  • The quality of user experience you want to deliver through the app
  • How fast should the app be?
  • The complexity and type of features you want the app to have
  • Your budget

Whatever approach you determine, make sure you hire a top notch professional mobile app development company with the expertise to build all types of applications. With Radixweb you can hire dedicated developers who have proficiency in building high-performance, intuitive, and interactive mobile apps. You can be rest assured that your work will be handled by one of top rated technology organizations in India. With matchless capabilities in developing secure and robust apps for mobile platforms, Radixweb is your app development partner of choice. Get in touch to discuss your development requirements.

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Jaydeep Patadiya is a senior business development manager at Radixweb and always has the answer to- what's on the mind of the customers? In an industry that is fundamentally changing, he helps customers make the right decisions by connecting the right dots and adopt new technologies. Beyond work, he prepares for upcoming marathon races.