Both native and hybrid applications offer ample benefits for software developers. Native applications are developed specifically for mobile operating systems while hybrid applications combine elements of both web and native applications. Both can benefit from effective container registry management, DevOps pipelines, and various software development platforms (like GitHub).
Think of a native app as a full-bred smartphone application, while a hybrid app is likened to a standard website dressed up as a mobile app. To better understand this, take a look at some existing native and hybrid applications. WhatsApp, Waze, and Spotify are all native applications. However, some of the most popular apps—like Instagram, Amazon, and Uber—are actually hybrid apps. If you’re considering building an application soon, you might be wondering what version is best for you. Here’s what you need to know to make a better-informed decision:
Factors to Consider
Many companies and independent developers struggle to decide whether a native or hybrid app is best for them. To make the best choice possible, there are several factors to consider. You’ll need to think about the primary objective for the app, the features you want to include in the app, your budget, how fast you need development completed, and whether in-house development is an important priority for you.
Pros & Cons of Native Apps
Native mobile apps are designed and developed to work on a specific platform or device, like an iOS or Android operating system. Because they are designed specifically for certain applications, they have the ability to leverage the latest technologies for the specific hardware or software it’s built for.
Developing native applications is less complex because it primarily utilizes the Java (for Android) or Swift or Objective C (for iOS) programming languages. These native builds can operate much more quickly and efficiently, with simple user interfaces and controls. However, it does come with some drawbacks. Because of its nativity, it is much more likely to match the user experience offered the user’s current operating system.
For starters, native applications written for certain operating systems will not work on other operating systems. This means that if you build an Android application, you’ll also need to build an entirely new iOS application for Apple users. To achieve this, you’ll need a bigger budget, a bigger team, and a significant amount of more time. Even more, whenever you push an update or feature, you’ll have to do the same across each platform.
Pros & Cons of Hybrid Apps
Hybrid applications are coded using web technology and languages like CSS and HTML. From here, these programming languages can be condensed into native applications, but cannot be fully native apps. As a result, it can be installed like a native app but works like a web app. Because they’re built using internal application program interfaces (APIs), they’re able to retain the features of traditional smartphone devices. It also uses a single code base across multiple platforms, which means it’s much simpler to manage than with native devices. Lastly, hybrid applications are cost effective and can be developed much quicker.
However, like native apps, they do have their downsides. Most notably, they require an internet connection to work to their full potential and require plugins to access features that are built into the software. Some hybrid applications don’t have as seamless of a user experience as their native counterparts because their interface may offer more towards one operating system than the other.
Making the Choice
As you can see, both native and hybrid apps can make a big difference to how your company grows and how successful your software is to your target users. Before you lean towards one direction or the other, consider user experience. Native applications tend to have higher security and performance, but if you don’t have several months to build it, a hybrid application is the best alternative. Take your time going through the pros and cons of each and think of the worst case scenarios. For instance, even though you might finish a hybrid app quicker, will you run into more issues with support tickets and updates later down the line? Always assess every possible avenue with your team before you commit to this important venture.