Native App versus Hybrid App: Which is a better choice?

Native App vs. Hybrid App: Which is a better choice?

Native vs. Hybrid Apps

Mobile apps growth has exploded beyond imagination, it’s just over a decade since iPhone was launched and since then from a couple of hundred of mobile applications the number of apps has crossed 2.2 million on Apple’s Appstore. There are two main platforms iOS and Android on which apps are built and some peripheral ones like Windows and Amazon’s Appstore.

To undertake mobile application development one of the key challenges for developers is how to maintain a universal user experiences between users of different platform. Some of the factors that a developer must keep in mind prior to taking a decision on what options to explore for development are:

  1. Design – Is the User Interface of the application light or heavy
  2. Devices – What types of devices need to be supported for the application
  3. Features – What features are required in the application

Native as well as Hybrid application development has some significant advantages and limitations. One of the biggest constraint while building a Native application is that, while undertaking development for a significant number of platforms, for example multiple versions of iPhone and across Android devices, we are looking at a significantly increased time and effort as compared to hybrid.

With maturing Hybrid platforms they are able to render a similar look and feel to users as native code, but their key limitation comes across when an application needs to leverage some key features of the platforms, for example a 3D gaming application.

Because some of the hybrid applications run on the concept of native code generator, they are also considered slow in comparison to native applications

Native apps have access to all hardware and software functionalities. They can easily exploit functionalities like multi-touch, animations and various graphics capabilities.

An overview on Hybrid platform

Frameworks help developers by allowing them code once and then deploy everywhere. They also help in efficient coding and app maintenance.

Mature Hybrid Frameworks like Sencha have been developed keeping in mind device functionality of many platforms. Applications which are built leveraging Sencha can detect whether an application is being accessed on a mobile or tablet.

JavaScript frameworks like Angular, React, Ember, Backbone and Polymer are also gaining popularity. For example; React is gaining popularity because corporations like Facebook and Instagram are leveraging it

Angular is another JavaScript framework. Its popularity increased after becoming a part of Google offerings and also because of some unique functionality for designing dynamic web applications.

Comparison

Native apps are very well integrated with the operating system’s components. If, for example a native app has been developed using Objective C, the look-and-feel would be in confirmation with the overall aesthetics of the platform. In contrast to that, the hybrid app implemented with web techniques, the look, feel and responsiveness of the application can be different.

Ease of development across devices is one of the key reasons why Hybrid platforms are chosen.

Native app development has several advantages but not limited to

  1. Good documentation
  2. Popularity among developers which helps developers as sufficient advice on forums is available
  3. Robustness and flexibility of the development environments

Conclusion

To conclude, taking a native versus Hybrid decision is never an easy choice, we are looking at options of great user interface that could increase the cost of development by a factor of 10. Or needing to develop an application which requires significant device space because of its being developed on a Hybrid platform when users are extremely sceptical of installing apps that require large disc space.

Author: Nilesh Ukey

Mobile App Consultant, IIT graduate with 8+ years of experience in Mobile App & Web Development and Strategising complex projects with substantial architectural design. Nilesh is responsible for accelerating growth and driving new business opportunities while understanding and keeping in the forefront, our clients’ vision. His focus is on guiding end-to-end strategy to advance Nickelfox position in high-growth markets across the globe. He brings a rare combination of creative, analytical and operational skills.