kerry harrison
kerry harrison 8 October 2018

Mobile App Development Options: Hybrid vs. Native vs. Web

Mobile app development is in high demand. It is not hard to see why. After all, the use of mobile Internet is growing by the day and this is a trend that is unlikely to slow down.

If you do not embrace mobile Internet you are going to be missing out on a massive opportunity. Having a company app can do wonders for your business. You can reach a huge number of people and you can increase your level of sales as well. 

Keeping that in mind, read on to discover some of the options that are at your disposal when it comes to the development of a mobile application.

What platform are you going to target?

You need to think about what platform you are going to make your app available on. Are you going to cater towards the Apple iOS audience? Perhaps you were thinking about Google’s Android? Or maybe you want to go for the Blackberry OS? The choice is of course yours. Needless to say, it will be more beneficial if you make your app available on various operating systems, with Android and Apple iOS being the two main ones.

However, this is not as simple as you may wish! After all, you will have different programming languages and such like to take into account. If you are building your app for Android you are likely to use Java. On the other hand, Objective-C is the language used by developers building with Apple iOS in mind. Of course, you do not need to build a native app. You can go for an HTML5 app or a hybrid app, but you will still need to ensure your app is tweaked to suit the various different OS you have at your disposal.

Now you know a little bit of background about the various OS options available, and the type of apps you can build. Keeping that in mind, we are going to take a look at those three options in mobile app development in further detail – i.e. native apps, HTML5 apps and hybrid apps. This will help you to discover more details about each one in order to determine what is going to be the best for you.

Native Apps

As you have probably gathered, a native app is one that is specific to a particular mobile platform. Therefore, you would have to choose between iOS or Android and you have to build your app in the right language, as talked about before.

So, what are the benefits associated with going for this single platform approach?

There are actually a lot of advantages to be gained. Most people agree that you will benefit from the best experience and features when building a web product in this way. You will have an array of built in components that can be seamlessly integrated into your mobile app, such as geolocation and camera.

Other benefits include having the fastest graphics. This is, of course, especially important for those requiring fast refreshing and using a lot of data within their app.

You will also experience lots of UI benefits, such as multi touch, and fluid animation is another gain that should not be ignored. This is especially beneficial if you are creating a gaming application.

The advantages do not end there either! Ease of use is another advantage. You will be creating an app that is geared to what people already know and expect, since the app is completely tailored to the platform they already use.

HTML5 Apps

The next option is to go for an HTML5 app. This is when cross platform mobile applications that work on various devices are created by using standard web technologies – typically HTML5, but also CSS and JavaScript as well.

The obvious benefit of this option is, of course, the fact that your application will become available on multiple platforms. Therefore, you will be able to appeal to the Android users, as well as the iPhone users and of course the Blackberry users as well.

However, the compromise of this is the fact that you will only have partial capability. There are limitations in regards to various factors, especially when it comes to access to native device functionality – such as calendars and camera, as well as secure offline storage and session management.

Security is obviously imperative when it comes to any type of Internet use and mobile apps are no different. HTML5 apps are not as well segmented as a native keychain encryption. This can be a concern.

Hybrid Apps

Last but not least, we have hybrid apps, and many would state that this is the best option to go for when creating an app. Essentially, hybrid apps combine the benefits of HTML5 apps and native apps to present the ultimate solution. This, of course, gives you the chance to offer your app on multiple platforms, which is important. Can you really afford to miss out on Android users or Apple iOS users?

Not only will you reap the gains of multiple platforms, but you will also benefit from full capability as you would if you were building a native app.

So, what actually happens when you create this type of app? Usually you will build your app using JavaScript and HTML5. After this, a thin native container is used to ensure that the app has access to native platform features and thus full functionality and capability.

Hopefully you now better understand the differences between the three options that you have at your disposal when it comes to mobile app development. Needless to say, most developers and companies are electing to go with hybrid apps nowadays, as it presents the most benefits. Nevertheless, you may find that you only want to create an app for the iPhone audience and so why not go for a native app instead? It all depends on you and what you are hoping to achieve from your mobile app.

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