Native vs Hybrid vs Web Application: Which one you should choose?

There are a number of ways in which mobile applications can be built. The process of app development can be confusing yet exciting at the same time. One thing you must decide early on is the type of app you want to build. You will be able to make this decision once you have analysed all the factors involved. This article will help you learn more about the different kinds of apps available and which factors to consider while making your final decision. The three kinds of apps available include Native and Hybrid Application not forgetting the Web app.


Native Apps

These are the kind of apps that are developed to be native to certain platform such as Apple and Android. They can then take full advantage of all the features on the device such as the camera, the list of contacts, the GPS among others. They live on the device and can be accessed through icons that are found on the home screen of the device. They are also able to work offline on the device. They are usually the majority in any mobile device. An example of a native app includes Waze.



— They provide the fastest, most responsive and most reliable experience to its users because they work with the built-in features of the device.
— Provides an easier way on how you can tap into the functionality of the device.
— It has a large number of UI/UX differences which makes the user enjoy the experience.
— They have full support from app stores and numerous market places.
— Users are assured of the safety and security of the apps on their devices because the apps are usually approved by the app store.



— A codebase has to be managed for every platform launched.
— Apps on Android are not able to run on iOS and the reverse is also true.
— Two separate developers (Android or iOS) are required to create apps on both platforms. This is because the developers usually specialize in one of the two platforms.
— They are costly to make and maintain as compared to hybrid apps especially if one requires the app to be used in different platforms and mobile devices.
— Approval of the app at the appstore can be a long and tedious process, and there is no guarantee for success.


Hybrid Apps

These are mobile apps that can be installed on a device and are able to run on a web browser. As the name suggests they are part native apps and part web apps. Developers use HTML, Javascript and CSS to build them. They usually run in Webview, which is a simplified browser within the app.



— Ability to work on multiple platforms hence giving the developer an easy task when it comes to managing the codebase.
— Saves a lot of time that could have been used to develop the same app on a different platform.
— Less expensive to hire their developers than for native.
— They are able to be scaled to other platforms once one platform is built.
— The ability to access device features is retained just like in native apps.



— They have a lower performance than the native apps because they load in web view, the browser-like component.
— Needs a lot of time and work in order to make the hybrid work efficiently on various platforms.
— The UX of the hybrid app might suffer as you try to please the various platforms.


Web Apps

These are apps that are internet enabled and can easily be accessed through the web browser of the mobile device. The user needs to download them on his/her device. An example is the Safari browser. In reality, these are not applications but websites that tend to look and feel like other native applications. They are usually run via a browser and language used is HTML5.



— Their development is cost effective. A single operating system can be used when developing a web app. It is not a must to test it on all available versions because it can easily be accessed by the users on the uniform environment.
— Flexibility and ease of access. User can operate them anywhere and anytime they want.
— Web apps can easily be customized to the preference of the user.
— Easily accessed by users of various devices. Provided the device is connected to the internet, users are able to access and operate the web app.
— The web apps have an enhanced security. These apps are more secure as compared to the simple websites; this is because they are usually used on dedicated servers.



— Low performance compared to the native apps. The web apps generally function slowly.
— Increase in size. When the web apps are being developed, the user has to ship an entire browser with the application, making the app to increase in size.
— Clients are restricted from reading the files inside the browser because it is taken as a security hole for the web app.


These are some of the factors you may want to consider when you want to build an app;

— User experience (UX); this is critical because it will determine if the app is attractive and easy for the user to use. An app with a bad UX will definitely not be used by most of the people.
— The cost of building the app and hiring the developers; remember the price will often vary based on factors such as platforms, features and complexity.
— Time that will be taken for the app to be built; this will also affect the cost. An app that takes a lot of time to be built will definitely cost more and vice versa.
— Features of the device; Native and hybrid apps have full access to the features of devices as compared to web apps.
— Ability to function offline; Native app beats the two when you need to work in places where there is no connectivity.
— Discoverability; among the three apps, web apps are highly discoverable. This is because most users prefer getting answers from search engines as compared to using their downloaded apps.
— Difference in speed; among the three apps, native apps carry the day. This is because they are fast to respond to what the user’s demands.


All these factors will definitely help you when making a choice between a Native and Hybrid Application, and also a web app.

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