When it comes to developing cross-platform mobile applications, there are several ways to develop and deliver them.
The first thought you get when thinking about developing a mobile application is how it should be developed. Should you develop a PWA, native or hybrid application?
Each of them carries their own pros and cons. Developing an app entirely depends on your users’ requirements and needs.
It’s wise to decide the operating system, whether it should run on Android or iOS or both, before selecting the technology. It’s crucial to determine the kind of app you want, as it will help you save time and money.
Furthermore, each mobile app has different budget and time requirements, so you have to decide that as well in advance to formulate your budget.
Also, each app is built with different technologies such as the coding languages and practices.
In a nutshell, you need to consider several factors when deciding which mobile app you want to have developed.
Be it native, hybrid or progressive web app, each offers a different set of features and to decide which will work best for your business, you need to understand them in detail. This article will walk you through the differences to help you analyze which will work the best for your business.
1. Native app development
Native apps are written in different code languages for each operating system. It highly depends on the operating system you want to get built.
If you want to go with Android, it will be built using Java, and for iOS, it’s Swift and Objective-C.
However, with the evolution of software technology, Java has been substituted by Kotlin for Android.
These applications are tailored in accordance with the operating system you want to build. Native apps are popular for their fast performance and stability.
They are generally used for developing 3D games or apps with animations. It works best if you want to code for one platform with specific hardware features.
However, it does have certain pros and cons.
It can easily be integrated with the ecosystem support that offers development stability and is simple to code.
It’s highly secure as it’s protected with different layers of the operating system. It becomes difficult to exploit.
It’s reliable and secure software with longer release cycles.
Its UI/UX is incredible as it offers a customized API which can adjust to different screen sizes and system versions.
It offers immediate implementation, which means that it implies that as soon as the features are released to the developers, they will be implemented.
It prevents technical problems and bugs. It’s easy and faster to configure, and it’s compatible with one platform, enabling you to add new features.
It’s easy to access and implement hardware features.
Definitely, when it’s tailored and made according to the operating system, it has to be more expensive. It will take more time and cost to build simultaneously for iOS and Android.
If you want to add new features to the app, then it will require a separate codebase.
It requires highly skilled specialists to develop in their native languages.
2. Hybrid app development
Hybrid app applications combine both native and web apps.The best thing about these applications is that developers don’t have to code in different languages for different operating systems.
It can work in different operating systems just with a single language, ultimately saving time and cost.
Hybrid applications are best to use when you want to develop a simple app with no complex features or animations and if you want to release the app on both the Android and iOS platforms with fewer native components.
Also, if you want to release it for MVP, it’s great to choose.
These applications are built with CSS, HTML, and Java. These apps can’t be run on the device’s browser platform. Instead, they work on native platforms.
Here are the pros and cons of hybrid applications:
What sets these applications apart is that they’re time and cost-efficient. A single language is used to build the application and it can be run on both native platforms.
The application is based on web applications, which makes it easy to maintain.
It uses one codebase, making it easier and simpler to add new features.
It has an embedded browser, making it easily accessible to online content.
It can also work offline based on the features you want to incorporate.
If you’re developing complicated or complex apps flooded with many features, then they will run slower.
It has an embedded browser and heavily depends on the system browser’s security.
If you want to add a bunch of new features, it might take a little while to implement.
3. Progressive web applications (PWA)
PWAs have been trending more in the last few years. These apps resonate with the behavior of native apps.These applications can be easily installed on mobile phones and are easily accessible.
In fact, these web apps can work offline, send push notifications, and ask for GPS location and camera. It behaves exactly like native applications by offering these features.
They aren’t built using specific languages and frameworks. Although it’s generally built using react or angular, it depends on which language you want to use to make the development process relatively simple.
It’s generally used to get an effective ecommerce experience and to want higher traffic, especially on mobile devices.
Here are the pros and cons of this application.
It’s easily accessible on different devices and platforms.
The best part is that you don’t need to install it from an app store as it can easily be searched for on an online browser.
It’s far more inexpensive and easy to develop than native applications. It has high responsiveness as it can easily be adjusted to different mobile screens.
Their user interaction and navigation are quite similar to native applications, and you don’t have to undergo a lengthy download process. It is easy to download.
The operating system and hardware system features are quite restricted and limited.
It does have hardware integration problems.
Web apps don’t work well on iOS platforms and offer less support for Apple devices.
You can’t find them on app stores and it consumes more battery power.
Native vs Hybrid vs PWP
Choosing technology for developing mobile applications isn’t easy. It is determined by a variety of factors such as the device used, the application tested, the development time, the ratio of lines of code, errors, and so on.
You need to study the comparison to analyze which will work best for your application.
There are certain factors involved to determine which mobile app development works the best.
Native applications require different codebases for different platforms. You can’t use the same codebase for both iOS and Android. For Android, Java or Kotlin must be used, and for iOS, Objection-C and Swift must be used.
2. Ecosystem or Community Support
When it comes to the ecosystem, native stand out. Its ecosystem has expanded massively with time and offers a bunch of tutorials, support from developers, and pre-styled components. It has a great community and great support.
This is the most important metric or component when deciding on mobile applications. Developers have to be quite decisive and smart when it comes to assessing the applications since they can massively affect the user experience.
Undoubtedly, React works the best when it comes to performance. It gives the best performance because of its simpler coding and optimization.
Hybrid apps and PWAs stand at last as they work inside a wrapper and their device interacts with the hardware. The performance of hybrid apps are relatively poor in complex apps or apps with complex features.
4. Device support and accessibility of features
When it comes to device features, mobile apps use features such as accelerometers, flashlights, NFC, gyroscopes, and cameras to deliver advanced functions.
Programming languages used in native apps, such as Kotlin, Java, and Swift, have the most access to these advanced features.
PWA too has access to these features. While it fails to provide such functionalities when the app has been developed using sensors such as NFC, fingerprint etc.,
Apparently, Google and Apple both release new versions of their operating systems every year.In fact, a new API has been released to add more features and update it to the latest version.
These APIs are released specifically for the native app development process.
The right technology for developing mobile applications is heavily influenced by your budget, features, timeline, product, and target audience.
It depends on what kind of mobile application you’re looking for. What kind of features do you want? Should it be simple or complex?
After analyzing your business goals and audiences, you can figure out your preferences and which technology will fit the most.
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For instance, if performance and access to hardware features in a device matter to you the most, then choose native over others without giving it a second thought.
If you want to develop an e-commerce website and an app, then a progressive web application is the best.
If you don’t have much time and budget, then hybrids are undoubtedly better.
The bottom line is that if you aren’t tight on budget and time, go with native.
Post written by Mr. Sidharth, Founder of Graffersid.