Native vs Hybrid App Development

Smartphones have become an invaluable part of human existence, and their impact on society is only going to increase as the industry undergoes rapid and groundbreaking innovation. In this era of mobile app dominance, various cutting edge technologies have been introduced to keep pace with the demands of consumers and make the development process more efficient. Mobile app developers have the option to create either Native or Hybrid mobile apps, based on their preference. Each of these technologies has its pros and cons, and it is up to the developer to decide which way to go with the app development. Platforms like Squareboat is excellent mobile and web development company, which provide both Native and Hybrid app development services.

Native vs Hybrid App Development

There are a few key differences between Native and Hybrid app development:

Underlying Technology

There is a vast difference in the way Native and Hybrid apps work behind the scenes. Native apps are specifically created for a particular target platform, using a specific programming language along with the dedicated SDK and toolkit. As an, e.g., for native Android app development, Java is used to develop the app using the SDK and toolkit provided by Google. Native apps have full access to the native APIs and all the device’s sensors like gyroscope, accelerometer, camera, GPS, and more.

Hybrid apps are a mixture of both Native and Web apps. It is essentially a web app enclosed in a native app container called Web View. Hybrid apps are created by using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, among other tools. As they are enclosed in a native shell, they can be downloaded and added to the home screen, just like native apps. Hybrid apps have moderate access to devices’ features.

Platforms Supported

Native apps, as the name suggests, are native to the target platform for which the app is created. Hence they can only run on a single platform. So a Native Android app can only run on the Android devices, and a native iOS app can only run on iOS devices.

Hybrid apps can run on multiple platforms like Android, iOS, and Windows mobile, as they are built using platform-independent web technologies. Hybrid apps are enclosed inside a native shell which can connect with devices’ sensors, just like a native app.

Performance and Stability

Native apps set the benchmark in terms of performance as they are built specifically for the target platform. They have shorter response times and lag less often. Hence Native apps provide a better overall user experience than hybrid apps. Native apps also have an added stability factor as they are usually backed by giant corporations like Google and Apple, which means that the platform is supported for a long time in the future with regular bug fixes and updates. Native apps also have well-defined guidelines for the developers to follow in terms of how the app should look and feel. Thus making the job of app developers much easier and also increases the security, as developers can refer to the security guidelines laid down by Apple of Google.

Hybrid apps are relatively slower than native apps as they add a layer between the source code and the mobile target platform. They usually have longer launch times and more crashes when compared to native apps. The user interface also might feel sluggish if the app involves vast amounts of data manipulations. Advanced animations and effects could be slower as the app runs inside the webview container. Web technologies are advancing at a rapid pace, and hence, hybrid apps, which depend on web technologies, are also inching closer and closer to the native apps in terms of performance. The stability and security of hybrid apps depend on the best practices followed by the app developers as there is a lack of clear guidelines, and also on the type of framework being used to create the hybrid app. E.g., a framework like Ionic adds multiple layers on top of HTML and JavaScript, and breaking changes in any of these layers can cause severe bugs in the app.

Development Time and Cost

Native apps are comparatively harder to create as they require the developer to learn full-featured programming languages like Java or Swift in addition to other tools. Native apps are built on sophisticated IDEs (Integrated Development Environment) with advanced features for compilation and debugging. Therefore, the app developer has to learn multiple technologies that are much more complex when compared to the hybrid apps, which in turn increases development time and cost, as it becomes equally costly to hire a native app developer.

Hybrid apps are built using web technologies, which are relatively easier to learn, which means that Hybrid apps have shorter development time. It is also relatively cheaper to hire a hybrid app developer. 

Native vs Hybrid App Development: Head to Head Comparison

Let’s summarize the differences between Native and Hybrid apps in a tabular form:

 

Native Apps

Hybrid Apps

Performance

Very fast 

Slower compared to Native apps

Platforms supported

Only the target platform is supported

Supports multiple platforms like Android, iOS, Windows mobile, etc.

User experience

Provides better user experience due to low response times and fewer bugs

User experience might suffer if the app is dealing with huge traffic or complex calculations or animations

Stability

More stable as they are backed by big corporations like Google and Apple.

Relatively less stable as they need the support of third party platforms, and thus increases the chances of breaking changes and bugs in the code

Development time

Required more time to develop the app for each platform

Required less time to develop the app as a single code base can be used to create an app for multiple platforms

Development cost

More expensive to hire a developer and maintain the app for multiple platforms

Less expensive to hire a developer and maintain the app

Conclusion

Even though Native apps are faster and more stable than Hybrid apps, for most of the scenarios choosing a Hybrid app is a better decision. If the app is dealing with not a very high amount of web traffic and complex animations, then there will not be a noticeable difference in the performance of a Hybrid and a Native app. Also, it is much faster to start development on a Hybrid app and produce the final product, as compared to a Native app. If you need to deploy the app on multiple platforms and cost is a limiting factor, then  Hybrid apps are a great option to go with.

Native apps are best suited if the app is going to serve a lot of people on the web, or if the app will have complex animations and effects. In those cases, a Native app will provide the best user experience as there will be less lag and possible bugs compared to a Hybrid app. So, if you need the best performance, and time and cost are not a limiting factor, then going with Naive is a better option.

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