Mobile Apps: Native vs Hybrid, What to choose in 2018?
By: Odirichukwu Emeka | Feb. 5, 2019
One question routinely surfaces in today’s modern development landscape - whether to build a mobile Website versus a native app versus a hybrid app. As a developer, you need to take the time to think through a few considerations before running off to develop software. We compared native and hybrid way of development to help you make the right decision.
Native apps are written in a programming language specific to the platform they’re being developed for. This would typically be Objective-C or Swift for iOS and Java for Android. Native apps typically have better performance with rendering and animations than hybrid apps.
A hybrid app is a mobile app that contains a web view (essentially an isolated browser instance) to run a web application inside of a native app, using a native app wrapper that can communicate with the native device platform and the web view. This means web applications can run on a mobile device and have access to the device, such as the camera or GPS features.
Hybrid apps are possible because of tools that have been created that facilitate the communication between the web view and the native platform. These tools are not part of the official iOS or Android platforms, but are third party tools such as Apache Cordova, which is used in this book. When a hybrid app is built, it will be compiled, transforming your web application into a native app.
There are so many hybrid mobile frameworks such as Ionic, NativeScript, React Native, Xamarin, PhoneGap etc. We decided to compare native apps with top 2 hybrid frameworks — Ionic and React Native.
A hybrid mobile app is built using technologies typically used for the web. Hybrid apps are hosted inside native applications that allow them to access the device’s camera, pedometer and other functionalities,removing the need to develop for any specific device or operating system.
This basically means that you are creating a website wrapped up inside an app.
Unlike hybrid apps, native apps are built especially for the platform they’re to be used on (iOS,Android etc). React Native allows a proportion of the code to be shared between platforms and empowers developers to create apps which feel less clunky and perform better than hybrid apps.
With both React Native and Native apps, gestures like pinching or double tapping work in the way you’d expect them to work on your operating system.
There are clear and distinct advantages and disadvantages for both hybrid and native approaches, and that is why this discussion is still relevant. Speed to market, one source code, cross-compatible web technologies, easy updates, availability of resources, and lower budget costs make hybrid applications very appealing. But in the long run, the biggest detraction of hybrid apps is that a company will likely spend more time fixing and tweaking the app because of user complaints about UI elements or performance driven issues.
Additionally, native apps have the added advantage of functions that are specific to the OS on which the app is built (e.g., camera, GPS, address book, etcetera). Furthermore, a native approach offers the best in class security for a mobile application, the best performance, a highly responsive user interface, and access to all native APIs. In other words, the original investment may be higher but a company will save time and money in the long run while offering a great user experience and an industry standard app performance.
Each approach has its pros and cons but at the end of the day a native approach will have the biggest benefits for a company’s bottom line.
Please, share your opinion in comments below!