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Native vs Hybrid mobile app development: which is better?
Published at December 25, 2019
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You can build a mobile app in several ways. There are easy and difficult ways. There are tools and frameworks using which you can quickly build mobile apps. You can also use native development approach for building your mobile app.

Native and hybrid mobile app development -- both have their pros and cons. In order to choose one between these two app development approaches, you have to consider important factors such as user experience, security, and so on.

Overview

Native mobile apps are native to the environment on which it will run. The look and feel of a native mobile app are similar to the operating system on which it will run. For example, a native Android app will resemble other native apps installed on the Android device.

So in simple words, a native Android app is native to the Android operating system and a native iOS app is native to the iOS operating system.

Native Android apps are built using Java, native iOS apps are built using Objective-C or Swift, and native Windows phone apps are built with C#.

Now let me give you a quick introduction to hybrid mobile apps. Hybrid mobile apps are just web apps built inside the native container. This kind of apps uses the browser engine. Hybrid mobile apps are built using HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript.

Cross-platform apps

Native apps run only on the operating system for which the app has been developed. For example, a native Android app will run only on the Android operating system, it won’t run on any other operating systems. So if you want the app to work on multiple operating systems, you have to build multiple apps separately for multiple operating systems. To explain more, if you want the app to work on Android, iOS, and Windows, you have to build three apps separately.

On the other hand, hybrid apps are cross-platform, meaning you can get apps for multiple operating systems from the single codebase. You don’t have to build multiple apps separately. From the same codebase, you can get an Android app, iOS app, and a Windows phone app, although you may need to modify or add some code for each OS. 

Winner: hybrid apps

Development time

Building a native app using Objective-C, Swift, and Java takes relatively more time as code for native apps is much more complex than that of hybrid apps. To achieve the same functionality, you have to write relatively more lines of code in a native app. So it’s obvious that building a native app requires more time than developing a hybrid one.

And if you need your app to run on multiple platforms, you will have to spend even more time building multiple native apps for multiple platforms. But when compared to native apps, you don’t have to spend much time getting hybrid apps for multiple operating systems as you can get multiple apps from the single codebase.

So you can build native apps pretty quickly while building native apps takes so much time.

Winner: hybrid apps

Maintainability

As the code of a native app is more complex, maintaining the app becomes difficult. On the other hand, maintaining a hybrid app is easier. So you don’t need to give much effort for maintaining a hybrid app but you have to put a lot of efforts while maintaining a native mobile app.

Winner: hybrid apps

Cost

Building a native app will cost you more money than a hybrid mobile app as a native app is more complex, hard to build, and takes more time to build. On the contrary, you don’t have to spend much money building a hybrid mobile app for obvious reasons, and if you need your hybrid app to run on multiple platforms, the amount of money that you’ll have to spend will decrease significantly as you won’t have to build multiple apps separately in this case. Code sharing of a hybrid mobile app between multiple operating systems greatly reduces the cost.

Winner: hybrid apps

User experience

Native apps give the best user experience. A native app will not just run very smoothly, it will also give the user a familiar user experience, meaning the UI will be similar to other native apps and similar to the UI of the operating system. With a familiar UI, the user can quickly learn how to use the app. And as a user of a particular mobile OS will be habituated to use the OS UI, it will be easy for them to use the native app.

So although a native app has many disadvantages such as higher cost, maintainability issues, and greater development time, it gives you amazing user experience, which is a huge benefit because a good user experience will make the app user fall in love with your app and if that happens, there is a big chance that you will achieve massive success with your app while a poor user experience can break your business.

Winner: native apps

Performance

The performance of a native app is always better than that of a hybrid app. A native app is much closer to the OS and the hardware. So it can communicate quickly with the OS and the hardware, which results in fast app speed.

A hybrid app can also give you high performance but it won’t give you truly native performance. The performance of a hybrid app can be near-native, it can be very fast but not as fast as a native app.

Winner: native apps

Security

Like performance and user-experience, app security is also very important. Not giving security much importance may result in great business loss. Security breaches and attacks can cause great damage to your business. If you consider security while choosing an app development approach, the native app development approach is the winner.

Winner: native apps

Conclusion

Now if you ask which app development approach is better, this question cannot be answered in a straightforward way. Which approach is better depends on so many things such as your requirements and preferences. If you want a high-performance, secure app that will give you the best user-experience, you should go for native app development. But it will cost you a great amount of money and time. And if you’re on a tight budget and you want the app developed quickly, you can go for hybrid app development but the app performance, user-experience, and security will not be that much great, although you can optimize these things using some techniques.

Do you need a mobile app developed? If you have such requirements, please feel free to contact us, we have a team of experts who can produce great quality mobile apps for you!

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