Web, native or hybrid – which mobile solution should you choose?

In Blog by Insalgo

Whether you want a simple app, like a calculator or need an enterprise application for content sharing, a question you should always ask yourself first is:

“What are the options and which one is the right for me?”

There are 3 main types of mobile apps:

  • a web “app” (it’s not really an app, but we’ll explain that later)
  • a native app
  • a hybrid app

When choosing an app type you should take into the following factors:

  • how fast the app should run
  • how good the UX (user experience) should be
  • app complexity
  • your maximum budget

Let’s go quickly though the main types.

Web “apps”

Although many clients refer to web applications as apps, we don’t consider them as being real apps. Why? Because this applications are not installed on mobile devices. Instead they are run inside a web browser like Chrome or Safari (which, btw, are examples of real apps :)). All the content is retrieved from a server, before you can interact with it. This results in a poor, slow UX. Web “apps” or rather – responsive websites are not downloaded from Google Play or Apple App Store – they don’t come from an official source with user rating and recommendations.

Native apps

The is the most common type of app. Native apps are built for specific platforms and are written in dedicated languages. Android apps are build using Java programming language, whereas iOS apps are build using Objective-C or Swift. This app offer native features, such as:

  • taking pictures with a build-in camera,
  • making use of sensors: GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, fingerprint reader etc.,
  • scanning bar codes with the device reader,
  • saving contacts into the device address book,
  • adding events to a calendar,
  • saving and reading files from the device file system.

This applications are stored locally on the device. They are installed though Google Play or App Store. This apps can run without any Internet access, although some functionality can be limited under such scenario.

Hybrid apps

A hybrid app is a combination of a native app and a web app. They are usually written in web technologies such as HTML, CSS and js (javascript). The second part is a native shell that is downloadable, it’s basically a container for the app. Hybrid apps load code using webview. On the surface this applications look exactly like a native app. Hybrids target multiple platforms with just one code base, which makes the development faster and less costly. The user experience is usually much better since this apps load faster then web “apps”. They also offer native features, however complex applications can run slow, that’s why we don’t recommend hybrid apps for making the next Ebay/Uber/Tinder/Snapchat-type app.

Let’s sum up.

What are the pros and cons of each type:

Native apps

Hybrid apps

Web “apps”

Pros

  • The best performance
  • The best customizability
  • Run super fast/smooth
  • Allow developers to have full access to native features
  • No browser needed to run
  • The app is launched by clicking an icon in the main OS view
  • Good performance
  • Good customizability
  • Usually easier to build, a single developer can make the app from start to finish
  • Single code base for multiple platforms
  • Cheaper than a native app
  • Can make us of native features
  • No browser needed to run the app
  • The app is launched by clicking an icon in the main OS view
  • Easy to build
  • Easy to maintain
  • Less expensive than native apps
  • Runs everywhere mobile / desktop
  • Cheap to make

Cons

  • Difficult to make, usually require at least 2-3 developers (long development time)
  • The most expensive to make
  • Slower than native app
  • More expensive than web apps
  • Less interactive than native apps
  • Not recommended for feature rich applications
  • Slowest performance
  • Needs a browser to run
  • Usually less intuitive, poor user experience
  • No icon on mobile desktop
  • Cannot make use of native features
  • Don’t offer native features

So… Which one to choose?

By now you should have a general understanding which application type is the best for you. If still in doubt you can always contact us: contact@insalgo.com or use the form here.

Also it’s always good to fill out our offer guidelines or at least take a look at them 🙂 ? https://goo.gl/hH1AHj