Native App vs Hybrid App – mobile apps development differences

Monika Łyczko, Marketing Specialist

Development of mobile applications

There are two main approaches to building mobile apps on the market: native and hybrid. Choosing the type of application at the initial stage of its creation will affect the final success of your product, its popularity and user satisfaction when interacting with it. Ultimately, the type of mobile application created results from the design assumptions, business goals, time allocated for work, financial outlays for the project, or simply expectations. Let’s have a closer look at two popular solutions for creating mobile applications, summarizing their features.

Native apps

Mobile applications can be created for a specific operating system – e.g. iOS or Android. A native app, because this is the type of application we are talking about, is designed from the beginning to run on one selected platform, which also benefits from its facilities and functions. If you are planning a feature-rich, advanced design and smooth-running app, a native approach to its development will prove to be a much better solution.

Below is a summary of some information about native mobile apps:

  • A native app is created with the intention of launching it in a specific operating system – e.g. iOS or Android. There are many conveniences associated with this, but also one significant limitation – such an application will be used by users of only one system, until you decide to rewrite the app for another operating system;
  • When designing this type of application, a specific programming language is used for a given system, e.g. when creating applications for Android, Java, or Kotlin are most often used, for iOS it is Swift or Objective-C;
  • The fact that a native application is designed for a specific operating system means that it uses its facilities and specifics, which significantly affects the speed and smoothness of its operation, performance, and appearance of its interface. Here, the native application has an advantage over the hybrid app – taking into account the access to the functions of a given operating system, thanks to the native environment, it is possible to build a highly advanced and feature-rich application;
  • Access to native UI components when creating a native application, allows you to design a tool that fits into the framework of the selected platform, which translates into its degree of sophistication and aesthetics;
  • Stores, i.e. Apple App Store or Google Play Store, which are popular and trusted by users, start to help distribute native applications;
  • Native applications easily integrate with other applications built into the operating system, which means even better experience for users.

Hybrid applications

What does the term “hybrid mobile app” actually mean?

It is an application that is created using web technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript, and combines the features of a native and web application, due to the fact that it has access to certain functions of the phone.

Some features of the hybrid application:

  • One code base written by the development team is enough to create applications that will work on different platforms. Thus, the development time of a hybrid application is shorter compared to a native application;
  • Building a hybrid application means lower costs at each stage of its creation and then maintenance (adding new functionalities or eliminating errors). It does not require separate development teams writing in different programming languages;
  • A hybrid application, thanks to plug-ins, is able to use some of the native functions of the device, such as the camera. However, it must be remembered that it is not able to use the full functionality of the tool’s operating system, like a native application;
  • In the UI of hybrid applications, you can combine elements of native applications with the design of web elements. This involves the use of frameworks and plugins, thanks to which the developer can reach for certain native elements and functions in a hybrid application. At this stage of application development, without a trained eye, the user will not be able to distinguish whether he is dealing with a native or a hybrid application.
  • The smoothness and speed of the application is one of its most important aspects. A native application that uses functions built into a given operating system has more scope in this respect. The hybrid application has limited access to them, which affects its performance. With the passage of time, hybrid applications are getting better and better in terms of performance, but when planning highly advanced applications, it is worth considering whether poorer performance will not cause too much disappointment.
  • Hybrid application means shorter tool design time and lower costs of work on it. If these issues are critical to someone, it is worth considering this type of mobile application.

Choose wisely…

Which of the discussed types of application development should you choose? Decide for yourself, taking into account your business goals, budget and time that you and your team have to build the tool, or even the most essential features and functionalities of the app. The discussed types of applications means different performance, level of sophistication and convenience in use, so all pros and cons must be carefully analysed before starting work. After all, it’s all about the success of the app.

Monika Łyczko

Monika Łyczko

Marketing Specialist

Recruiter by education, however, she has always preferred and wanted to write. She believes in copywriting, where every word has an intended effect. That's why she wants to create engaging content for websites, eye-catching headlines, or develop effective advertising campaigns, and above all, inspire. What she values most in life are people and mountains. But mostly people.

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