Mobile development: a native, hybrid or web app?
Suppose you have the idea for a mobile app. What do you have to watch out for? You have an idea in mind and a certain target group in mind. But how do you get that idea on the phones of your target group? How much does it cost you and how long does it take before you actually have the result in front of you?
The answers to the above questions can strongly depend on the solution direction you choose. You can opt for a native, hybrid or web approach, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Native mobile phone apps
The mobile landscape has been dominated by Android and iOS devices for many years. Together they represent as much as 98% of the mobile visitors. If you want to reach your target group, in most cases you have to make sure that your app works on these two platforms. With regard to native development, we will therefore focus on this.
In simple terms, native development means that you develop an app using the development tools and in the development language available for a specific device or platform. This makes native applications apps in their purest form. They have a good performance and follow the (design) standards of the platform in question, even when the operating system is updated to the latest version. And, of course, they also have access to all the functionalities of the phone. For the user experience, standards and performance are essential. In a nutshell, you can say that with a native app you can put away the best results. But of course, that's not all.
Because each platform is programmed in a different language (Objective-C or Swift in iOS and Java for Android applications), you will have to develop the same app again for each platform. Of course, this is not very efficient and can significantly increase the cost.
Native apps can be downloaded in the various appstores. But before they can be downloaded, they have to get in there first. If you want to get an Android app on the Google Play Store, it's pretty quick and easy. But if you want to offer an app as a download from the Apple App Store, it can take some time before it is approved. There's a lot of work to be done to get it approved.
From a technical point of view, a web app is simply a website that is opened via your browser. The great thing about it is that all devices can open it, so you can easily reach a very large audience. When you set up a web app in a responsive way, even users with tablets, laptops, desktops, etc. will be able to use your app optimally. Moreover, users don't have to keep the application up-to-date via the appstore: every time someone opens the website, the latest version is automatically loaded. So you only have to make the app once and updates are carried out centrally.
Unlike native and hybrid apps, web apps are not available in the various appstores. This really makes installation impossible and you miss the promotion and other benefits of the stores. On the other hand, the advantage is that you can skip the entire app store process.
As the name suggests, a hybrid app is a mix between a native app and a web app. To put it very simply, this means that you build an application using web app technologies, after which a middle layer ensures that the code is given a native look. As a result, hybrid apps, just like native apps, can be installed via an app store and must be submitted and updated in a similar way. However, they only have one codebase, so you don't have to recreate the app all over again for each platform. The middle layer also allows you to access all the phone's native components. The best of both worlds.