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Native vs Hybrid app - What to Choose?

Mobile applications are regarded as one of the most powerful business tools in the industry. They have become the new standard for connecting with customers. As mobile app development times keep getting shorter and time to market becomes increasingly important, a highly debated question before any mobile app development team is whether to build applications that are directly written on native platforms or use React Native, Flutter, etc. to build hybrid apps. Hybrid apps use native code in conjunction with web languages to gain a set of unique attributes while taking considerably shorter times to develop. At the same time, native apps, more often than not, provide the best user experience.


Your mind must be racing with a question, which one between native vs hybrid development can be the right choice for your business. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of native and hybrid app development approach, know the pros and cons, and settle this question once and for all.


Native iOS applications are built with the iOS Software Development Kit (SDK) in the Objective-C or Swift programming language. Native Android applications are built with the Android SDK in Java. Because these apps are written for their particular platform (iOS or Android), the apps can take full advantage of the software and operating systems’ features. This kind of development offers the best user experience.


Using the cross-platform or hybrid approach, you can compile the code and execute it on multiple platforms. Imagine, the code is written once, and the final product can be run on iOS and Android. These apps are developed for multiple platforms such as Android and iOS using a single code base, using tools like React Native, Xamarin, and Flutter.



Pros & cons of Native vs. Hybrid mobile development


Pros of Native apps:


Performance:  Native apps are a class apart when it comes to performance. They are fast and responsive as they are created and optimized for a specific platform. This also makes these apps much more efficient.

UX:  These apps result in a better user experience and have better scrolling, gesture recognition, effects, and animations, etc.

Security: Native apps are more secure and reliable.

Access the Full Feature Set of Devices: As these apps are platform-specific, operating systems’ features like GPS, camera, microphone, etc can be seamlessly integrated into native apps.

Offline use: Offline mode is available for most apps.

Less dependent: Dependencies on open source libraries and platforms are lesser than hybrid frameworks


Fantastic, right! Let’s now look at the Cons.


Cons of Native apps:


High app development time: One has to create 3 different apps for iOS, Windows, and Android which means the development process will be slower.

High costs: Increase in development time is positively correlated to an increase in costs. Also, each platform code has its own updates and releases, adding to the cost.

 

Pros of Hybrid App Development

Multiplatform Reach: Going hybrid means you’ll create a single app for all available platforms. That means one app will work on both Android and iOS and various browsers.

Faster to Build: Cross-platform apps are faster to build compared to the native ones because of one codebase that runs across all the platforms out there.

Faster Go-To-Market: Built with a single codebase, hybrid apps are less complex to produce, meaning you can launch apps more quickly than native ones.

Cost-Effective Development: If cost is concerning you, cross-platform app development is your surefire way to go. With one single codebase, the development involves less money comparatively.

Easily Scalable: Hybrid apps are easier to scale to another platform. Once you’ve built for one platform, you can launch on another with ease.

Easier to Change and Update: Developers don’t have to work with each platform separately, they can make changes once, and they’ll be applied to all platforms hybrid works across.


Cons of Hybrid App Development

Challenging Development: Cross-platform development is more challenging. Running hybrid apps appropriately on each platform generally takes loads of effort and substantial work. 


UX Suffering: Hybrid apps won’t please both platforms in terms of the UX aspect. The differences are subtle but can be frustrating for your iOS and Android app users. 

Glitches: Another concern with cross-platform apps is that their loaded content is a bit glitchy. Sometimes the loading time is slow.

Performance Issue: Because hybrid apps load in a browser-like component called web view, hybrid apps come with the performance issue, and this is one of the biggest disadvantages of cross-platform apps.


Today, native and hybrid apps are becoming common in the enterprise industry. The need for more business-to-employee (B2E) apps is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. This growth has led to many experts recommending choosing hybrid apps for large-scale internal app development while building native apps for external customers with high-performance expectations.


While discussing native and hybrid apps, it cannot be denied that native mobile apps are favored by consumers throughout the globe. If we observe the most popular apps around us, we notice that most of them are native. Facebook and LinkedIn both tried building hybrid apps but found that the performance was not up to the mark as compared to native mobile apps. However, these big companies can afford to hire many developers with the skillsets to build native mobile apps for different mobile platforms.


52% of the developers today prefer developing Hybrid Apps, and in the coming years, there will be more hybrid apps on people's devices as compared to native apps. These statistics, therefore, predict a dramatic shift towards hybrid app development, and it is highly possible that the next app you build might just be a hybrid one, even though you have been contemplating going native. At the same time, there is no one-size-fits-all solution and you need to choose one over the other on a case-by-case basis.

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