Applications are divided into two types - developed for specific systems or cross-platform apps. Developing the native app requires a significant investment of time and money. In turn, cross-platform solutions are cost-efficient and use certain features of the native platforms. Today we will look at the differences between native and hybrid apps and also determine when it’s beneficial to develop one or another solution.
Today, the operating system environment is divided into three types:
For each system, separate applications are developed that use the platform's features. Usually, they try to make them as technologically advanced as possible - since the choice of platform often occurs precisely according to the functional criterion. But today, the competition is coming to most OSs. So, naturally, the choice affects the number of users of applications developed for one specific environment.
In such cases, they compete with hybrid programs. They are multi-platform focused - although they have some limitations, such applications can be installed on almost any gadget.
But not only in programming languages applied lies the difference between native and hybrid apps. Both of them have their own development principle. Thus, the following criteria can be distinguished.
It is possible to single out individual chips for a long time, but it is better to consider the advantages of each type of application using examples in more detail. So let's start with hybrid apps!
Applications should be developed after a detailed market analysis, requirements collection, and target audience specification. Your application can be installed on all platforms if you want. If you aim to reach a broader audience, hybrid applications are just for you. Let’s talk a little about their merits.
In the section above, we referred to the possibility of running applications on any architecture. Today it is not just relevant. Sometimes, it is a killer feature that promotes the app to the top of the download charts. You might be thinking, "It's definitely not that simple!" But we will answer: "Yes, everything is exactly like that!".
The times when platforms competed for uniqueness is passing; the large companies don’t aim to make a complex architecture or something that can only be run on its OS. Platform exclusives are still being created today, from streaming apps to games. But the time when exclusivity was the main driver of sales is gone. There still will be unique applications in such conditions since there are many technical differences between Microsoft and Apple products. But the vector of the modern IT industry is clearly aimed at the availability of services on all possible media. The more users you can attract, the higher your sales will be.
Since hybrid apps do not require different versions, the creation process will take less time. After that, you just need to ensure the application works properly, and you can release it.
Maintaining and regularly updating one application is much easier than supporting several. You should simply upload the updated/new script, accept the changes, and download the upgrades on all platforms simultaneously. Native apps simply cannot offer such a privilege.
The same goes for fixing bugs. If errors occur during the development of the application and cannot cope with the load, you can update everything in a few hours. Regarding technical problems in native versions, bug fixing may take longer.
The last weighty argument for the development of hybrid versions is their cost. The fewer nuances in work, the faster and easier the development process is. Outsourcing app development significantly reduces the cost of the product.
Having listed the advantages of hybrid applications, you can move on to native!
Earlier, we said that developing programs for a specific platform can take more time, but at the same time, it will allow you to implement more functions. The functionality and capabilities are one of the main advantages of native applications. Although most companies "become crowded" within the same platform, operating systems continue to evolve and introduce new features. Let's talk about the advantages of such applications in more detail.
Since the application is being developed for a specific architecture, designers and programmers can pay much more attention to creating a unique design, interface, and features. Naturally, it will affect the experience that the user will receive. However, it is enough to make the application user-friendly, employing the already available capabilities of the device so that the target audience will be delighted. Also, native apps can work offline, which hybrid apps cannot boast of.
Since the development is on the same architecture, you can pay more attention to the technical condition. Hybrid apps, while easier to develop and update, have many more bugs, performance hits, and other issues. The technical state depends not only on the quality of the work of programmers (although this is the main one) but also on the programming language used in the development.
The fewer problems users have with the application, the more often and longer they will use it. Native programs are easier to bring to a satisfactory technical state.
Each platform and operating system has its own security system. Some of them are highly effective, and others are not. But nevertheless, any specific-platform application is safe. Hacking them is often more complex, and the threat of a virus tends to 0. iOS remains the leader in the field of information security today - its structure is the most resistant to viruses and hacks of all operating systems.
Although hybrid applications can be personalized, native ones can be customized in more detail - using the full functionality of the platform. So the user can customize the interface, colors, and functionality of the application in detail.
Knowing the advantages of both types of applications, it remains only to make a choice.
If you decide to create an app, you should decide prior on the niche, specifics, and target audience. If you are faced with reaching more users while not using the specific features of different platforms, choose hybrid ones. In contrast, when you need to concentrate on a particular part, it’s better to implement it on conditional iOS or Android.
However, in addition to purely technical reasons, there are also marketing, financial and other sides. Let's consider them in order.
Native app development takes more time and money. It requires a more comprehensive approach than the hybrid one. But it also opens up a potential for you - you can develop anything. All the technical capabilities of the platform are in your hands. And as we said earlier today, each OS has its own functionality. Which application you decide to develop is not so important. The result must be of satisfactory quality. Otherwise, potential buyers will simply turn their backs on you. To avoid incidents after launch, we recommend that the development be provided to professional development companies.
Amit is a tech enthusiast and loves writing about it. He is a senior developer with good hands-on experience in digital marketing.
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