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Web, Native and Hybrid Apps: Which One to Choose in 2020?

August 07, 2019

The swift development of mobile market, web, native and hybrid apps, gave rise to a stunning amount of business and startup opportunities. SMEs struggle to expand the influence onto their target audience turning applications into a good tool of achieving desired results. Still, that is not as easy as it sounds, but as far as an organization decides on developing its own app, it faces another problem.

There are three main tendencies of embodying product idea: web, native, and hybrid app. The choice depends mainly on your business objectives and budget, because strategies differ, have own advantages and disadvantages, and meet certain expectations.

In this article, openGeekLab has prepared some important criteria you can rely on for a final decision. Keep on reading!

What Is a Web App?

What Is a Web App

Usually, it is defined as a program that runs within a browser. Subjectively, functions of web applications are wider and they are more interactive (webmail, online sales, instant messaging, etc.), whereas sites aim at delivering information in a simple way.

Dwelling upon types of web applications leads to the idea of Progressive Web App (PWA). This development solution allows getting access to such functions as push notification, vibration, work offline, improved touch gestures support, home screen load. PWA makes it easy to convert an app written in React.js, Vue.js, Angular into a mobile one. It cannot fully replace traditional applications yet but adds options to simple product development. Google Chrome. Safari, Edge, Firefox, Opera are also compatible with the key PWA features.

There is no specific SDK (Software Development Kit) to build it, actually. It is usually written in JavaScript, PHP, CSS, and HTML, with such frameworks as Node.js or AngularJS.

The first significant benefit of PWA lies in its relative easiness to maintain and update program code due to its independence and a common codebase which runs in browsers. Users do not need to download them separately because they use browsers for viewing, thus it saves spare place on a device. Besides, it represents the cheapest way out in terms of a business deal.

Despite all benefits, this type is slower and less interactive, though with PWA it becomes a disputable question.

Some good examples are represented by Google Docs, Starbucks, Evernote, AliExpress.

What Is a Native App?

What Is a Native App

A native mobile app is developed for a certain operating system – iOS and/or Android. This claims to be the most frequent type, which is famous for its convenience as well as proper UI/UX standards. It has a direct connection to software and hardware of device – it can turn into benefit usage of camera, microphone, GPS, special abilities.

Development process depends mainly on the platform chosen. It requires specific knowledge, skills because there is no language unification. Each platform has its own preferences, recommendations. However, free SDK tools make developing process easier and faster. Besides, there is a wide variety of ready-made solutions, tools, libraries shared by development communities.

This all loved and community-supported type has comparatively more advantages than the others do. It has the best performance and is approved by respective software that assures high security, quality, compatibility. Distribution through stores increases marketing and branding opportunities. Moreover, thanks to inherent UI/UX guidelines it claims to be more intuitive, interactive, simply pleasant in usage.

The only significant disadvantage might be pricing.

Examples include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.

What Is a Hybrid App?

What Is a Hybrid App

Actually, a hybrid mobile app is a product combining features of both previous kinds. So how to identify app is native or hybrid? Though a hybrid one is installed on your device, it works how a web application works. It has a so-called shell, which allows it to use such functionality as microphone, camera, push-notifications, calendar. On the inside, hybrid runs in a webview, a kind of a very simple browser within own interface. It is usually written in JavaScript, HTML5, CSS.

The undeniable benefit comes up from its double nature. It is not attached to a certain platform and one program can be used either by Android or iOS (depends on a shell), which makes it easier to develop. Hybrid has features of PWA, though it does not need a separate browser to load as well as can function properly offline.

However, this brings problems as well, because such kind of programs lack optimization and consequently have less performance. It concerns also UI/UX standards and functionality. Besides, it turns problematic to maintain and update program, because there is no vast supportive community yet and, in case of troubles, developers should invent solutions themselves.

The brightest representatives are Amazon, Basecamp, Yelp.

Where Is Your Perfect Choice?

Web Native and Hybrid Apps Where Is Your Perfect Choice

Before making a final decision on an app type, there are some important criteria to rely on:

  1. How Much Time Do You Have?

Different solutions require various time periods. Creation of web variant, or PWA, occupies relatively short period, whereas, speaking about native decisions, we should take into account the fact that both Android and iOS versions will double the time period. But there is a magic wand which hits two platforms at once as well as reduces development time 1.8 times. It is cross-platform development with React Native which is more beneficial than creating a product for two OS separately.

  1. What Is Your Objective?

The choice of development type depends on your business goals. If your company represents eCommerce niche, it is not necessary to roll out a native mobile application at once. You can first release a web version to attract a target audience. Then, if you need it, go for another way to improve achieved results. Hybrids, in turn, are almost perfect in simple cases.

  1. What Is Your Target Audience?

The world goes mobile. Deciding on developing way, you should consider which countries prefer Android or iOS to hit your target. On the other hand, if your project is a little recognizable brand, network version provides better chances to start in terms of time and money.

  1. What Should It Look Like?

Good design sells, though follow UI/UX guidelines for a particular OS strictly. Current technologies and program tools allow you to make anything looking according to your plan, but if you bet on original look and feel, then native decisions provide a bit more opportunities to follow specific platforms’ standards.

  1. What Functions Do You Need?

In spite of PWAs getting access to the device’s hardware, its functionality is still very limited in comparison to other variants, while the main difference between native and hybrid app lies in your business objective. Speaking of advantages of native apps over hybrid apps, then native mobile applications with its wide variety of tools and solutions are your choice if you need high performance to process a vast amount of data, including such needs as image, video/audio processing, augmented reality, artificial intelligence. Yet in case you need only several functions, hybrid is better.

  1. Security and Quality Assurance

Considering security and quality, it is worth mentioning that modern methods of assurance allow protecting your data anywhere, though we should admit that native applications have the highest standards of data protection.

  1. How Much Money Do You Have?

Certainly, web decision is cheaper than a mobile one. It presents a budget option for startups. In case of the other two types, their pricing depends on the complexity of work, level of unification, platforms required (Android and/or iOS version).

Is There Any Alternative?

A constant struggle between different kinds of applications on the mobile market continues, because each type has its own benefits and drawbacks, each one is constantly improving.

Already have an application idea? Don’t hesitate to contact us, and we will help you create your perfect one.

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